WASHINGTON — Can you identify which candidate made these statements?
Here's one: "Right now, we have a system that favors those who can pay for access and outcomes. That's how you explain an economy that is rigged to corporations and to the very wealthiest."
Here's another: "When you've got a government, when you've got an economy that does great for those with money and isn't doing great for everyone else, that is corruption, pure and simple."
And one more: "Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place."
The first is Beto O'Rourke, at the Democratic debate Wednesday evening. The second is Elizabeth Warren, at the same forum.
And the third is Donald Trump, in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention in 2016.
You might think the first two candidates would have little in common with the incumbent they are hoping to dislodge. But the dark view of the United States that dominated the Democratic debates last week recalled nothing so much as the "carnage" that Trump saw.
If you watched all four hours, you might think that hordes of homeless people are roaming the country, all police officers are racist, Americans have to work two or three jobs to survive, ordinary people are worse off than they were decades ago and no one can afford to take their child to the emergency room.
Which raises a couple of questions: Is this portrait realistic? And is it a winning strategy, or would some voters welcome a touch of optimism — of faith in the goodness or at least the potential of their country?
The Washington Post Fact Checker offered a few insights to the first question after the debate. Out of 162 million people with jobs, 325,000 are working two full time, while 5% hold more than one job as they juggle part-time work — a slightly smaller share than in the mid-1990s.
When you take everything into account (including taxes and government transfers), most people's incomes, including in the lower and middle classes, have risen since the early 1980s, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
And, of course, unemployment is about as low as it has ever been.
Now, the out-of-power party always focuses on shortcomings and failures, and these days there are plenty to focus on.
The rich have way outperformed everyone else, exacerbating inequality and leaving many people feeling left behind. Economic disruption and dizzying technological changes have many parents doubting that their children will prosper. Student debt, rising drug prices, affordable-housing shortages, racist policing, fear of deportation, opioid abuse — these are all-consuming facts of life for many people.
President Trump has not solved these problems, and he has made some of them worse. He he rejects solutions — on immigration, first and foremost — rather than give up his re-election platform of anger and hate.
More, he is a major reason for the gloom. It is hard for many Americans to have faith in democracy when their elected leader is dishonest, malicious and incompetent. His lies and inaction on climate change intensify a sense of apocalyptic foreboding.
And yet: As I listened to the candidates outgloom each other, I thought back to the recent memoir of one of the more thoughtful people on stage, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Toward the end of his story, Buttigieg imagines how envious he might feel if he could go back in time to South Bend in its industrial heyday, when the Studebaker factory was humming, the downtown department store was lively, streetcars were clanging along major streets.
"But only for an evening," Mayor Pete writes. "If I stayed any longer, I might become depressed. The saddest thing would not be the foreknowledge of loss … (but) pity for the people I would see … because any one of them would actually be much better off in the South Bend of today."
Better off? Yes, he says. Because blacks and women are so much freer to pursue their dreams. Because men who love men no longer have to hide. Because living standards and health care have improved across the board.
"Even the most prosperous men to cross my path would be ignorant and unhealthy compared to the average middle-class South Bend resident of, say, 2015," Buttigieg writes. " … Virtually every person's everyday life was worse, in absolute terms, than his or her counterpart's today."
A 10-person debate might not be the venue in which to tell a story like that, and Buttigieg didn't try. But is it possible for a candidate today to speak to the challenges of racism, inequality, polarization — and yet express some faith in progress?
Neither party's base would seem to have much tolerance for that sort of balancing. But there may be a lot of voters who still see some upside in the United States.
Hiatt is the Washington Post editorial page editor.