Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by William Murchison.

And on ... and on ...

... And, yes! One fine day, as with the Noah family's detention on the ark, the damndemic will cease, desist, vanish, take a powder. Masks will disappear in the trash can. Americans will pass days and weeks without a virus-inspired reflection on medical experts or D. J. Trump.

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One of the most memorable scenes in the "Hunger Games" books and movies is when the poor kids from the outer districts take the train into the glimmering capital. There they see affluence and decadence completely foreign to them in their poor, hyperregulated homelands. It's all fiction, of course, but it's not too far from what we are actually seeing in coronavirus-ridden America 2020.

In case after case, we are seeing public officials completely flout the rules they are imposing on their own constituents. It's never been clearer that we are devolving into some sort of tiered society with different laws and regulations depending on your station in life. Politicians and top business executives can fly around on private planes, book private dinners and continue with their lives, while regular Americans see stricter and stricter lockdowns and mandates.

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Every single American should want the recount process to play out so the states can properly certify the presidential election. We have had an election, but that certification hasn't happened yet. The biggest problem we have in our country today is a lack of trust. The president's supporters voted him into office in 2016 largely because they had lost faith in our country's political leaders and institutions. You may agree or disagree with the merits of that motivation, but you can't deny its reality. From Washington ignoring the opioid crisis until it ravaged huge numbers of families to its seeming lack of regard for the economic stagnation felt by too many of our citizens to the massive numbers of public servants that directly cash out of government and into the corporate influence business, the loss of faith in Washington has been driving a good share of our politics for years now.

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Throughout this election, there were signs of the birth of a coalition of normal people unhappy with the radical turns our country has been taking. Regardless of how the presidential race turns out, the potential political realignment is unmistakable. Hispanic and blue-collar workers are shifting noticeably away from the overtures of the left-wing, "defund the police" crowd. I'm not sure who thought violence and looting in the streets of so many of our cities would have no political repercussions, but it did, and it brought regular Americans together in a way that bodes well for the future.

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Nobody knows how the election will turn out, but we can say with confidence that this is the first election where so many trusted authorities in our country have tried to tip the scales so hard. Regardless of the outcome, the partisan unfairness we have seen through this election cycle will further erode what we need most in our country: a renewal of trust. Trust is down in almost every national institution. When the people don't trust government, private business, educational institutions and the media, our country becomes less stable. But those bemoaning the erosion of trust spend little time talking about how much the institutions in question have earned the lower regard they now hold.

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Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by David Harsanyi.

First, Joe Biden's Praetorian Guard in the media argued that the New York Post's Hunter Biden scoop was "Russian disinformation." The DOJ, FBI and DNI each publicly disagreed. No one in the Biden camp has denied the veracity of a single email thus far. Yet, as of this writing, the Post's Twitter account is still frozen, and most major news outlets won't report the story.

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The New York Post's breaking news of emails purporting to show Hunter Biden scheming to make money off the family name has created a social media firestorm. Twitter began blocking users from sharing it almost instantly. Facebook didn't block the story outright, but they did announce almost immediately that they were "reducing its distribution on our platform." Even for the most sober observer, it sure seems like the social media platforms are interfering with the free flow of information relevant to our election. This is all the more so when you consider that stories critical of President Donald Trump, such as the anonymous leaks of his taxes, were not similarly blocked or throttled.

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There is nearly a month to go before Election Day, and things could change, but if they don't, the numbers look like Joe Biden may win big. The national popular vote polls aren't super helpful in predicting the outcome, since our winner is picked state by state according to the Electoral College. But the national polls since the presidential debate all turned even further toward Biden. What that tells us -- no matter what flaws each individual poll may have -- is that President Donald Trump did not help himself with his debate performance. When you add in the fact that Biden was already leading in most battleground polls (where it really matters) even before the debate, you get a sense of just how dire the current situation is for Team Trump.

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The downtowns of numerous American cities have been burned up. Government buildings have been attacked. Private businesses have been destroyed. And people have even been killed. This has been happening off and on now for many months. And -- perhaps most amazing and horrifying of all -- the news media has decided to largely ignore it.

Detailed coverage would undercut the "mostly peaceful" narrative that many want to cling to. When things get really out of control, the corporate media is forced to report on them in summary fashion, but they have largely abandoned the day-to-day, on-the-ground reporting they would do in virtually any other circumstance. Reporting of that sort is coming from a relatively small number of independent publishers, none more than my own publication, the Daily Caller.

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In case you didn't notice, our country is completely falling apart. There are so many problems that they are hard to list out at this point, but the biggest, by far, is the increasing animosity between Americans of different political persuasions. People think those on the other side are evil and need to be destroyed. There have always been views like that on the fringes, but the fringes have made huge advances and are now dominating our discourse. And it's not just discourse. We are seeing actual political violence on a scale not seen since the late 1960s. Most Americans my age have never imagined our country in a state of civil war, but can you honestly say that idea is as ludicrous today as it was 10 years ago? We are sliding fast in a bad direction, and it's time for people of goodwill to come together to put it to an end.

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It's now pretty clear that Joe Biden has a lead, but President Donald Trump has been closing nationally (which doesn't really matter) and in key battleground states (which matters a ton). Each party's base has been decided for months. The election, as usual, is largely about who can convince the people in the middle.

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Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by Veronique de Rugy.

As the saying goes, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." This advice applies to the hole Congress leapt into by bailing out the airline industry back in March through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Now these companies want even more taxpayer money. The federal government should refuse another bailout.

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Every good thing comes to an end. Since our founding -- based on ideas and principles rather than race or nationality -- America grew to become the world's most dominant power by the end of World War II. By the 1990s, once we won the Cold War, there was nobody else even close. Now we are completely falling apart. Our situation is so bad that it could be time to start debating whether we have, in fact, peaked as a country and as a world power. I sure hope not.

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Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by David Harsanyi.

It remains something of a mystery why there's so little apprehension among liberal pundits and Democrats about the similarities between battleground state polling for the 2020 presidential election and 2016 contest -- which as you might recall did not turn out as expected.

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Do we really have to worry about the Postal Service? That's the latest faux controversy to dominate our political debate. It's a sign of our times that even the mail system isn't without controversy. As usual, there's plenty of blame to go around on how we got into this mess.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's reasonable to presume we need more absentee voting. Packing voters into overcrowded indoor polling places with long lines is not a good idea. Our government and politicians of all stripes have a duty to promote free and fair elections whether in person or absentee. That shouldn't be a controversial idea.

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s2smodern

Attention readers: Neil Patel is off this week. Please enjoy the following column by David Harsanyi.

By the time the 2020 campaign ends, president-in-waiting Kamala Harris will have been transformed into the greatest exemplar of judicious centrism and political level-headedness in American history.

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s2smodern