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New Year's Day is seen on a 2021 calendar Friday, July 10, 2020, in Overland Park, Kan. 2020 is barely halfway over. That hasn't stopped many people from declaring the year canceled and wishing it would end. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

What Americans should be doing now for the future

With Thanksgiving now passed, Americans have entered into their yearly no-man’s-land until the mid- to late-December holidays. Psychologically we are in a similar state of limbo, as we wait for both a new presidential administration (as of this writing not a done deal) and COVID-19 vaccines to flow into the American bloodstream. All this waiting, especially with the onerous lockdowns taking place in many parts of the country, is maddening.

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Virginia drifting westward, and no one seems willing to stop it

In the horse-race of woke, racialized politics, there are a few clear front-runners. Portland is in a good spot after 100-plus days of rioting. Seattle remains a strong contender after its showing in the CHOP. And, of course, the whole state of California — a perennial favorite — is always a safe bet. The odds are slim that Virginia, an often decently run state, beats out this strong group, but with woke all-stars like Sen. L. Louise Lucas, Portsmouth Democrat, in the General Assembly, they should get a good look.

Divine Ayong seals a test in a biohazard bag after collecting a sample Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, at The University of Texas at El Paso's Fox Fine Arts building in El Paso, Texas. Deaths per day from the coronavirus in the U.S. are on the rise again, just as health experts had feared, and cases are climbing in nearly every single state. In El Paso, authorities instructed people to stay home for two weeks and imposed a 10-p.m.-to-5-a.m. curfew because of a surge that has overwhelmed hospitals. (Mark Lambie/The El Paso Times via AP)

Gauging the coronavirus 'cure'

Restrictions on normal human activities have undoubtedly saved American lives that otherwise would have been lost to the deadly coronavirus. The all-hands-on-deck approach to fight the pandemic can be quantified in terms of the trillions of dollars spent, but there been other costs as well. Lives claimed as collateral damage in the battle have been given only secondary consideration. It's time to ponder whether it makes sense to rob Peter of life in order to save Paul.

Voting early nullifies late debates

Americans admire decisive action, but there aren't many handed out for going off half-cocked. Tens of millions of Americans tuned in Thursday night to watch Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden match wits in their final showdown before the 2020 election but, counterintuitively, it may not much matter. That's because tens of millions more have already pulled the trigger and made their selection for president. For all but those facing real health fears or schedule conflicts, the rush to vote early is a choice to vote ill-informed.

Confronting political censorship

Some disasters arrive with the suddenness of an avalanche with no time to react, while others are preceded by a flashing early-warning sign. Americans are shocked by blatant censorship of news relevant to the impending 2020 presidential election, but they shouldn't be. Unsavory political bias has been a growing phenomenon in the electronic public square. With millions of votes already cast, efforts to release the subversive grip on free speech are too little, too late.

An election worker pulls a stack of returned ballots from a sorting machine at the King County Elections office Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Renton, Wash. Election officials there said that 280,000 county ballots had already been returned, nearly 20% of the total sent to voters. Washington state is one of five states, along with Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, and Utah, that conduct elections entirely by mail-in voting. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Voting with the personal touch: Mail-in balloting imperils 'basic fairness'

It's no secret that life isn't always fair. Given a choice, though, common-sense citizens would prefer fairness over inequity 99 times out of 100. That's why it is disturbing that there is no guarantee elections are fair and square. With the stakes mounting higher with each succeeding national election, the temptation to tilt vote outcomes with erroneous and fraudulent ballots has never been stronger. The best course of action that concerned Americans can take is to vote in person.

A big censorship test run

In news almost everyone saw coming, Monday morning Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden announced he would hold no further press events until after the final presidential debate with Donald Trump on Thursday. What's remarkable is not the duck-and-cover routine Mr. Biden has been playing — we all know what that's about — but the fact that the media is simply willing to accept whatever political ploy from the campaign, no matter how anti-democratic.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden waves as he arrives at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Flipping a coin on fossil fuels: Biden energy plan could weaken the U.S. economy

The U.S. economy runs on energy, and it runs more powerfully when its fuel is affordable. Seldom has energy been more abundant than at present, and President Trump's policies have helped the juice to flow. In challenging Mr. Trump's presidency, Joe Biden is championing a fundamental transformation in energy policy. With the health of the economy the top issue of the upcoming 2020 presidential election, voters should examine whether his plan would dial the power down.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr speaks during a roundtable discussion on Operation Legend, a federal program to help cities combat violent crime, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Braking the wheels of justice: The probe of 'Crossfire Hurricane' drags on

Whoever said patience is a virtue should also have mentioned that patience is a close relative of procrastination. The United States fought and won World War II in three months shy of four years. It has been three months longer than four years since rogue Obama administration officials initiated an unwarranted attempt to derail Donald Trump's presidency, and still no justice has been meted out. Sadly, Americans are going to the polls in a new presidential election without a full accounting of mischief committed during the previous one. There is little virtue in that.

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Southwest Focal Point Community Center in, Pembroke Pines, Fla., Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A Biden win portends a nuclear deal do-over for Iran

For the better part of a year, Americans have narrowed their focus to the immediate task of saving themselves from the scourge of the deadly coronavirus. The threat of disease is still potent, but the approach of a quadrennial presidential election necessitates a wider scope of awareness. From afar, an angry Iran continues to glare westward. As millions of U.S. voters sit with pen in hand to fill out their mail-in ballots, they should ponder whether they could be also signing off on a renewed Iranian quest for nuclear arms.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, meets with Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020. (Erin Scott/Pool via AP) ** FILE **

Risky judgment of Barrett's Catholicism

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett boasts solid-gold credentials: tops in her class at Notre Dame, a clerkship with Justice Antonin Scalia, black-robed experience on the federal bench and a heart for the human condition earned while mothering seven children.

A member of the production crew cleans glass on stage which will serve as a barrier to protect the spread of COVID-19 as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate at the University of Utah, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Salt Lake City. The vice presidential debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is scheduled for Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Don't discount the Pence-Harris debate

Divided between plexiglass barriers, Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris will meet Wednesday for their first and only debate. Unlike past "junior-varsity" matches, what's in store will reveal the aptitude of each of the candidates and two very different portraits of the future. Many voters think Ms. Harris will likely end up running things in the White House should the Democrats win. But the ability to carry out the duties of the presidency, if necessary, is something that both will be judged on.

President Donald Trump walks out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center after receiving treatment as a covid-19 patient, Monday, Oct. 5, 2020, in Bethesda, Md. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The testing of the president: Like fellow Americans, Trump is in the fight against coronavirus

Billionaire businessman, TV showman and Free World helmsman Donald Trump has long stood in a class by himself. At the same time, he has never abandoned the street-level populism enjoining him the millions of voters he has aroused. It is perhaps fitting, then, that the greatest challenge to Mr. Trump's presidency — and his person — is the very same coronavirus threat faced by 21st century Everyman. How he handles his personal test in the battle against the deadly disease may determine whether America emerges from the pandemic epoch with victory.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that President Trump will not go down without a fight if he loses the election to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. (screengrab via YouTube/@The 19th)

The next Russia collusion chapter

Americans may have thought they had heard all there is to know about "Crossfire Hurricane," the shadowy investigation of Donald Trump's 2016 campaign supposed conspiracy with the Kremlin to discredit his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Information has surfaced that the official account may be missing an important plot twist: Hillary not as victim, but perpetrator. Fact or fiction, it's a new chapter in this unprecedented political drama that deserves to be written.