Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson wrote in his 1999 book that he did not identify as a conservative Republican and that he considered it a "waste of human brainpower" to be anything other than an independent.
Carson identified as an independent for years in his home state of Maryland, and only recently switched his affiliation to the Republican party last year.
"By this point some readers may conclude from all this talk about self-determination and the need to assume personal responsibility that I must be a conservative Republican. I'm not," Carson writes in The Big Picture: Getting Perspective on What's Really Important in Life.
"But I would like to say something about political affiliation," Carson continues. "I am troubled by the growing rancor and divisiveness that has marked so much of our national political climate in recent years. Too many of us want to describe ourselves as Democrats or Republicans and never the twain shall meet."
Carson said that identifying as just a Republican or Democrat does not give enough credit to an individuals ability to assess different issues on their own merits.
"Therefore, I describe myself as an independent. I consider it a waste of our human brainpower to be otherwise. Of course, that is just my own opinion. Some of my best friends are still Republicans and Democrats."
Megan Apper is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Megan Apper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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