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Let’s not beat around the bush. This is no ordinary election, it’s a battle for America. We have two very different presidential candidates, who are selling two very different visions of the kind of America we had in the past, the kind of America we have right now, and the kind of America we should have in the future.

Why is Patrick Murphy suddenly invisible to national party leaders? Sure, RealClearPolitics.com has him polling on average 5.5 percentage points behind Marco Rubio, but not so long ago the congressman was the Democrats’ anointed one in Florida, expected to flip the U.S. Senate seat from red to blue.

Only in the strangest-ever presidential election could a former beauty queen’s weight be considered a deal-breaking issue of, if I may, gargantuan proportions.

And now, less than six weeks from the election, what is the main event of the day? A fight between the GOP presidential nominee and a former Miss Universe, whom he had 20 years ago called Miss Piggy and other choice pejoratives.

Donald Trump supporters can disparage many of the meritless, petty attacks on their candidate, from the so-called “Star of David scandal” to the holes-in-Melania-Trump’s-immigration story. I don’t blame them. I disparage them, too. But I must tell you this: If Trump secretly conducted business in communist Cuba while Fidel Castro was its president, the Republican presidential nominee should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, not elected to the highest office in the land.

Gov. Jeb Bush was universally acclaimed for his steadfast leadership during the torrent of hurricanes that ravaged Florida during his terms in office. And, indeed, he deserves everyone’s praise, because he did a remarkable job preparing Florida for hurricanes. But then he really shone by getting into the details of helping communities recover post-hurricane.

Looking on the bright side, perhaps this election can teach conservatives to look on the dark side. They need a talent for pessimism, recognizing the signs that whatever remains of American exceptionalism does not immunize this nation from decay, to which all regimes are susceptible.


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