23 million people are out of work or underemployed. Anemic job growth is completely insufficient to even provide jobs for new entrants to the labor market, much less those already out of work. Every citizen in the United States carries a $51,579 share of the $16 trillion national debt from the moment they’re born. Poverty and government dependency are at an all-time high. Gas prices have skyrocketed to nearly five dollars a gallon. Financial turmoil threatens the integrity of the European Union and political upheaval in the Middle East only promises more death and strife.

You’ve probably heard the line before from that annoying CalPIRG or Campus Democrats representative that registered you to vote, and statistically speaking, you’re likely to hear it during every election season for the rest of your life. But for once, I may just agree with the talking heads in the media: This may just be the most important election of our lives.

Today, the election will be decided and the endless TV spots, internet ads, mailers and donation phone calls will cease. By the end of tonight (hopefully), we will know the identity of the man who is to be the next leader of the free world, and I have absolute confidence that man will be former Governor Willard “Mitt” Romney of Massachusetts.

Over the course of the general election campaign, Governor Romney has conclusively proven that he is an upstanding man of great integrity, honesty, intelligence and experience and possesses the leadership qualities and bold plans that are necessary to get our country moving again. Though the president has repeatedly attempted to paint him as a heartless capitalist who cares little for the plight of the middle class and the poor, Mr. Romney’s personal life and policy plans reflect a deep and defining belief that America can do better and that her best days are ahead of her.

In his capacity as a bishop in the Mormon Church, he was often called upon to take on the trials and tribulations of his fellow parishioners, to offer care and compassion words cannot adequately describe. He not only created his own business, Bain Capital, but as its CEO has helped hundreds of entrepreneurs realize their visions and create businesses we frequent today, like Staples. As the head of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games in 2002, he turned the games from a financial disaster into a demonstration of our capabilities as a people and a point of national pride. During his time as Governor of Massachusetts, he reversed the decline in the state’s economy and worked with an 87.5 percent Democratic legislature to cut taxes and spending. That is where Mitt Romney has been and what he has done — and that is precisely what he will do as our president.

Ever since the first debate just about a month ago, polls have consistently placed Governor Romney ahead in the nationwide popular vote and closed the gap in all battleground states. Even states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, battleground states that typically break in favor of the Democratic candidate, are now very much in play. Having now, by most indicators, locked down those battleground states in the South — Florida, North Carolina and Virginia — as well as Colorado, Mr. Romney’s prospects for election now rest almost entirely in the Upper Midwestern battleground states (Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) and New Hampshire . Going into this evening, he has at least a 50/50 chance — if not better — to win them all.

Further, though the media has chosen not to talk about it (for understandable reasons), Mr. Romney’s boost in national polling appears to have generated at least modest coattails for the Republican Party. In the House, Democratic dreams of seeing Nancy Pelosi serve a second stint as Speaker have been dashed; between Republicans holding onto seats in the West/Midwest and gaining seats in the South, Democratic net gain in the House is extremely unlikely to breach six seats. Should Mr. Romney win a decisive victory over the president, his coattails will also all but ensure Republican control of the Senate.

Our country faces a very clear choice between two paths. This columnist has great hope that voters across this great land will choose to change trajectory and elect Mitt Romney, a man who truly believes in America and will move us forward towards prosperity.

Jeffrey Robin says vote for Romney if you like jobs and Staples.

Views expressed on the Opinion page do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Nexus or UCSB. Opinions are submitted primarily by students.