Elections answer more questions than just who gets to slap their name on all sorts of government projects and ride in the plane.
For instance, just from today’s iteration of the blessedly winnowing news cycle between now and polls closing, will Mitt Romney’s 11th-hour announcement that he’ll hit the Cleveland and Pittsburgh markets pay off? How many votes is New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen worth in Wisconsin? And will reports of Republican state officials playing fast and loose with polling places cause enough outrage that folks who otherwise wouldn’t vote might actually do so?
More broadly, one of the two parties is set to spiral off into the presidential wilderness. A Romney loss would, according to party insiders, wrench the GOP apart as it attempts to reconcile its more conservative and pragmatic wings. If President Obama proves to be more Jimmy Carter than Bill Clinton, Democrats will reel as the transcendent figure to whom many pinned their hopes in 2008 folds his tent as one who tried but couldn’t go all the way.
And, no matter who wins, a lot of pollsters are going to be spending a lot of time explaining flawed analyses. Much of the country is about to learn why they have been suffering from confirmation bias.
Particularly in a campaign whose result the day before the election defies confident forecasting, the anxiety for answers runs high. In short, the campaign chatter is about to move from predictive analysis to post-mortem very quickly.
-- Jim O’Sullivan
NATIONAL JOURNAL’S PRESIDENTIAL RACE REPORT
Campaigns Brace for Battle After Tuesday
[Washington Post, 11/5/12] Even as the candidates dart around the country in the closing hours, both campaigns are preparing for what could prove a complicated battle after Election Day.
Romney to Campaign in Pa., Ohio, on Election Day
[Boston Globe, 11/5/12] Romney's added stops in Pittsburgh and Cleveland on Tuesday before his election night rally in Boston. Obama's final campaign stop will come in Des Moines Monday night, and he will hold his election night rally in Chicago.
The Looming GOP Civil War
[Politico, 11/5/12] Whether or not Romney wins, the Republican Party is due for a reckoning, Jonathan Martin writes. Meanwhile, Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman have gamed out both scenarios: if Romney loses, and if Obama loses.
All Eyes on Ohio on Election Eve
[Los Angeles Times, 11/5/12] Once again, the focus turns to the Buckeye State, which could prove determinative on Tuesday.
Both Campaigns Rely on Ground Game
[Columbus Dispatch, 11/5/12] Millions of Ohioans have reached a breaking point, the Dispatch reports. But that doesn't mean the campaigns aren't still going full tilt.
Watchdog: 'Beginning to Look Like a Messy Election'
[Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/5/12] In Philadelphia, reports of election-tampering are already starting to pour in, with voters being told falsely that party-line ballots would be invalidated and that their polling places have moved. The city will have a team of lawyers and detectives on call Tuesday to try to ensure a clean election.
Obama, Ryan Stump in Wis. On Eve of Election
[AP, 11/5/12] President Obama campaigned with Bruce Springsteen in Madison today, drawing a crowd of 18,000. Retiring Sen. Herb Kohl and Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is running to replace him, also spoke at the rally.
Romney a Challenger at the Crossroads
[New York Times, 11/5/12] The Times finds Romney a candidate achingly within reach of the ultimate goal.
Romney Aims for Turnout, Converts in Four Tough States
[National Journal, 11/5/12] Romney is working his way up from Florida to New Hampshire, with stops in Virginia and Ohio, Monday. The Republican challenger, who will campaign in Cleveland and Pittsburgh on Election Day, said that Obama would be unable to effectively work with Congress.
The 3 Myths of the Romney Campaign
[The Atlantic, 11/5/12] Political scientist Samuel Popkin, assuming that Obama will win tomorrow night and avoid a drawn-out recount, delivers a pre-mortem on the campaign in an interview with James Fallows. He debunks three myths of the campaign: that Hurricane Sandy sunk Romney's chances, that the first debate was a game-changer, and that Obama won because Romney's bad at being a candidate.
Team Obama Preening, Romney Camp Eye-Rolling, Frayed Nerves For Both
[National Journal, 11/4/12] Major Garrett goes through task of measuring the Obama-Romney partisan universe, looking into how each campaign views the endgame in the final days.
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