A Commentary on the Political Campaigns of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, An Analysis of Why Donald Trump’s Political Campaign Has Been So Successful and Ben Carson’s Campaign Is Becoming More Successful, Modest “Proposed Common Sense Gun Control Legislation”, A Movie Review of “Our Brand Is Crisis” and A Comment on Narrative Vividness and Free Speech – by Gary Smolker

In the United States, political campaigns for elective office are about fear.

Political candidates for elective office tell the electorate they will protect the electorate from what they fear most.

Successful politicians define what people are most afraid of, sympathize with them about what they are most afraid about, and tell everyone they understand their problems, they have a solution to prevent what people are most afraid of happening and they will implement that solution.

That is why the “strongest candidate” gets elected.

There are two other factors in politics: love of underdogs and love of rebels with a cause.

The “right” rebel and underdog with a cause and charisma can and will go far in politics in the United States.

An Analysis of Why Donald Trump’s Political Campaign Has Been So Successful

Donald Trump’s political campaign has been successful because:

  1. Donald Trump has made himself known as the bold man who takes everything to the next level.
  2. Donald Trump promotes the image that he understands power, he is a super-shark who will keep the other sharks away.
  3. Donald Trump promotes that image by telling everyone that what he has learned from real world experience gives him a unique businessman’s brass-tacks-real-world understanding of people.
  4. He speaks to other people as equals and as partners with self-confidence.
  5. He has no off-switch.
  6. Everyone can see that he loves being different and making a difference.
  7. Everyone can see he has a gleefully pugnacious style.
  8. Everyone can see that he has no stomach or patience to play by any rules but his own.
  9. He is overbearingly maniacal about selling himself.

My answer to pundit critics and political analysts who say Trump’s comments, speeches and proposals are absurd is: Who cares? Most people prefer wrong and strong to weak and right.

Trump is not trying to win a spelling bee.

Trump is not trying to appeal to a tribe of overly toilet trained fusspots.

Trump refuses to be politically correct and tells everyone he is proud of refusing to be politically correct.

Trump is not trying to win the approval of fussy overly toilet trained political analysts, newscasters, reporters, thin-skinned people or intellectuals.

Trump claims he will not change who he is to win an election or change who he is if he wins the election.

Trump’s campaign is about Trump.

Trump’s campaign is about the fact that Trump is a different kind of candidate.

People like that and people believe him.

However, Donald Trump has two Achilles Heels – (1) Donald Trump was born very rich and is a lifetime member of the “rich man’s club”; (2) What Donald Trump says doesn’t make sense to “thinking people.”

Donald Trump is not seen as someone who rose above the obstacles in everyday life nor does he claim to have done so.


Common Sense Gun Control Legislation proposed by Gary S. Smolker

Safety is a big issue in the present political campaign of every candidate from “gun control” to “abortion.”

Below is a modest proposal by me for how to handle the issue of gun control:

Everyone over the age of 18 may purchase a gun and have a gun carry permit provided:

  1. They pass a background check
  2. They pass a written test
  3. They pass a shooting range test
  4. They carry a specified amount of liability insurance
  5. They are legally liable for damages caused by use of their firearm and/or any firearm they use subject to the right of self-defense and a good-Samaritan exception.
  6. Gun permits must be renewed and a gun permit license fee paid yearly.
  7. Getting a gun permit should be like getting a license to drive a motor vehicle.

By the way, in the State of California: driving on public roadways is not a right – it is a privilege granted by the state.  A driver’s license shows that you have been given permission to drive by the state.

You must have your driver’s license with you whenever you drive.  You must show it to any police officer who asks to see it.  You must also show it to other drivers if you are in an accident.

You may be given a driver’s license after you:

  1. Have properly answered questions about the law and safety rules.
  2. Show that your physical and mental condition is satisfactory.
  3. Have no outstanding actions on your driving record.
  4. Provide your true full name.
  5. Provide your social security number
  6. Provide your thumbprint or fingerprint.
  7. Provide proof that you are in the Untied States legally.
  8. Pay the current fee, unless you paid it within 12 months for an Instruction Permit.
  9. For your first license you must successfully drive a vehicle while an examiner grades you, and have your picture taken.

Regarding the so-called “right to bear arms”, see Daniel Cheren’s comments below regarding the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

Concerning the issue of safety, consider how safe we are in the United States compared to how safe people are in other parts of the world.


The United States vs. Sweden

This afternoon (Saturday, October 10, 2015), I spoke to two young women (ages 25 and 27) who are visiting the United States who are Swedish citizens and who live full time in Sweden, while I was sipping coffee at my local Starbucks in Van Nuys, California.

They told me they feel safer being here in the United States than they feel where they live in Sweden.

They told me girls are constantly getting raped in their town.  In one case, a girl they know got raped twice in the same day:  Once by one gang.  The second time by a second gang.

They told me they are all in favor of accepting refugees from Syria but Syrian refugees continue fighting their ongoing ethnic fights in Syria once they become settled in Sweden.

*American Servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan vs College Students in the United States

After speaking to those two women, I asked a man sitting next to me whether it was safer to go to college in the United States or to be an American Serviceman in Iraq or Afghanistan.

He then asked Siri, on his smartphone, what were the number of American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan so far this month (in October 2015) and what were the number of American casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan last month (in September 2015).

He reported back to me:

  1. American causalities in Iraq in September 2015: two.
  2. American causalities in Afghanistan in September 2015: zero.
  3. American causalities in Iraq so far in October 2015: zero.
  4. American causalities in Afghanistan so far in October 2015: zero.

Ben Carson’s Bravado Statement Regarding We Should Be Armed and What He Would Have Done [Attack the Shooter] If He Had Been in the Recent Oregon Community College Shoot-out

I then asked what he thought of Ben Carson’s comment that if he [Ben Carson] had been there in Oregon and armed he would have done something.

The man I was speaking with at Starbucks this afternoon replied: Several people in the college during the shootout said they were armed but were afraid that if they drew their weapon to shoot the shooter, the police would shoot them.  That is why they didn’t shoot the shooter.

Comparison of Donald Trump’s and Ben Carson’s Political Hate Speech to Adolf Hitler’s Hate Speech

A lady sitting nearby interrupted our conversation by making the following comments comparing Donald Trump and Ben Carson to Adolph Hitler.

  1. Trump and Carson feed people’s fear.
  2. Trump and Carson are telling people that someone else is responsible for the “horrible situation” they think they are suffering.
  3. The best way to get people to follow you is to make them fear something.
  4. That is what Hitler did.
  5. Trump and Carson are doing the same thing.

This woman said she was ex-military (U.S. Air Force), was certified as a marksman by the military and had served on the ground setting up and defending communication systems during military operations in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Her greatest fear about an armed American citizenry is that people who don’t know how to handle guns will accidentally shoot themselves or someone else.

Therefore she wants people to be required to pass a written test and field tests before they are allowed to own and/or carry guns.

Regarding hate speech: See Daniel Cheren’s comments and opinions below regarding the Muslim world, the mind set of Islam, President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas, Fatah, the Temple Mount, the “core” underlying issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and who is propagating “hate speech.”

Reframing the Abortion Issue

Ben Carson has reframed the “abortion issue.”

Ben Carson has said whether “abortion” should be legal or not legal is not a question of being pro-life or being pro-choice.

Ben Carson has said

  1. A mother’s love of her child is paramount.
  2. The mother is the child’s protector.
  3. The child is NOT the mother’s enemy.
  4. Whether your mother was raped or not raped does not determine how you turn out.
  5. People who are born as a consequence of their mother being raped have turned out to be very productive people.

The Ben Carson Is A Political Naif Issue

A few days ago (on October 25, 2015) a friend of mine, who lives in North Carolina, told me the following about Ben Carson:

Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal this week, called Ben Carson a naif when it comes to politics.  I suspect Henninger is wrong about that. The administration of a large hospital like John Hopkins is one of the most intensely political and competitive environments one can imagine.  It is not called “MDeity complex” for nothing!  Carson mastered it.

Whether A Muslim Can Be President of the United States

That friend also told me the following.

Carson did not say that a Muslim cannot be President of the United because all Muslims believe Allah is Supreme.  That wasn’t what Carson said.  His point was that a Muslim, or anyone else, who is willing to submit to the US Constitution could be president.  Anyone who is not willing as president to submit to the US Constitution should not be president.

Rightly or wrongly, that is one of the complaints against President Obama, that he is not willing to submit to the US Constitution.


Under the reasoning of the blanket statement [generalization] that a Muslim cannot be president because all Muslims believe Allah is Supreme, Christian Fundamentalists couldn’t be President of the United States either.


The Most Quotable Film I Saw at 2015 Toronto International Film Festival

I saw the world premier of “Our Brand is Crisis”, in September 2015,  at the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival (2015 TIFF); this film was the film with the most quotable comments I saw at 2015 TIFF.

The subject of this movie is lack of character of politicians, their lack of scruples and the “fact” that political candidates do deceitful things while striving to get elected.

In this movie, political consultant (“Calamity” Jane Bodine played by Sandra Bullock) is hired to bolster the prospects of an unpopular Bolivian presidential candidate (Pedro Castillo played by Joaquim De Almeida).

When I first saw this movie it had no impact on me, albeit I predicted I would be using statements made in this movie in the future:

  • Once idealism is gone there is no way of getting it back.
  • If voting changed anything they would make it illegal.
  • There is only one wrong: Losing.
  • In a political campaign: You don’t change the man to fit the narrative.  You should change the narrative to fit the man.
  • If you don’t like the road you are on, pave your own.

As time went on, this movie grew on me.

As I reflected on what political strategist Calamity Jane told obnoxious Bolivian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo to do in order to win the Presidency it became clear to me that Donald Trump has masterfully done what Calamity Jane (Sandra Bullock) told presidential candidate Pedro Castillo to do.

In my opinion, Republican political candidate Ben Carson is also following the advice Calamity Jane gave Bolivian Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo by emphasizing he is a strong energetic person and a deep moralistic thinking person with experience calmly handling delicate situations with intelligent precision under extreme pressure who is not afraid to speak out and stand up for what he believes in.

The script of the movie “Crisis Is Our Brand” is an accurate portrayal of the political culture in the United States today.

Screenwriter Peter Straughan [the man who wrote the screenplay for “Our Brand Is Crisis”] was on the pulse of what was going to happen in the race to be the Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2016 when Straughan wrote the script for “Our Brand Is Crisis.”

In the film, “Our Brand Is Crisis”, Calamity Jane had her work cut out for her: Her candidate for President of Bolivia, Presidential Candidate Pedro Castillo, before she came on board, came off as being an obnoxious pugnacious elitist in a country whose population is predominantly poor and indigenous.

Calamity Jane successfully dealt with her candidate Pedro Castillo socking a prankster in the face, in front of cameras.

Calamity Jane’s Recipe for Victory: “Don’t change the man to fit the narrative.  Change the narrative to fit the man.”

Calamity Jane turned Castillo socking a prankster in the face into a political asset.

After socking the prankster in the face the theme of Costillo’s campaign became” Bolivia is in crisis, and in crisis you need authority and an iron fist, not broad smiles and glad-handling. 

In “Our Brand Is Crisis”, “Calamity Jane” lives up to her role: She finds a way to sculpt Presidential Candidate Castillo into the right man [at Bolivia’s moment of crisis] for the people of Bolivia.

As time goes on and people learn more about Ben Carson, Ben Carson comes across as being an alert and open minded person and as being a strong humane energetic thinking person.

Great Moving Making: Great Script, Great Acting, Great Message and Great Directing Working Seamlessly Together

In my mind, Billy Bob Thornton steals the show in this movie.

Billy Bob Thornton plays the part of political consultant Pat Candy, who is masterminding the campaign for the contender set to win the election by a landslide.

Pat Candy is Calamity Jane’s arch enemy: Pat Candy’s candidates have won the last four political contests in which Pat and Jane went head to head strategizing the political campaigns of rival political candidates.

The tricks Jane and Candy play on each other are wonderful to watch.

It was Candy’s man, a man sent to be a prankster at the rally at which Castillo punched this man in the face in front of the news media’s cameras covering the rally.

The personal interactions of Pat and Jane with each other are wonderful to watch.

The energy that flows between Pat and Jane when they interact is electrifying.

It is obvious to me that everyone involved in making this film was (and still is) emotionally committed to promoting the message this film delivers.

This is an underdog movie with a twist, masterfully directed by David Gordon Green.


It is the responsibility of writers and film makers to to give a just and lively image of human nature.

The screenwriter, actresses and the actors did a superb job of doing that in “Our Brand Is Crisis.”

A Philosophical Comment About Critical Reason, Characters, Entertainment and Narrative Vividness

“The more critical reason dominates, the more impoverished life becomes….Overvalued reason has this in common with political absolutism: under its dominion, the individual is pauperized.” – Carl Gustav Jung

Donald Trump and Ben Carson are characters.

Characters are entertaining.

People want to be entertained and love being entertained.

Currently, the United States Republican Party Presidential Primary campaigns and debates are the best shows on television.

By the way, Lyndon Johnson had a way with words when it came to summing up people he distrusted, including a Kennedy aide (“He wouldn’t know how to pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were printed on the heel.”) and so did J. Edgar Hoover (“I’d rather have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in.”)

Language has often been called a weapon.

People should be mindful of where to aim it and when to fire.

Free speech is the bedrock of democracy.

Copyright © 2015 by Gary S. Smolker, All Rights Reserved

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on October 10, 2015, in Ben Carson, Core Issue Underlying the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Donald Trump, Free Speech, Gun Control, Hate Speech, Political Campaign, Political Campaign Strategy, Political Campaigns of Donald Trump and Ben Carson, political campaining, Republican Party's Primary Elections, Responsibility, Right of United States' Citizens to Bear Arms and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. The solution to gun violence is to implement the Second Amendment as it was actually written, to wit, “A well-regulated militia being necessary for the security of the state, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    So —

    In the context of a militia…

    not just any militia but one that is both well-regulated AND constituted for state security

    People shall have the right to bear arms.

    Outside of this, they don’t.

  2. MAYER HORN cited an article by David Horovitz of the Times of Israel, entitled:
    “A Stabbing War Born of Hysterical Intolerance” wherein Horovitz writes:

    Nobody knows whether this unprecedented spate of Palestinian “suicide stabbings” constitutes the start of another protracted round of conflict. This is a stabbing war born of insistent, hysterical intolerance. Impressionable young Palestinians have been persuaded that their God requires them to kill, and if necessary be killed, to “protect Al-Aqsa.”

    The false claim that Israel is about to permit Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, or otherwise change the policies that Israel has maintained at the holy site, has been assiduously spread by Hamas, Fatah, and the extremist Northern Branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement, widely peddled in mosques and on social media, and bolstered by PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Israel dare not entrust sovereign legitimacy to a Palestinian nation that is not truly prepared to live alongside what it acknowledges is a rooted, legitimate, revived Jewish state. Until the Palestinians internalize Israel’s right to be here, their quest for independence is doomed.

    This phase of violence suggests to Israelis that the Palestinians have a knife-wielding, even suicidal, intolerance for the Jewish state’s connection to Judaism’s holiest place, and that Moshe Dayan’s historic decision in 1967 not to fully realize renewed Jewish sovereignty at the Temple Mount – and therefore not to risk a religious confrontation with the Muslim world – has hardened intransigence rather than encouraged the reciprocal imperative for understanding and compromise.

    MAYER HORN then asked: Do you feel that Moshe Dayan’s decision, as described in the last paragraph below, was a mistake? An historic mistake?

    Recognizing that the Arab world, represented by Jordan, after Israel’s war of independence, removed Jewish tombstones from cemeteries and used them to pave roads and latrines, should Israel have taken possession of the site which is uniquely holy to Jews, and removed the mosque?

    I keep trying to remember to view these issues from the perspective of the mind-set of Islam, not from our western culture. In their culture, compromise means weakness. In their culture, all non-Islamic holy sites are to be destroyed or replaced by mosques.

    Unfortunately, Israeli acts of moderation, conciliation, and compromise have not only been ignored, failed to serve as a basis for progress in the peace process, or serve to evidence Israel’s good faith and commitment to peace — but have actually harmed Israel strategically and militarily and undercut its political position.

    This was true with the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005;

    The withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000.

    Israel’s complete withdrawal from the entirety of Sinai in 1980;

    Israel’s preventing a mass exodus of Palestinians from the West Bank following its victory in 1967;

    and the granting of control over the Temple Mount to the Waqf which is the subject of your e-mail.

    Each of these acts was undertaken based on an evaluation of the basis or core issue that underlies the Arab-Israeli conflict that typifies the “left wing” mindset that war is a consequence of miscommunication, mistrust, and mutual fear that can be overcome through dialogue and confidence building measures that lead to mutual understanding, the breaking down of barriers of communication, the finding of common ground, and the establishment of a consensus for peaceful coexistence.

    Of course, that is all nonsense.

    The core issue is the Islamic view that non-Muslims are impure and at best ignorant of the truth (i.e. Islam) and at worst evil perverters of the truth (Islam). In the former case, pressure through oppression, the poll tax, and other restrictions will lead them to the truth, and in the latter case eradication by war will do the trick.

    The core issue in the Arab-Israel conflict was never about settlements, the occupation, East Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the refugees or borders. It was about the existence of a non-Arab/non-Muslim country in a region that Arab Muslims hold must be Arab and Muslim.

    No amount of dialogue can change Israel into an Arab Muslim State — hence, dialogue is a dead end.

    No compromise can accomplish this either (although compromise can weaken Israel strategically — making its conquest and conversion to an Arab Muslim state by force of arms easier).

    Peace treaties and similar agreements do not solve the conflict — but actually perpetuate and exacerbate it, as Muslims equate any treaty with a more powerful non-Muslim party with the Treaty of Hudaybiyah (a treaty Muhammad entered into with the more powerful pre-Islamified Meccans w/whom the Muslims were fighting wherein Muhammad promised peace for 10 years (sound familiar) and the Meccans laid down their arms while the Muslims increased their strength; 2 years into the peace treaty, the balance of power shifted and the Muslims attacked the unsuspecting Meccans (who thought they had 8 more years of peace ahead) vanquished and converted them).

    Dayan obviously thought his gesture would convince Arabs that Israel was NOT interested in conquest or occupation, and that Jews respected the religious rights of Muslims. Clearly, that gesture was lost on them and the rest of the world. Instead, all it did was set the stage for the denial of Jewish rights, the destruction of Jewish antiquities, and created today’s causus belli.

  3. Though Dayan was a great leader, it was a serious mistake to attempt any gesture on muslims.

  4. The klaxon jolted nearly 5000 men and women of the US Navy suddenly awake and alert including 32 young pilots aboard the US Aircraft Carrier John Stennis, the lone remaining “war carrier” in the Middle East. As the last of the pilots bolted into the ready room for the mission briefing, the entire ship came up on alert and battle stations. Meanwhile, the armory crew began fitting 32 US Naval fighter aircraft with air to air missiles and armament. This was not going to be a camel shoot.

    The briefing began amid the shuffle and coughing of not quite awake and bleary-eyed, startled, excited and yet concerned young people. The briefing began:

    Satellite images have detected three fleets of aircraft crossing Iraqi airspace. CIA has interpreted the flightpaths of these aircraft and determined that they are enroute to targets in Iran. You will be intercepting and engaging these fleets before they reach their targets.

    “Sir, whose aircraft will we be destroying?”

    “The CIA say these are Israeli fighter bombers sent to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities. The President has ordered that we protect Iran as required by treaty.”

    “So we are going to shoot down our ally in the Middle East?”

    And so began the Israeli-American War.

    • No, that is not what happened in your fictitious scenario. What actually happened was Putin and the Russians had anticipated all of the above described American response to an Israel Air Force bombing raid on Iran’s nuclear facilities and coordinated defense of the Israelis Fighter Bombers with the Israeli government and the Russians were able to shoot down any American jet that threatened an Israeli jet, thereby insuring the Soviets long held desire to gain access to the Indian Ocean via the Arabian Sea by a direct route from Russia through Iran to the Arabian Sea. All of the above was accomplished without the Israelis firing a single shot at the American fighter planes.

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