Tavis Smiley, host of PBS’ Tavis Smiley and author of several books, joined Jim on Wednesday for a discussion on the current political climate, the state of black America and his hopes for the future of the U.S.

Smiley talked about the recent successes of presidential candidates and noted that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have earned delegates because “Americans at large are sick of a system that is dysfunctional, that isn’t working in their best interests.”

He also spoke to the success of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, and said that the challenge from Sanders has made her a better candidate, just as she made then-Senator Barack Obama a better candidate in 2008.

He offered some advice for Clinton, saying that in order to fully win the black vote, she must remember controversial remarks she has made in the past. While Clinton leads Sanders with the black vote—exit polls stated that 75% of African-Americans who voted in the New York Democratic primary voted for Clinton—Smiley warned that she must not take it for granted.

When focused on earning the black vote, politicians must also consider the current status of black America. Smiley said that black people are worse off now than they were ten years ago. The blame falls upon many, he said, noting the black community has not made demands for what it wants with the same vigor as other constituencies in the past decade. President Obama also must take some blame for this, he said. “How, in the era of the first black president, did the bottom fall out for black Americans?”

Smiley also criticized Obama for the Affordable Cart Act. He said that it was not what the president promised. And he was critical of Obama for sending money from the stimulus in 2009 to states rather than to cities, where the money could have had a greater impact.

However, Smiley said he shares the hope of every American, “to live in a nation that will one day be as good as its promise.” While he doesn’t consider himself an optimist (optimism, he says, suggests there’s a certain set of facts that imply things will get better), he does consider himself a "prisoner of hope." And with the upcoming election, Smiley said it’s crucial for voters to think about this shared hope and how a candidate can push for a truly better country.

“Ultimately, we decide. We get to make the choice about what kind of nation we want to be. If we make the right choice, I remain hopeful. But that remains to be seen. It’s an open question.”

Smiley’s most recent book, 50 for Your Future: Lessons from Down the Road, includes advice on lessons learned as well as other adages by which he strives to live his life.