Two Parties, Two Visions, One Country

579ad62c6db48.imageDemocrats and Republicans naturally disagree on all kinds of national policy items. That much is certain. But what we saw through both parties’ conventions this past week is that they also vastly disagree on the status of the United States and where it’s going. Donald Trump declared that we are in a crisis and painted a so-called “doom and gloom” portrait of the country. Hillary Clinton gave us a much more positive outlook. They both stand by their perceptions and both insist the other candidate is wrong about theirs. The truth is, neither Trump nor Clinton is entirely right or entirely wrong.

Many Trump critics slammed his speech in Cleveland as borderline apocalyptic. Former World Chess Champion Gary Kasparov described it on Twitter as “Demagoguery 101.” Britain’s Financial Times dubbed it “Donald Trump’s Evening in America.” And at the Democratic convention, President Obama said it was “a deeply pessimistic vision of a country where we turn against each other.”

And although the president said Trump’s vision “wasn’t the America I know,” there is a significant amount of the population who are unsatisfied with jobs, the economy and our presence abroad, and it sadly is the America they know. And one speech isn’t going to make them change their minds. Indeed, a June Gallup poll found that roughly 69 percent of Americans are unsatisfied with the country’s direction.

And they have good reason to be. There are elderly citizens who worked hard their whole lives and now worry about their social security and nursing home costs. There are middle-aged couples opening their bills they get in the mail and think they’ll have to work 10 years longer than they’re supposed to just so they can afford to retire. There are young parents bringing new life into the world who worry their children’s life might not be better than theirs. There are Millennials who see college tuition prices rising every year and can’t comprehend how they are supposed to start a career tens of thousands of dollars in debt. There are entrepreneurs who have watched their family business close after prospering for generations because they can’t compete with the new Wal-Mart in town.

Everyone knows someone who fits these descriptions. And these people come from all political affiliations. Many of them probably supported Obama’s hope and change platform eight years ago, and have a hard time feeling either of those things now.

To some, the dismissal of Trump’s arguments signifies that Clinton and others are disconnected with public life and are living in a “fantasy world” as Trump himself put it. Clinton and many Democrats have slammed the Republican nominee for running a campaign by stoking unnecessary fear. But honestly, a lot of people are afraid. An African American mother is afraid that her young son might be killed by a police officer while getting pulled over. A police officer’s wife is afraid her husband could be killed by someone with a gun and a drive to murder those in blue.

We’ve seen a violent month and a half with shootings and terrorist attacks around the globe and many fear their hometown, their movie theater or their nightclub might be next. These people don’t think America is down the tubes necessarily, but they want to be sure their president acknowledges reality.

But they aren’t the only people who are voting in this election. A lot of people insist that a positive message and focusing on the country’s strengths rather than its weaknesses are better for the public and better for the candidate. Many studies have found this to be true. A study by Harold Zullow and Martin Seligman, who analyzed convention speeches of each major party’s candidate between 1900 and 1984, found that those with sunnier messages and campaigns were the winners in 18 out of the 22 elections. Furthermore, the more positive a candidate, the bigger the margin of victory was.

Now of course, it only makes sense for Clinton to be optimistic. She is running on the incumbent party, and Obama remains incredibly popular among Democrats. She capitalizes on the president’s accomplishments and insists the country is better now than it was in 2008. And like those who are worried, there are those who have a right to feel better than they once did.

After all, the unemployment rate is half of what it was seven years ago, gas prices have recently reached lows not seen in over a decade, the world’s most wanted terrorist is dead and millions of Americans now have healthcare who didn’t before.

But Clinton is also pushing that the hope and change Obama successfully sold in 2008 hasn’t failed or stalled, but takes time to take effect. She is reaching out to those voters mentioned earlier who feel afraid, insecure and left behind, and is trying to convince them to hang on, that things are indeed tough, but will get better tomorrow. Her usual choice of words like “breaking down barriers” and “building bridges” underscores her mainly positive demeanor.

And it works for a lot of people. They like hearing what is great about their country and what the government can do to make it better. They prefer hearing about the things we want to happen versus for the things we need to stop from happening.

Clinton and Trump are standing on opposite sides of the political room. Where average American voters lie are somewhere in the middle. They want a president who can stand up to danger without being dangerous. They want a president who can think with their mind but feel with their heart. And they want a president who resides in reality, but can still give them a reason to dream.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88

Bernie Sanders May Have Been a Missed Opportunity

Bernie fFifteen months after declaring a run for president, Bernie Sanders enters the Democratic National Convention with 22 state contest victories and 45 percent of the pledged delegates in his pocket.

Despite his impressive run and enormous following, Hillary Clinton will be crowned the standard bearer of the party to take on Donald Trump. But in the wake of the controversial leak of emails from the Democratic National Committee that show there were clear motives to upend the Sanders campaign, party unity has yet to be established. And like with Ronald Reagan in 1976, I can’t help but think there will be those who will come out of this convention and stop and wonder if the party nominated the wrong person.

I am not a Sanders supporter and never was, nor am I a registered Democrat, or for any party for that matter. But I have to admit the man impressed me. I believe Sanders has come the closest we’ve seen in a long time to a candidate with an outright and legit assault on the things that many, if not most Americans think are broken in this country. And I’m not even referring to his policy agenda—whether it be Wall Street restrictions, free college tuition or income inequality. What made Sanders an unconventional candidate was his candidacy himself—the very way he ran for president.

In an age where many Americans are frankly fed up with party politics, we have to remind ourselves sometimes that Sanders is actually an independent. Yes, he ran on the Democratic ticket, but has a long history of avoiding any official affiliation with the party, even saying once that his “goal was to destroy Democrats.”

Over the past 30 years, he has ran against Democrats, including a bid for governor of Vermont in 1986, and has criticized Democrats on multiple occasions, not the least of which include policies of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. While he obviously votes with and adheres to many Democratic principles, his consistency to refuse to register as one demonstrates thinking that flexibility is more important in politics than party loyalty. And flexibility is not seen much in gridlocked Washington.

And consistency is a signature Sanders trademark. I don’t know anyone who enjoys seeing a presidential candidate alter their language or twist their message to pander to a specific state or group. The “flip-flop” allegation is a classic attack on a candidate, one that Hillary Clinton is constantly accused of. Indeed, the first question in the first Democratic debate last fall regarded her changing views on important issues, some of which were complete opposite of what they were just a decade ago. While any candidate can be accused of flip-flopping, it’s actually quite difficult to find that dirt on Bernie.

His push for a “political revolution” isn’t new. Many of his current speeches to huge rallies resemble ones he made to small gatherings going back 40 years. A March article in The New York Times said “regardless of the results on the scoreboard, the state on the map, the year or even the decade, Mr. Sanders has talked with clockwork consistency about an economy rigged against the working class, a campaign finance system that corrupts politicians and a corporate media that obscures the truth.” Now, I have a hard time finding anyone who thinks either of those things isn’t a problem in this nation, either now or or years ago. Some might criticize him for sounding like a broken record. I’d prefer to think it’s refreshing, and I think many Americans would agree.

What does sound like a broken record is politicians who run for office who bang their fists on the podium and criticize the campaign finance system and say that we need to get big money out of politics—then they cross the street for a multi-million dollar fundraiser. Yet this is another area where Sanders has surprised us. One of his largest talking points is combating money in politics—but he’s already done it. Throughout his campaign, the senator refused to accept super PACs. While there’s still some debate on the exact language of that matter, any money raised from a supposed Sanders super PAC is minute compared to other candidates, including Clinton. Sanders heavily relied on small-dollar donations from grass-root activists, which evidently paid off. Sanders raised more money than his Democratic rival for three months in a row this spring—by big ratios.

And even as it became clear that his White House bid was in vain, Sanders used his popularity as political leverage, rather than simply shut up and fall in line as many party insiders wanted him to do. He has insisted that issues he cares deeply about be a part of the Democratic platform in order for him to support Clinton’s clause and get his supporters to do the same. It’d be much easier to just accept a promised cabinet position in a Clinton administration, endorse her and move on. But Bernie is not one for that.

And that is understandable. He is very reluctant to attach himself to a party system where he feels that he was mistreated, whether it be because of superdelegates, lack of debates or when the debates were scheduled. The events of the last week are the first signs of concrete evidence that the system worked against him. And he’s not the only one who’s upset.

The American people don’t ask for much. All they want is a candidate that is chosen by the people who will work for the people. All they require is that rules are fair and that those rules are abided by. What Sanders did was play by the rules—and lost. And even though he faced an uphill battle the entire time, he hardly strayed from those rules. That’s what made him “an outsider.” That’s what made him “radical.” 

We can only judge what a Sanders presidency would’ve looked like by the way he ran his campaign. In that sense, Bernie Sanders may be one of the greatest American presidents who was never elected.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88

Can Trump Win New York in November?

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Donald Trump has an obvious reputation for making extreme and often hyperboled statements throughout his campaign. But one of his overlooked and more fascinating ones has been his repeated claim that he can carry his home state of New York in the general election. While the Empire State and its rich 29 electoral votes are usually all but ignored by Republican candidates seeking the White House, Trump is known for surprising us and it has many wondering if he could actually pull it off.

Now, it’s a special time for the state. New York is back in the presidential spotlight for the first time in nearly three quarters of a century. Its April 19 primary was the beginning of the end for the campaigns of Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Now for the seventh time in American history, it is poised to send either native son Trump or adopted daughter Hillary Clinton to lead the country, the first time since Franklin Roosevelt that a New Yorker has done so. Interestingly, Roosevelt also went up against a fellow New Yorker in the contest for his final term in 1944.

While his home state didn’t appear on his recent list of 17 states that he will focus on in the coming months, it isn’t like Trump to just allow Clinton, often called a “carpetbagger,” to walk all over his own backyard. He isn’t the only one to suggest this either. As Donald Trump Jr. put his father over the threshold of needed delegates to win the nomination at the Republican convention, he said “we’re going to put New York into play this time around.” And a few days ago, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told the New York delegation in Cleveland that Trump has a good shot of winning their state. But if Trump tries, he faces an incredible, if not downright impossible battle.

At a glance, New York is about as blue as can be. Democrats dominate the state legislature and fill the seats of its governor, both U.S. senators, a large majority of its congressmen and all of the mayors of the state’s ten largest cities.  And a Republican presidential candidate hasn’t carried New York in a general election since Ronald Reagan’s landslide electoral victories in 1980 and 1984. There’s a reason for this. When it comes to registered voters statewide, Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1.

New York is also a leader in neo-liberal politics. It has tough gun control laws, a statewide ban on hydrofracking, and was the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage and the second state to pass a plan to reach a $15 minimum wage.Indeed, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has even said that extreme conservatives “have no place in the state of New York.”

But it’s not just the politics of the state itself; it’s who Trump is running against. Though she’s relatively new in town, Hillary Clinton remains a popular figure here. She was elected as a senator in 2000 and re-elected overwhelmingly in 2006. She won the Democratic New York primary by 17 points over then Sen. Barack Obama during her first run for the presidency in 2008. And she beat Bernie Sanders by 16 points in the primary this spring.

So, can Trump compete with that? The short answer is no. For now, New York is still a Democratic stronghold in a presidential election. Now, that doesn’t mean that the billionaire businessman won’t do well here. He won 61 of the 62 counties during the state’s Republican primary. But Trump has his eyes on the upstate region, which is much more rural and much more conservative than New York City and the immediate vicinity. The 2014 gubernatorial election is a modern strong model for the upstate/downstate political division. While Democrat Cuomo won the election handedly, he actually won only eight counties in the entire upstate region. That said, those counties contained the big cities of Buffalo, Syracuse, Binghamton, Albany, Ithaca and Plattsburgh, so large populations even in the upstate area usually lean Democratic.

But one of Trump’s main talking points, that bad trade deals have taken away jobs, is going to and has already resonated throughout the upstate region, perhaps more than many think. Though New York is not often considered part of the industrial Midwest, the Rust Belt’s eastern border stretches along the Erie Canal path through the state, from Buffalo to the outskirts of Albany. That area, where manufacturing jobs have evaporated over the last few decades, is going to be prime real estate for Trump in November.

But Trump’s insistence that New York is on play may actually be more of a mind game than anything for his opponent. If his campaign puts any kind of effort into the state, it may force Clinton to pour valuable time and money into a state that Democrats shouldn’t be worried about. She’s already going to have to do more than usual to defend states that make up Obama’s Midwest firewall, like Michigan, another member of the Rust Belt that Trump says he will actively campaign in.

That strategy might be smart, but its effectiveness in winning an election is probably energy that could be used in other means. If Trump is serious about winning the White House, it would be wise for him to surrender the Empire State and look elsewhere. New York is simply beyond his reach.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88

Cuomo’s Job Programs Leave Much to Be Desired

downloadSome New Yorkers are shaking their heads when they hear the commercials that say “all around New York, the economy is growing.” Probably because they air in between news segments of the latest business to leave their hometown or that the latest unemployment rate for their county is still above 5 percent. They don’t necessarily deny that the economy is doing better than it was a decade ago, but it’s hard to really tell the difference.

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s job creation programs like the Buffalo Billion and Start-Up NY, which he has pressed would help revitalize upstate’s economy, appear to only have done well in those commercials.

A disappointing report at the beginning of the month shows that in its first two years, Start-Up NY, which provides 10-year tax breaks for companies and their employees if their operations are consolidated with a college, has created a mere 408 jobs so far. The Buffalo Billion program has been under federal investigation for three months now for alleged cash flow problems. Just late last week, the governor’s administration announced it was paying a former federal prosecutor up to $450,000 to conduct an internal review of the initiative, which purpose is to stimulate the economy of the state’s second-largest city. A third jobs program also recently received a blistering critique by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, saying officials failed to verify that companies receiving tax breaks were eligible to take part in the program and actually created the jobs they promised.

The governor has repeatedly defended his efforts. “I think the criticism is very unfair and ironic,” Cuomo is reported to have said regarding Start-Up NY’s performance. “The program has been in operation a couple of years. It takes time.”

There’s no doubt about that. These sorts of initiatives can take a good number of years until they live up to their full potential. And to be fair, the number of jobs created each year by Start-Up NY has gradually increased. The question is how long are New Yorkers willing to wait? The upstate region has suffered economic stagnation for years and it was only augmented by the Great Recession of 2008 and its aftermath. The thing is, a lot of them aren’t waiting at all. Jobs are leaving the state and many people have left with them. More than half a million residents have moved out of New York since 2010.

But it isn’t just longevity that makes people skeptic. Just looking at the lackluster results of Start-Up NY is reason enough for taxpayers to be concerned that they’re footing the bill for these job programs that might not really amount to anything. Cuomo once labeled Start-Up as a “major transformation” and “game changer.” But it’s been significantly underperforming in many areas since. It doesn’t seem likely it will reach its target of creating 4,100 jobs by 2020. At the program’s inception, the state budget office projected it could generate as much as $150 million in tax breaks in the current fiscal year, but has actually only generated $1.19 million. And while Cuomo said the initiative cost taxpayers nothing, New York spent a whopping $53 million on those aforementioned commercials to promote it.

Some are probably thinking it may be too little too late. Although the backdrop of Cuomo’s ideas is providing tax incentives for businesses, New York has in recent years given a cold shoulder to several business propositions that would’ve provided jobs and opportunities throughout the state, like hydrofracking and underground oil pipeline construction. The state’s recent $15 minimum wage hike isn’t exactly a welcoming sign to them either. In 2013, the year Start-Up NY was in the works, Forbes ranked New York as the least business friendly state in the nation.

Others believe the system doesn’t always have the best intentions. The Buffalo Billion project investigation focuses on two former top aides to the governor. In a state that already has a big reputation for government corruption, it might appear like there could be more bad strings attached to these initiatives that have yet to be discovered. In addition, federal data shows companies taking part in Start-Up NY don’t even have to hire New Yorkers, or Americans. Some have already applied for foreign workers, which is completely legal by the program’s rule book. That doesn’t look like it benefits New Yorkers much. And Cuomo’s fierce insistence on his plans’ eventual success is also playing to his critics’ song that claims their main purpose is to build up Cuomo rather than build up the economy.

Where New York is now is in the middle of a win-lose situation. If Cuomo’s job programs turn out to be a success that brings the state’s rural land and smaller cities out of their fiscal ditches, or least provide a direction for future programs to go in, then we have no reason to complain. But if they fail, all we can say is that we’ve wasted time, money, energy and resources, and that we’re back to square one.

What the state should do is seriously consider a thorough reevaluation phase. It can’t hurt. There’s no use in continuing to spin the wheels if you’re only sinking deeper into the mud. The administration wants New Yorkers to be patient and understanding and in many ways, roll the dice. But we can’t afford to be wrong. The people of New York and New York jobs programs have this in common: They both need to work.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88

Fighting Police-related Deaths Should Be Joint Effort

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The deadly confrontations between white police officers and members of the black community that we’ve heard so much about over the last few years entered a new frontier last week with the killings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota, followed by the slaying of five police officers at a protest in Dallas just days later. These sorts of killings are no longer just a political struggle between law enforcement and enforcing law. Now it’s a war. But it cannot be a war where someone wins and someone loses. Rather, it must simply end.

Five officers, each with their own impressive and honorable records as law enforcers and human beings, were gunned down in the middle of a large rally that was protesting their very profession. Innocent men, one a veteran and one a newlywed, whose daily routine is to put their lives on the line every single day to maintain civil order had those lives robbed of them by a senseless and cowardly killer.

If the attack was intended by the sniper to be a retaliation of the killings of Sterling and Castile, he accomplished his objective of evening the score—but the score is 0-0.

These officers had nothing to do with the death of Sterling or Castile. They were targeted because of a part of our human nature that often brings about these incidents and then is augmented by the public—generalization.

It’s such a simple word, but it is the foundation of both bias and racism, the very ingredients that cook up these kind of events.

It’s preposterous that we live in a nation today where a colored person who sees flashing blue and red lights in their rearview mirror should fear that getting pulled over could be a life and death situation. It’s vile that police officers today must live in constant fear that it may be them in tomorrow’s national headlines as the one killed in action. It is wrong, indeed shameful, that any one person can automatically say that all blacks or all police officers are “thugs” or “pigs.”

Unfortunately, there are those who give us a reason to generalize. Police officers from all walks of life have been on the wrong side of the law and convicted of crimes, ranging from possession of marijuana to murder. There are also black citizens who have committed criminal acts themselves. But the vast majority of both groups are people of good character. It’s the so-called “bad apples” that makes it easy for us to play the blame game, blaming victims for not following police officers’ instructions and blaming the police for abusing their authority.

But it shouldn’t be easy. We are each individuals. We cannot allow ourselves to jump to conclusions because of the color of one’s skin or the color of one’s uniform. What this past week has shown us is that both sides, the black and the blue, have their bad apples and need to find middle ground. They both need directives put in place to remove bad apples from the batch and prevent new ones from growing.

They have here an opportunity to collaborate efforts to ensure that deadly force by police is a last resort and that no officer surpasses the boundaries of their job when making an arrest. They can both work to cement views that all police officers as the good guys, like we are always taught, and that they should not be disrespected or harmed simply because they have a gun and a badge.

And that collaboration has already begun. More states and departments are requiring body cameras to be worn by officers to aid in the accuracy of recounting confrontations when split decisions are made and actions are quick, which protect both the officer and the other person or people involved. Government officials have suggested new training requirements for officers on how they handle potentially heated scenarios. In response, leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have denounced and need to continue to strongly denounce and discourage the targeting of random white officers, both to those who consider themselves a member of the movement and those who don’t. After all, it was the police that subdued a gunman at a protest against police, and helped stop a shooting that could have taken more innocent lives.

The joint effort between them should actually be an easy one. Why? Because in the end, they both have the same common enemy—violence. Violence is easy and it makes headlines. But what we saw in Dallas does nothing to help what we saw in Baton Rouge or St. Paul. As Mohandas Gandhi once said, “an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.”

Sterling, Castile and the five officers were all victims of that kind of violence. That’s not justice. And no justice for them means no justice for the rest of us. Acknowledging that is a good start for moving forward.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88

Honesty Remains Clinton’s Biggest Obstacle

ct-hillary-clinton-lies-flip-flop-video-perspe-001After more than a year, Hillary Clinton has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing regarding her emails and email server while serving as secretary of state. She is without a doubt very delighted that she can put this troublesome ordeal behind her and move forward with her campaign.

If only it were that easy.

As unconventional as this year’s election has been, there is one specific element that consistently stands out ― candidate honesty. Yes, Americans want a president who can guarantee job creation, preserve our civil rights and keep the country safe. But in order to do all of those things, Americans first want a president who won’t play them for a sucker. Clinton may have avoided criminal charges, but the people’s trust in her—already tarnished by years of all sorts of allegations—is not going to look any brighter in the wake of the FBI’s ruling.

A June CBS poll found that 62 percent of Americans find Clinton untrustworthy. And that includes some of her supporters. She ranks only one point better than her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump. History has shown us that the Clintons aren’t very good at running away from their alleged past, whether it be Travelgate or Whitewater. It’s obvious that this clearance by FBI director James Comey won’t be any different. His own statement on the matter attests to her already high unfavorability rating.

Whether the actions she took were worthy of an indictment is up to the individual voter. I’m not going to talk about that. But what Comey did was confirm many Clinton critics’ favorite argument—that she openly lied to the American people, on multiple occasions, regarding her emails.

“I did not send nor receive anything that was classified at the time,” Clinton said at a campaign stop in Iowa last summer. She has repeated different versions of that phrase since then. However, Mr. Comey stated that the FBI found 110 emails on Clinton’s server that were classified at the time they were sent or received. Incredibly, this also contradicts Clinton’s slightly different statements saying she didn’t knowingly send or receive any classified information at the time.

Clinton has also insisted that she used only one device to send or receive her emails. Comey reported that she did in fact use multiple devices and multiple servers during her time at the State Department.

The presidential candidate has also stated that there were no security breaches to government classified content. The FBI cannot confirm there were any such breaches, but Comey said it was “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal email account.”

It is worth mentioning that the Clinton lawyers had deleted emails they marked as personal that contained professional content and that it was certainly possible more existed that they were unable to track down. She actually deleted more emails than were handed over to the proper authorities.

Essentially, Comey’s statement saved Clinton’s political life, but deepened her wounds, as it only raises her biggest hurdle with the average voter―winning and then keeping their trust. It also upends her persistent narrative that this entire event has been just a right-wing conspiracy. And the timely secretive meeting between her husband and Attorney General Loretta Lynch last week, whether it’s related or not, will certainly not help her image either.

And that’s the sort of thing many Americans are tired of. They are tired of the alleged backroom deals, secret meetings, lack of transparency, corruption in the government, and maybe most importantly, quite sick of feeling like those officials they elect use their position for their personal ambitions and appear to be above the laws they help create. But people are also tired of seeing powerful politicians emerge from those backroom deals with giant smiles, insisting that the will of the people was the focus of their conversation. They’re tired of being played like they don’t notice. There’s a reason why only 19 percent of people say they trust the government all or most of the time. The American public is not stupid. Nobody’s being fooled.

Clinton has recently acknowledged that many people do find her dishonest. “A lot of people tell pollsters they don’t trust me. Now I don’t like hearing that and I have thought a lot about what is behind it,” she said at the end of June.

But it doesn’t take much to figure out what’s behind it. It’s simple human instinct. If we find out one of our friends lies to us, it becomes very hard to trust them again. The only difference between that friend and Hillary Clinton is that our friend isn’t in control of our jobs, our economy, our military and the future of this nation. Clinton has been forced to back pedal on trustworthiness this week and has her work cut out for her.

Clinton has escaped indictment and appearing in any kind of court. But that doesn’t mean the trial is over. She will have a jury that decides her fate. But it won’t be twelve selected individuals. It will be millions of Americans this November.

This should be a lesson for any candidate running for public office this fall, including Trump. The lesson being that experience and achievements in national policy and foreign policy are impressive. But in 2016, honesty is the best one.

Luke Parsnow is a copy editor and page designer at The Post-Star, a Pulitzer-Prize winning daily publication located in Glens Falls, New York. You can follow his blog “Things That Matter” by clicking “Follow” below and follow his updates on Twitter at https://twitter.com/coolhand_luke88