It's Election Day in the U.S.A.
Here's hoping Barack Obama lays an ass-whooping on that Mitt guy. Our faith in electoral politics, whatever's left of it, depends on it. What would it say if the guy who called 47 per cent of the U.S. population lowlifes and welfare cheats won?
Consider the money being funneled by a small group of super-rich and corporate donors to the Republican cause.
Some $6 billion will have been spent on the U.S. federal elections this go-round, according to the Center for Responsive Government. A good chunk of that comes from Super PACs (Political Action Committees) and right-wing groups headed by the likes of former Bush Prince of Darkness Karl Rove, funneled to Republican candidates.
The Washington D.C.-based advocacy group Public Citizen says big money's influence on the American electoral system has handed control of elections to a "financial oligarchy."
Of the 50 individuals who have given $1 million or more to Super PACs, for example, roughly one-third are from the world of high finance.
Wall Street-connected moneymen have spent more than twice as much on the 2012 presidential race than on any other in history. That's no coincidence. The speculators who got us into the economic mess back in 2008 want to turn the clock back on financial regulations passed by the Obama administration to keep them honest.
The money works both ways, of course. Obama has outside groups bucking for the Democratic cause.
But unlike his challenger, he's not lying through his teeth to get elected, or engaging in the "yellow peril" rhetoric to win votes in the South over trade conflicts with China.
When the issue of trustworthiness has come up in public opinion polls, Obama has consistently come out way ahead, by three to one in the most recent survey.
Obama still believes in hope, even though inspiring voters has little to do with political game being played in Washington these days. Obama thought he could change that when he won in 2008.
The president's response to Hurricane Sandy, which tore through the eastern United States last week, reminded the nation that real political leadership still counts for something. Even New Jersey's Republican governor voiced his support.
All the same, politics in the U.S. has never been more partisan. It has become a numbers game, less about ideas than about knowing your base and getting them out to vote in larger numbers than your opponent's.
There're no longer political adversaries to defeat. There are only political enemies to destroy. Some cat named Michael Ignatieff warned in a recent talk of that reality being a troubling sign of the same thing that happened in pre-Weimar Germany. It may be too early to start throwing around the F-word.
But there's no denying the prevailing nastiness in U.S. politics. The sheer preponderance of negative attack ads is a reflection of that. Among them, one run in the key battleground of Florida suggests the sitting president is a Communist symp. A cliché. But it's a testament to how little politics have progressed that Cold War-era rhetoric is still seen as an effective tool by Republican spin-meisters to scare out the vote.
Pundits tell us that the race is too close to call, according to some polls, within the so-called "margin of litigation," despite the fact Obama is leading in most swing states. We may be in for a repeat of the Bush versus Gore, hanging-chad madness of 2000. Then, we learned that the Republicans would stop at nothing to win.
Now the Democrats are reportedly primed for calling out dirty tricks, with lawyers at the ready to respond to any reports of hijinks at polling stations. If nothing else, that spirited American notion of victory at any cost has managed to cross the aisle.