Two significant factors could sway the Nov. 6 outcome:
• The notorious "Citizens United" ruling by conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court lets corporations and billionaires pour unlimited money into campaign "smear ads" -- most of them designed to taint Democrats. Brace yourself for endless TV garbage.
• Republican legislators in numerous states passed photo ID laws designed to hinder voting by low-income people, blacks, Hispanics and others less likely to have driver licenses -- groups that tend to vote Democratic. Republicans also cut back early voting in poor neighborhoods where Democratic majorities reside. The Kansas City Star commented:
"The scramble among GOP officeholders to curtail voting rights under the guise of cracking down on the almost nonexistent problem of people voting under a false identity is a shameful display of partisan thuggery."
In Pennsylvania, a Republican legislator boasted that requiring voters to show photo IDs "is gonna allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania." He spilled the beans.
Fortunately, federal courts are striking down these GOP attempts to obstruct the basic right of democracy. Blocking low-income folks from voting is a shabby way to win.
Slightly over seven weeks remain until showdown day. Many are sick of politics and won't bother to vote. But people who care about their nation have a duty to wade through the baloney and cast ballots. Clench your teeth and tough it out.
We hope America chooses the Democratic Party, which serves average families and the middle class -- not the extreme new version of the GOP, which favors billionaires, fundamentalists and military hawks.Seven weeks to go. Hang in there, everyone.