Team Blog

End of days on the campaign trail

President Obama is all smiles for good reason: the polls suggest he has the election in his keeping. EPA/CJ Gunther

I do not want to drive down readership, and the polls could always be wrong, but you can put a fork in the presidential race: it’s done.

Romney surrogates are already publicly making excuses for losing (Hurricane Sandy, the difficulty of unseating an incumbent) of the kind that a competitive campaign would never allow itself to do. Telling supporters that you are going to lose depresses turnout, as Democrats discovered when President Carter gave an early evening concession speech in 1980 that was blamed for costing the party additional House seats in the Pacific time zone.

Meanwhile, Democrats are touting a YouTube video from 2007 that shows Romney arguing during a recording break with a conservative Iowa talk show host about tenets of his Mormon faith. To view a heated discussion about whether Jesus will first return to Jerusalem or Joplin, Missouri, watch it for yourself.

Raising the issue of Romney’s religion always presented a risk for Democrats, and they have refrained from doing so despite a long-standing antipathy between the Catholic Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints (LDS). Many evangelicals also distrust Mormons, believing them not to be true Christians. I have long believed it was only a matter of time, or desperation, before Democrats used Mormonism to try to depress the enthusiasm of the evangelical Christians who have been the volunteer army for Republicans for the last 30 years.

Playing the LDS card now means that the progressive camp feels that it has nothing to lose, and that it is too late for a last minute blowback of bad publicity. Given that the polls show Obama pulling ahead nationally and in every battleground state but North Carolina, the map looks more or less set even if we won’t know the final results in some close states for days. The only real suspense now in the presidential race is who will win Florida and how many days it will take until the close votes in key states are provisionally certified.

That’s why I will be back tomorrow, while you are still paying attention to the US elections, with your first look at the high drama that will unfold in the run-up to 2016 – which of course begins this coming Wednesday.