Stacey McCain rightly points out that presidential elections are like urban warfare – in urban warfare, the war is over a large area but the fight is house to house, in presidential elections the war is for the nation but the fight is state to state:
Presidential elections are fought on a state-by-state basis, and the ultimate key is not what any national poll shows, but rather how the battle shapes up in the dozen or so “swing states” where both campaigns are concentrating their efforts.
He also mentions something that we have talked about here – a preference cascade – but I want to also add that it appears what we are seeing in the sea change in the post-debate polling includes the Abilene Paradox:
This paradox is a form of “group think” that results in the worst possible option being chosen and no member of the group getting anything that they want. The key to keeping this shell game going it to keep the group isolated enough from each other that they never recognize that they all feel the same way, that they never realize just how much they have in common, that they are more alike than different. Sound familiar?
If the group ever realizes that they share the same issues, it starts a “preference cascade” – a choice matrix by which people start to bond together over common purposes and goals against the forces that are keeping them from achieving these goals. I think that this “cascade” is beginning as each of us looks at our neighbor and sees that none of us want the current direction.
But you can reach the states via national coverage and speaking directly to the nation at large.
From behind a bulwark of slanted coverage and with the compliant media’s help, Obama and his campaign have had the unfettered opportunity to define Romney and keep him isolated inside a bubble, away from a clear view for most Americans. The Romney that they have seen is the Romney that Obama wanted us to see, not the actual man. The relentless manufacture of “gaffes”, the constant meme of the Romney campaign being in conflict, that no Republicans are really excited about his candidacy and Obama just being too awesome to lose have gone mostly unchallenged and un-refuted until now.
Romney popped that zit on Wednesday night.
Obama’s worst fear was realized: Romney speaking directly to the American people, unfiltered, un-spun and as they used to say in the days of black and white TV, “live and in color”.
I think Americans saw a sobering choice. Many saw Obama without the gauzy, soft focus camera and for the first time as the arrogant community organizer, used to feeding from the government trough, one who chooses to lead from behind, blames others for his mistakes, as someone who didn’t respect the electorate enough to even properly prepare for the debates and made it apparent that he really didn’t think he should have to be there.
The messianic imagery that had been carefully constructed over the past five years and defended by the media at the cost of their integrity was shattered in an hour and a half.
In Romney, they saw the confident leader, someone who respected the people enough to rigorously prepare for the debate, a businessman comfortable with managing risk, someone who was used to being objectively measured and taking responsibility for the outcomes, a man who has built a career and life by saying – “put it on my shoulders, I take responsibility” and someone who understood the importance of the moment and was ready.
The political punditry on the left is searching for a way back for Obama.
There isn’t one.
Coaches will tell you that a football game between fierce rivals will often come down to one seminal play – one event that shifts the outcome. We have all seen sporting events where one play, sometimes by one player, shifted the momentum so drastically that the other team was powerless to come back.
That is what happened on the night of October 3rd and will happen three more times, one when Ryan rips Biden’s hair plugs out and two more times when Romney is in direct contrast to Obama in front of a national audience.
Obama knows it there is no way back. It was fourth and goal and he fumbled.
It is exemplified by his post-debate behavior.
I grew up on a farm. We raised chickens of all types. When you raise chickens, there multiple roosters in every brood and as they grow, the roosters compete for dominance. There was one particular brood that contained a little Bantam rooster that used to pick fights with the much bigger Rhode Island Reds – he would get his little chicken ass whipped every time but afterwards, he would run to the outer edge of the flock and crow as often and as loud as he could. Several of the hens would pay attention to him for a short while and even one or two would split off with him in sympathy – but the entire flock knew which rooster was the real alpha and the majority followed him.
Obama ran immediately to the edge of his flock and started crowing – but due to the debate, America knows who the real alpha is. His little hens are now all out clucking about how he was still awesome and in charge, making every idiotic excuse under the sun for his defeat.
His defeat was so overwhelming and decisive that there is no way back. The momentum has shifted. The polls are moving and will continue to move to favor Romney. The brick wall the media built around him is starting to crack, even the liberal New Yorker “Eastwooded” him. From this point on, he will only be crowing to his dwindling flock of a few hens. 30 days from the election, the majority of the flock now knows who the alpha is.