Things are getting real. We are at over 47,000 deaths worldwide and over 5,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. Our top experts are modeling between 100,000 and 240,000 American deaths by the end of this crisis. Those are massive numbers. We lost nearly 3,000 on 9/11; we suffered 7,000 (so far) U.S. military deaths in the "war on terror" and 58,000 after 20 years in Vietnam. Early hopes that COVID-19 could be overblown have more than dwindled. If anything, we are learning more every day about how China has understated the deaths they have seen -- drastically understated, according to some reports.

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s2smodern

This week's dumb national debate has been about when to reopen our economy. To date, our strategy on the coronavirus has been to shut down pretty much everything and stay home. President Donald Trump said he hopes to reopen our economy by Easter. Those who oppose anything the president says are therefore adamantly opposed to reopening our economy. What about the 80% of Americans who are tired of the battles dominating our politics between those who defend Trump at all costs and those who attack Trump at all costs?

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s2smodern

As members of Congress debate the terms of the trillion-dollar-plus coronavirus relief package for businesses and individuals, they would do well to remember our recent history.

Most people in professional Washington hate the populist era we are going through. The populist period exists because Americans already feel like their elected officials are more responsive to large corporate interests than to the individuals who elected them. This played out big-time after the Wall Street bailouts fueled the tea party on the right and Occupy Wall Street on the left.

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s2smodern

America has faced great challenges in the past, and we have always gotten through them stronger than we were before. From the Civil War to the Great Depression to World War II, we have been through some horrific stuff. In the Civil War alone, we lost 750,000 people, or 2% of our population at the time. That would be 7 million deaths at our current population level. In World War II, we suffered another 405,000 deaths. Since World War II, we have faced many challenges, including wars and terrible tragedies like 9/11, but as far as the scale goes, we may be entering a period of hardship like none we have seen in decades.

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s2smodern

One of the first rules of weathering a crisis is to remain calm. Freaking out never helps. It's not yet clear how big of a crisis the new coronavirus will be, but panicking over even the most minor matters has become an American specialty these last few years. In our politics, we have jumped from faux crisis to faux crisis with such speed that most Americans have started tuning it out. This is not the ideal state of affairs as we prepare to enter a period of potential real crisis that could affect millions of people and result in the loss of many lives. Our country has a tradition of coming together to face crises, but this time, it's hard to imagine. Let's hope our leaders -- and all of us -- can rise to the challenge.

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s2smodern

It's rare that President Donald Trump ever seems to misread a communications matter. From the earliest 2016 debates, it became clear that he is a lot better at communicating with the American people than your standard-issue Republican politician. He's also a master at the media game. The liberal press would never admit it, but he's the best political communicator of our time. That's why his treatment of the new coronavirus is so surprising.

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s2smodern

Now that Sen. Bernie Sanders is surging and a populist-left Sanders versus populist-right Trump race looks more and more likely, it might finally be time for America's leadership class to start looking inward and asking what's going on. People don't throw out all their normal political leaders for a TV-host billionaire and a socialist who honeymooned in the Soviet Union when they are satisfied with the state of affairs in their country. Something's going wrong for the American people. They are desperately searching for new political leaders who will shake things up.

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s2smodern

After watching the Las Vegas Democratic debate, it's becoming less and less clear how the Democrats plan to defeat, or even challenge, President Donald Trump this fall. As a conservative Republican watching just for kicks, the debate was amazing -- tons of drama and entertainment value. But if you are a Democrat committed to getting rid of Trump, it was probably not so much fun. In fact, it had to have been depressing to watch. There were fireworks and interesting storylines, but when the smoke cleared, who was left to take on Trump?

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s2smodern

Sen. Bernie Sanders is winning. If the election of Donald Trump wasn't enough of a wake-up call that Americans want radical change, the Bernie surge should finally get America's leaders to start thinking more clearly about what's happening in our country.

For a lot of people, it's been easier to stick their heads in the sand and pretend we are still a Romney-versus-Obama country than to wrestle with the tough issues that are driving American politics today. Why are people so hungry for serious change? That's the single most important question -- and it's the question nobody ever talks about. How is Sanders winning primaries? How did Trump take over the Republican party, knocking out every major established Republican politician, with such ease? The answers you hear in Washington are almost too superficial to discuss. It's not because of Russia. It's not because too many establishment Republicans divided the vote against Trump. It's because people are truly sick of our leaders.

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s2smodern

As Speaker Nancy Pelosi tore up President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech page by page, she put the finishing touches on one of the greatest political rehab jobs of all time. The Democrats have managed to turn Trump into a thoroughly sympathetic figure.

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s2smodern

Ten to 20 years from now, we will not be talking about impeachment, and believe it or not, we won't still be talking about Donald Trump either. We will be talking about our debt crisis. For all the good that came from this era, the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations will all be remembered as the ones that caused the crisis that will hammer our children and grandchildren. To understand where we are, it's helpful to review the past few years of this issue's development.

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s2smodern

Not many people think of President Donald Trump as a detailed policy innovator. His detractors still view him as a buffoon unequipped to run the country. His supporters view him as a guy who has succeeded on great instincts. Not many view the president as a guy who gets under the hood to study the details of policy options. But with historically low unemployment; a booming stock market; trade deals in place with China, Mexico and Canada; and many other wins under his belt, it's a good time to examine the president's policy record. Maybe the Trump team deserves more credit than they have received -- especially when it comes to immigration.

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s2smodern

The immigration debate in our country has been dominated by huge corporations who want more (and cheaper) workers and by liberal advocacy organizations who want America to take in as many people from developing nations as possible, partly for humanitarian reasons and partly to drive up the voter rolls for the Democrats. These dueling interests have dominated for decades and led to a permissive system with a large influx of new immigrants, both legal and illegal. In response, conservative voices have pushed back on what they see as overly open immigration policies. Lost in this policy debate is what we should really be focused on: what's good for America.

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s2smodern

Is it possible President Donald Trump may have perfectly played the Iran conflict? He's been criticized for different and various reasons by people on the left and on the right. There's been a real concern that the president could get us into a war with Iran. It's early but it seems like Trump has effectively fired a warning shot at Iran to ramp down their continuing escalations -- without risking more American lives. If that's how it plays out, it will be hard not to credit the president for his handling of this matter.

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s2smodern

The same weekend that Orthodox Jews in Monsey, New York, were fighting off another knife-wielding anti-Semite thug with chairs and coffee tables -- they were fortunate that the perpetrator hadn't brought a firearm, like the killer who targeted a yeshiva in Jersey City only a few weeks earlier -- Jack Wilson, a 71-year-old congregant and security volunteer at West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, took mere seconds to stop a potential mass murderer.

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s2smodern

Throughout the impeachment drama, the press repeatedly told you that the president was a liar. They said his lies are why he had to be impeached. Donald Trump is a salesman; he is a talker, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. If Trump hadn't gotten rich in real estate, then he could've made a fortune selling cars. Most people know this.

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s2smodern
Mike Scruggs