A Trump presidency would shred America’s waning optimism because he would not be able to do the things he boasts he’ll do. It is foolhardy to believe he would. Not one of his “policies” stands up to even surface scrutiny.

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OCONOMOWOC, Wis. — While campaigning earlier this year, Donald Trump insisted the unemployment rate in this state was 20 percent. In reality, it was about 4.5 percent then and has only dropped since.

He said Wisconsin has a stagnant economy with a budget deficit of $2.2 billion. In fact, the state is on track to have a balanced budget.

Lying.

They say we all do it, sooner or later. But the cost of being discovered in a lie is painfully high. Usually.

Like when Hillary Clinton absurdly said FBI director James Comey more or less exonerated her in her mishandling of emails while she was secretary of state because he didn’t recommend she be charged with a crime. She was accused of lying because he actually said she had shown extreme carelessness in using a private server that could have compromised national security.

She paid a high price, losing the confidence of many voters.

But Trump’s pattern of lying is so amazingly blatant there is no comparison. He has crisscrossed the country telling dozens of lies. During four and a half hours of speeches, Politico found Trump lied, on average, once every five minutes. In one town-hall meeting, he lied 71 times.

Trump falsely insisted for years that President Obama wasn’t born in America. Then he flatly lied by saying Clinton started birtherism and he finished it. He lied by claiming Obama and Hillary “founded” the Islamic State terrorist network.

He said he lost hundreds of friends on 9/11. He did not. He said he saw thousands in New Jersey cheering when the towers fell. It did not happen.

He said he is unable to release his tax returns because he is being audited. That is not true. The IRS says he could release them.

He said it’s impossible to vet refugees. That is not true. Refugees face intense scrutiny, involving hours of interrogation and months of background checks.

He said he gives millions to charity through his foundation. Since 2009, he has given no money to his foundation — he used other people’s money, what he calls “OPM.” He used their donations to settle legal claims against him, according to The Washington Post.

He claims he has a “secret plan” to destroy the Islamic State. He does not. He said crime across the country is at record levels. It is not.

Character matters, and Trump’s character is appalling. He is running because he is convinced he can win. A Trump presidency would be alarming. But worse is what he is doing to the already damaged national psyche.

A Trump presidency would shred America’s waning optimism because he would not be able to do the things he boasts he’ll do — create millions of high-wage jobs, revitalize inner cities, eliminate homegrown terrorism and send undocumented immigrants home. It is foolhardy to believe he would. Not one of his “policies” stands up to even surface scrutiny.

If elected, Trump would alienate allies, start wars, befriend dictators who are “nice” to him, cut taxes on the rich, ignore the middle class, perpetuate inequality and foster his business interests. (No law requires him to divest his real-estate properties, nor would a “blind trust” work.) If Trump loses, he would say the system is “rigged,” causing more chaos and discouragement.

This election is not about liberalism versus conservatism, big government versus individualism, a can-do, take-charge attitude versus submitting to the status quo. This is about realism and whether we are willing to work for the country’s best interests long term.

This election should not be about change if it means changing for the worse, destroying the fabric of our nation by electing a man who thinks nothing of routine lying, even knowing he will be caught.

Many, not all, politicians have been dishonest. But we are in danger of creating an age of what is being called post-truth politics, where evidence and facts are scorned and the idea is not to search for truth but inspire passion, fear and hatred in supporters.

Trump lies because he wants to tell people what he thinks they want to hear. People believe Trump because it takes more effort to disprove him than accept his lies. He never says he is sorry because he is not.

That is not a great leader. That is a dangerously flawed, inherently insecure little man.