There is a lot of blogosphere and on-air speculation, should you choose to look for it, about the campaigns pulling this or that red or blue state from the other side’s column into theirs, which is mildly interesting but based on an unacknowledged assumption: that the frozen political landscape of 2000 and 2004 is still with us. I dissent.
Most of the political junkies looking at the electoral college map are focusing on a new set of swing states to add to the usual list of Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and possibly pissed-off Michigan. They say Virginia is now in play for Obama and New Hampshire could swing back to the Republicans since they actually like John McCain. (He must remind them of Franklin Pierce.) Then they discuss the mountain west and speculate on where Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico might lean. A few return to the razor-thin margins in Missouri.
No doubt there are polls to buttress these and any other suppositions. But there is plenty of evidence as well that November is going to be far more seismic. In fact, every time actual people go to actual polls (rather than answering questionnaires), they give the Republican candidates a historic thumping: upstate New York, Illinois, even Mississippi.
The Democratic candidates consistently pulled out far superior numbers over the GOP during the primaries, hardly surprising when the latter choices were as boring as Romney, McCain and goofy Mike Huckabee. The Obama campaign has a huge war chest and unprecedented fund-raising capacity. They are aiming at changing the baseline numbers by pouring resources into registration of black and youthful voters, and their volunteers are going to be palpably more enthusiastic than the sorry-ass McCainoids, pre-apologizing for themselves among their peers.
Gas at $4.00, ongoing defeat in war dressed up as a tie, floods recalling the Katrina debacle, nation-as-laughingstock of the world. Yes, it looks like a perfect day for a mudslide.