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Former New Mexico governor, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson arrives to a cheering crowd of several hundred during a campaign rally Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

Protest without a point

The successful presidential candidate has to assemble a coalition with others with overlapping but rarely identical desires and interests, which means his most ardent partisans naturally see him as imperfect and inconsistent. Voters, alas, rarely get to choose between a candidate they admire unreservedly and a candidate they don’t like at all.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures as he speaks during an awarding ceremony for Russia's Olympians in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday attacked the ban on his country from the Rio de Janeiro Paralympics as immoral and inhumane. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

The changing Scandinavian tune

There’s nothing like a slap across the face, or a splash of icy water, to get a sleepyhead’s instant attention. Finland, like Sweden, has prized its neutrality, often with a self-righteous smirk at the rest of the West. But reality has wiped the smirk away.

Erika Davidson sets up voting booths at the Panama City Beach Senior Center on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, in Panama City Beach, Fla. (Heather Leiphart/News Herald via AP)

Leaving no voter behind

Democrats are poised to complement their celebration of diversity with an emphasis on indiscriminate inclusivity. Virginia voters on Nov. 8 might have unexpected company while they wait in line to perform their civic duty.

Hillary Clinton appears in Puerto Rico during a recent campaign event. (Associated Press photo)

The threat to peace and security

Most Americans, according to the polls, think radical Islam is the greatest threat to America’s peace and stability. It’s the economy, too, as Mr. Stupid is forever trying to learn, but you can’t enjoy a good job and a strong economy if you’re dead at the hands of a religious fanatic.

FILE - In this Aug. 16, 2016 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Philadelphia. More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money, either personally or through companies or groups, to the Clinton Foundation. It's an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Honest lives matter

Virtue doesn’t sell like it used to, and one variety in particular has been put on the back shelf. Billy Joel wasn’t kidding when he sang, “Honesty is such a lonely word.” Honesty only matters where truth is valued, and in the noisy cacophony of the digital age it’s often difficult to recognize the genuine article. But it’s still important to try.

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When nothing works

Sometimes nothing works. In fact, "sometimes" often seems "all the time." The digital revolution has bequeathed a welter of new "systems" to cover nearly all of human activity. Something, alas, always goes wrong -- the Internet salesperson doesn't know that his company doesn't ship to a post office box, or the delivery courier, even with his Global Position System reader insists an address, where the addressee has lived for 40 years, doesn't exist.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton appears on stage at a rally a Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus, Ohio, Sunday, July 31, 2016. Clinton and Kaine are on a three-day bus tour through the rust belt. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Democratic dilemma

Hillary Clinton knows she's trying to sell a used car with no brakes, a busted transmission and bald tires. "I get it that some people don't know what to make of me," she said in accepting the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. She went on for almost an hour trying to tell everyone what to make of her. The television cameras caught Bill dozing off several times, once while standing up.

President Barack Obama speaks during the third day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The biggest ego in town

President Obama is not the incarnation of Demosthenes, or even William Jennings Bryan, as he seems to think, but he's not bad on a good day with the right subject matter. His favorite subject matter, which is not necessarily the people's choice, is about him.

Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said she has no regrets in bringing charges against the six officers. (Associated Press)

Justice in Baltimore

Marilyn Mosby, no Blackstone she, has made such a mess in Baltimore that the city won't live it down for decades. The Baltimore state's attorney announced this week that she was dropping all charges against the remaining Baltimore police officers she charged with murder in the 2005 death of Freddie Gray.

A voter marks a ballot for the New Hampshire primary inside a voting booth on Feb. 9 in Manchester, N.H. (Associated Press)

The other battle at the ballot box

Party conventions, first of the Republicans in Cleveland and this week of the Democrats in Philadelphia, first and foremost are about whose name goes on the top of the ballot. Before any votes are cast on Nov. 8, though, questions must be settled about identification rules determining who gets to cast a ballot. Voter identification laws, popularly called ID laws, have proliferated.

California delegates hold up signs as they cheer during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Dreaming the impossible Democratic dream

The Democrats had better pack a good lunch on their way to the post-convention campaign. It's going to be an all-day job. They must persuade voters to avoid looking at Barack Obama's disaster of "hope and change" while Hillary Clinton pushes the party's platform of more of the same. The platform, as adopted in Philadelphia this week, is an exercise in the old shell game.

President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks about the mall shooting in Munich, Germany, before addressing law enforcement officers from around the country at the Advancing 21st Century Policing Briefing in the South Court Auditorium of the White House complex in Washington, Friday, July 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The price of trusting Iran

Barack Obama may be the last man in America who actually trusts the holy men in Iran, and a secret codicil, or amendment, he made to his infamous nuclear agreement with them reveals just what happens when a president has no understanding of "the art of the deal," or the people he makes deals with.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in Springfield, Ill., in this July 13, 2016, file photo. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The descent into depravity

Radical Islam descends to a level of barbarism beyond the imagination of civilized man. Women and children, and 87-year-old priests, become favorite targets. They can't easily fight back, though the heroic priest slain on his knees before the altar at a Roman Catholic Church in France tried, and gave up his life defending his parishioners.

An anti-Hillary Clinton demonstrator stands with a sign in downtown Philadelphia, Monday, July 25, 2016, on the first day of the Democratic National Convention. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Brotherly love in Philadelphia

The Democrats, like a pig stuck in a barbed wire fence, have a lot to cry about. Their nominee got the telephone call from the governor (or in this case the FBI) with the hoped-for stay of execution, their national convention just barely escaped implosion, but the landslide victory they expected only a month ago doesn't look like that any longer.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a meeting with World Health Organization Director-General Margaret Chan, not shown, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

The clouds on the horizon

When China spits, Asia swims. Everybody east of Suez learns that ancient tribute to the size and ambitions of the Middle Kingdom. Now Asia hears the harsh hocking noise that sounds suspiciously like China clearing its throat.

Recent but undated handout photo issued on Friday July 22, 2016 by William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, of Britain's Prince George with the family dog Lupo, at Sandringham in Norfolk, England. Prince George celebrates his third birthday on July 22, 2016. (Matt Porteous/Handout via AP)

An awful crime in Blighty

There's a new crisis in Old Blighty. Prince George, son of the duke and duchess of Cambridge and grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, could soon be a common felon, and he's not quite 3 years old. It's not likely, but you never know. There's photographic proof that he committed a dastardly deed.

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking to members of the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2016, after getting briefed on the investigation of a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando by FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, and other officials.  (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Barack Obama, the condolence man

President Obama tries to project a sunny outlook on the world, mostly by denying that anything bad is happening anywhere. But he's having a hard time of it staying ahead of the radical Islamic terrorists who, he says, don't really exist.

Within hours of his speech, Sen. Ted Cruz was fundraising off it, vowing that his own political movement will continue. He still has two years left before he needs to seek re-election to the Senate. (Associated Press)

Ted Cruz and an act of betrayal

Ted Cruz might have thought he was opening his 2020 campaign for president with his remarkable snub of the party and its nominee for president, but he was more likely making a deal with the undertaker.

FILE - This April 28, 2010 file photo shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-fired power plant in Colstrip, Mont. The Colstrip plant, a coal plant serving utility customers across the Pacific Northwest, has agreed to shut down two of its four units by 2022 under a settlement announced Tuesday, July 12, 2016, with environmentalists who sued over alleged air pollution violations. (AP Photo/Matt Brown, file)

Foolishness over fossil fuels

The masterminds who put their heads together to "improve" the planet sometimes only bump those heads together. Environmentalists have confidently -- and arrogantly -- declared that their "green" policies are based on "settled science," but evidence continues to trickle in to dispute that. On paper, saving the world is as elementary as ridding it of fossil fuels. Experience, however, teaches that "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Melania Trump stands at the podium during the opening day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Monday, July 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Melania Trump's home run

Stealing the published words of others is never a good idea, particularly in Washington, but whether it's a felony or a misdemeanor usually depends on who the sinner may be. Democrats often get by with plagiarism, Republicans usually don't.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump addresses the Republican National Convention on its second day in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Promises to keep

The first requirement of leadership is the courage to take a stand against determined opposition. The Republican platform adopted at the opening of the party's National Convention in Cleveland is a firm foundation on which America can honor its exceptional heritage and build a better future. These are things that Barack Obama and the Democrats promised and failed to deliver.

 Downey Baptist Church in Downey, Iowa. (David Scrivner/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP)  NO SALES; MANDATORY CREDIT

A state religion for Iowa

Christ told his followers, in the 22d chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, to "render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and render unto God the things that are God's." This is so plain and simple that even a cave man could understand it, but a number of busybody bureaucrats in Iowa have decided that everything belongs to Caesar. It's a skirmish of the war on faith and the people of faith.

Baltimore state's attorney Marilyn Mosby, center, arrives at a courthouse before opening statements in the trial of Lt. Brian Rice, one of six members of the Baltimore Police Department charged in connection to the death of Freddie Gray, in Baltimore, Thursday, July 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A tale of three cities

Human passions are easily stirred by considerations of race, and such emotions can lead to very different places. The moving spectacle of Dallas leadership trying to soothe the racial anger that triggered the killing of five white police officers stands in contrast to the proceedings in Baltimore, where city officials are determined to make cops, black and white, pay for the death of Freddie Gray.