The past week has been one of the more chaotic closing weeks in presidential campaign history. There was no October Surprise, but the Benghazi scandal and Hurricane Sandy threw massive wild cards into the race. To many conservatives’ outrage but to no one’s surprise, the media played down Benghazi while playing up the hurricane disaster relief even though FEMA has not done a good job. Obama got to parade around in the bomber jacket and do what he does best: Pose as the leader that he is not and never will be. But an image-based society tends to respond to that false version of leadership. That’s why he was elected four years ago.
But the fundamentals still favor Mitt Romney. A majority of Americans believe that we are on the wrong track. A large number are more apprehensive about the future than excited about it. The economy is not strong and Obama has no plan to make it strong. Obama has racked up more debt than all previous presidents, and more than his predecessor racked up in eight years. Obama’s signature legislative “achievement” is ObamaCare, an unpopular and tyrannical body of law that is dragging the economy. Obama ran a campaign unworthy of the office he seeks to hold for another four years. He is a small man when America needs someone great. Mitt Romney is an honorable man and his skills in finance are exactly what the nation needs right now. Whether he turns out to be great very much remains to be seen.
Here is how I estimate the states will align tomorrow.
The bottom line is that 2008 is not 2012, and Democrats will not ride a tsunami anything like the one they rode four years ago. Republicans are energized and a majority of independents are with them. Romney has run a good and confident campaign, and he has presented himself as a more plausible president than Obama. Their respective favorability ratings are about even, and Romney seemed to pick up a little momentum once Hurricane Sandy’s effects began to wane. So where the polls are close, Romney will tend to win. The big story is likely to be Pennsylvania, which will go Republican for the first time since 1988. I have allocated New Hampshire to Romney, but am most on the fence about it. Obama could win it. Obama’s vaunted registration and GOTV efforts could make a big difference, but the Republicans’ GOTV is said to be matching that effort toe to toe.
My confidence is not as high as I would like it to be. Not only is this race hard to read, the American people may not be the people that many of us believe them to be. Over at Ace of Spades, Monty writes: “I know what I want: a nation that is sober, thoughtful, thrifty, proud, culturally strong, and confident both within and without.” That’s the nation most conservatives and libertarians want and even liberals say they want, but is it the nation we have? It’s difficult to build a convincing argument that that is who we are. Tuesday will tell us, and I must say that my own optimism on that is not high. The Obama phone users outnumber the coal miners, and if they vote, they will vote with the Obama agenda that will destroy the coal industry, unaware of the fact that that same agenda will wreck the economy that funds their Obama phones. The middle class welfare users whom Obama has wooed with happy ads branding the dole as SNAP are just getting theirs. When you have a man from the ACORN community organizing, voter fraud way of doing things in the White House, you have the makings of a gamble with the rule of law and you may have a decadent nation that votes more out of image and guilt than for who is best qualified to lead.
Obviously my map suggests that I am banking on the American people taking their responsibility and the nation’s future seriously tomorrow. Tuesday night we will know if that’s the way to bet going forward.