What is missing in America? “A freshness,” said a middle aged man. He went on to speak of the 1950s, “Ozzie and Harriet,” when things seemed newer somehow and assumptive of progress.

Is America off track? They all nodded. A woman said you can’t pray in schools anymore. By this she seemed to mean that religious practice, which among other things offers guidelines and guardrails, is no longer officially sanctioned or encouraged. A man ruminated that things seemed to go off track after 9/11 and “never quite recovered.”

Mr. Hart asked about how they see the 2016 campaign in historical terms. A man who appeared to be in his 30s said it was “like a soldier going to Vietnam,” by which he meant “no good outcome” and “no choice.” Twenty sixteen reminded another of the Monica Lewinsky scandal—low, embarrassing and leaving you “hurt for our country.” Another respondent remembered a talk from those days with a precocious 2½-year-old relative. She looked up at him one day and asked, “Uncle John, what’s a blow job?” He wanted to punch Bill Clinton in the face. Later a respondent, being asked what has happened to America, said: “Moral failure from the top starts to trickle down.”

Another said the 2016 race reminded him of Vietnam in terms of “the divisiveness in the country” and “the whole country being torn apart.”