There's no way to prove or disprove the belief this year's midterm elections are the most bitterly fought in the country's history.
It is a fact, however, that more money has been spent on political advertising this year than in any previous off-year election, and there's no question that the ugliness, meanness, half truths and falsehoods are at the highest level in memory.
Is there any question why it is becoming increasingly difficult to get good, decent, normal men and women to seek public office? Once an individual agrees to be a candidate, he or she has lost the battle for any privacy because nothing in his or her past or present, whether about their private or professional life, remains secret.
More money has been spent in this year's election than on any previous off-year race. How can a candidate who wins a particular race not be beholden to those who provided the money to wage a successful campaign?
The intensity, bitterness and high stakes of Tuesday's election are likely to bring out the worst in many people. Emotions are so high that the country is becoming politically polarized. Part of this is due to the six-year hatred of Bush by many Democrats. The rewards of winning an election can be so significant that many people are eager to break the law to increase the odds for victory.
Unfortunately, there is likely to be a greater number of contested elections because of voter fraud. In addition to voter fraud will be the potential prosecution of cases involving illegal acts prior to Election Day. In all cases, fraud in the election process and illegal actions during the campaign far too often will result in punishment that is best described as a slap on the wrist.
The name of the game in politics is to win, in fact, win at any cost. How many times has a man or woman who won a political race and moved into public office been removed from office because campaign workers broke laws in generating support for the candidate? Not very many, if any. Again, the name of the game is to win, to win no matter what it takes, because the riches to be gained are so great. Is there any question that there will be a growing number of illegal acts and voter fraud cases this year?
In today's political climate, how can voters believe elections are honest? Already, in neighboring Missouri, election officials have discovered that an organization called ACORN has submitted as many as 10,000 names of registered voters who are, in fact, deceased.
In an effort to make it easier for individuals to vote, and with political correctness being so important in the eyes of many, less personal verification or identification is required at the voting booth.
People joke about the importance of "voting early and voting often," but this is proving to be true, not only by living voters but by using the names of people who have been dead for some time. It cannot be determined, at least with today's technology and voting practices, but it probably would be shocking to learn how many illegal votes are cast next Tuesday in the various U.S. Senate and House of Representative races across the country.
The stakes are high, with winners enjoying the benefits of political patronage, voting majorities in the Senate and House. Such power can be used to affect the lives of millions of Americans whether in judicial matters, taxes, the national economy, national security or thousands of other ways.
The effort to win the majority in the U.S. House and Senate is intense. The lucrative political and personal payoffs are immense. This being the case, the likelihood of voter fraud is great.
When such cases are detected and proven, severe punishment should be handed out, not just the usual slap on the wrist. Make punishment so severe that individuals will think twice about such actions. Some way should be found to inflict severe punishment for infractions by the winning candidates.
There are many faults with the National Collegiate Athletic Assn., but if that body can make athletic teams, players, coaches ineligible for a season or for postseason play, or take away the eligibility of a player for actions by boosters and supporters, why in the world can't something be done to impose similar penalties for those who abuse one of this country's most important freedoms: the right to vote.
Our election system is the envy of the world, but what can be done to clean up the current flagrant abuses that result in so much public distrust of the honesty and accuracy of elections in tight political races?
What ever happened to the importance of issues such as the national economy, employment numbers and national security? Now it's image, campaign promises and how much a candidate can spend to sell his or her message.
Interest in the outcome of congressional races is high, but, because of voter fraud and contested races, it may be far past Election Day before the final results are in.