But likeability and popularity aren’t all that go into making a presidential victory. As I previously stated it really is more about the Electoral College as the onset of the Bush Years taught us all and by all accounts the solid money is still in the President’s court. He isn’t losing the campaign yet, but he is losing ground. Even after the second debate, with a clear attempt made to court the female vote by bringing up the policies—so proposed—that attempt to limit freedoms of women with their bodies and in the workplace by the conservative movement in the Republican Party (notably comments made by Mitt Romney earlier in the campaign and Paul Ryan’s voting history on abortion). Despite this attempt, along with an overall livelier performance by Barack Obama on Tuesday the poll numbers continue to plateau or slightly dip.
Some of this is due to the forward momentum that Mr. Romney gained from the absent performance of the President in the first debate, and some of it is due to the handling of this past September 11th’s attack on the embassy in Libya that left four Americans, including our Ambassador, dead. Suffice it to say that in the foreign policy debate on Monday that Mr. Romney would be remiss if he didn’t push hard on an explanation; and it behooves Mr. Obama to come with his house and story in order on the subject. No doubt the President will push his ending of the war in Iraq along with the pull out schedule in Afghanistan, and his crowning achievement the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in the debate…and though Americans have long memories, we have short heart strings so Libya will certainly overshadow those accomplishments for November 6th’s showdown. While I won’t deign to know exactly what each candidate has up their sleeve for Monday I will go out on a limb and assert that the future of the popular vote weighs in the balance as the debates have proven to be an incredibly heavy factor. There will be few nationally public venues for either candidate to stare the American people in the eye and sell them their vision after Monday’s debate and there won’t be any where the two men stare face to face.
While I wonder what would happen in the historic event of a 269/269 tie—what happens when the House Delegates of each state have to agree on one candidate for President while the Senate chooses the Vice President, and the high possibility of a mixed party Administration in that event—it is highly unlikely. It could also prove detrimental to the state of our already fractured national psyche…or it might prove to be unifying to see the two parties have to work together in that way. We won’t know until November 6th but the picture is going to be increasingly clearer as we move away from Monday’s debate…and while we may find rhetoric and statistics and polls disheartening or invigorating respective to our positions, nobody has a crystal ball; and in a race this close that’s a particular bauble I bet both sides wished they had.