Nate Silver’s latest projections if the election was held today (blue is Obama, red, Romney):
We’ve still got the debates to come, the economy could go into free fall, and Obama could make a catastrophic error, but it seems highly unlikely Romney will be able to pull back from numbers as definitive as these, particularly given the disasters Romney has managed to embroil himself in and the complete state of disarray his campaign is in.
There’s a key difference between missteps made by Obama, and missteps made by all of his opponents over the past four years: Obama owns his mistakes and uses them to his advantage. Remember the Rev. Wright debacle? Obama took the heat, gave a compelling speech about race in America and never tried to hide from the backlash. Sure it hurt him in the short term, but the overriding impression was that Obama was in command of his campaign, and it probably helped in the long term. Obama has been able to handle crisis after crisis and come out looking good, whereas his opponents have tied themselves into knots when mistakes are made or attacks go wrong. John McCain knew he had a very serious problem after it transpired Sarah Palin was woefully unprepared for the Oval Office, but was powerless to do anything about it. He never acknowledged a mistake and it made him seem out of touch and out of control. It’s pretty safe to say Obama never would have allowed himself to get into that position, and if he had, he’d have owned the problem and turned it to his advantage.
Romney is finding out that running a business and running for office are two very different things. While he believes his rise to supremacy in the corporate world entitles him to the Presidency (he told voters about his Midas touch:”My own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy”), Romney is now beginning to experience the reality that Presidential politics requires a completely different skill set. And it’s pretty clear Romney doesn’t have many of them.
Romney essentially bought his way to the Republican nomination, and he found that pretty tough despite the awful level of opposition. Now he’s in the big leagues against a candidate with experience and an array of attributes he could only dream of. So far as we can tell, the experience is not going to be a good one for Romney. He’s finding out that being white and rich isn’t enough, and sadly for him, he hasn’t got anything else going for him.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.