It grows increasingly likely that Election 2008 will make us long for the good old days when elections were fair and civilized processes – like Election 2000. If the current election continues in the direction it seems headed toward, America's electoral process may be broken beyond repair.
There are allegations of voter fraud nationwide – at least 11 states are officially under federal investigation. In Ohio, more than 600,000 have already voted – at least a third of those votes are allegedly under a cloud of suspicion.
The community activist organization ACORN is at the heart of the investigation, at least for the time being. ACORN connects directly to Barack Obama, who used to claim as executive experience his time as a community organizer. (He doesn't talk about it on the campaign trail much now, since that experience was training ACORN leaders.)
ACORN is a wholly Democratic political partisan organization directly subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer to "get out the vote" for Barack Obama. Yet, other than the partisan right, nobody seems particularly concerned.
The election is beginning to take on the odor of some third-world dictatorship. Thugs roam the streets of America intimidating voters. Pittsburgh Police are investigating a report by a campaign staffer for John McCain that she was mugged and the letter B was cut into her face Wednesday night, for example.
Those parts of the election that can't be stolen are evidently for sale. Early in the campaign, both McCain and Obama pledged themselves to a "different kind of campaign" in which both would agree to public campaign financing to keep the playing field level.
John McCain kept his word and accepted public money. Barack Obama broke his word and refused public financing.
Public campaign financing was created to limit the influence of money in presidential politics. McCain must husband what public financing he has remaining, whereas Barack Obama somehow raised an astonishing $125 million in September.
Obama is therefore currently spending $250,000 per day on TV ads in the battleground state of Virginia. McCain, boxed in by public financing restraints, can only afford to spend $30,000 per day. (It doesn't matter which ticket you support. This is electoral fairness?)
Obama's campaign contributions are also under a cloud of suspicion. There are a number of big donations that have been illegally donated from abroad, including $30,000 from two Palestinians living in Gaza. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of small donors – $200 or less – that the campaign refuses to disclose.
There are legitimate questions regarding some of that donor money coming illegally from non-U.S. citizens, or from donors who have already exceeded campaign donation limits. But except for a few right-leaning news organizations, nobody in America seems to much care.
Historians trace the fall of the Roman Empire to the phenomenon dubbed "bread and circuses." As Rome's power began to wane, the government kept the people in line by bribing them with "entitlements" (hence the nickname, bread and circuses).
Once the people realized they could vote themselves a portion of the public treasury, Rome's eventual collapse was assured. Every year, satisfying the voters got more expensive, while Rome's treasury continued to dwindle.
Nobody seems concerned about the bread and circuses being offered the voters this year. One of those bribes purports to give a tax "cut" to the 40 percent of working Americans already exempt from federal taxes by increasing the taxes on the top 5 percent. Some on the right call it "socialism," and even a few independents are a bit unnerved by this overt confiscation and redistribution of wealth. For the most part, however, the voters seem OK with it – particularly those in line for an unexpected check from the IRS.
So, let's summarize the high points of Election '08. ACORN has fouled America's electoral system so completely that, in a close election, Americans can never be sure who really won. Thugs roam the streets seeking to intimidate McCain voters. Obama broke his word and is now able to outspend John McCain 10 to 1 for the rest of the campaign season.
It isn't about Republican vs. Democrat – it would be just as imperiling to American democracy no matter which party wins using these kinds of tactics. In the end, the winner will be the one who offers the voter the most attractive bribe – unless the election is close; then it will be the candidate who can afford the best legal team.
By Election '12, the winner may be the candidate with the strongest army and the biggest guns. Why not?