On the weekend before the election, it feels it is going President Obama’s way. My own sense of how it ends, made earlier this week, is only an educated guess. The inside-the-Beltway crowd insists the election is a close contest. The savants in the newspapers and on television assert that the election is a near standoff between an aroused Tea party financed by this century’s version of robber barons and the presumably more sophisticated Obama ground game. That is a simple narrative that might prove imprecise. After all, the Tea party derived its sweep in the 2010 midterm elections from a smaller and therefore different electorate.
In 2010, about 91 million people voted – 38 million less than the 129 million who voted in 2008 when Obama won by almost 10 million votes. It seems it would take less effort among Obama supporters to generate as many Tea party voters. So the worry about lagging enthusiasm among Obama’s supporters that the pundits fuss over probably is not as appropriate as they surmise. Obama would have to lose close to 100 percent of his winning 2008 margin and suffer other desertions from his ranks to lose the election – ranks that have grown naturally, too. It could happen, of course.