That struck me as a startling, almost comical, truth. For all the garbage talk and megamoney on the right -- not to mention the screams of "Stop Obama!" -- the Republican candidate has never succeeded in behind ahead during the entire campaign.
Samuel Popkin is a political scientist and someone who has studied elections. James Fallows, at The Atlantic, has been reading Popkin's book on Harry Truman's unexpected, "come-from-behind" victory. Fallows writes:
The natural question is, How do the come-from-behind prospects look for Mitt Romney?
Every mistake a candidate can make, Romney seems to have made, and the frequency of mis-steps and "off-message" distractions seems to be going up. He's never been ahead of Obama, and members of his own party seem variously to be despairing, calling for radical changes in course, or assuming failure and positioning themselves for 2016. Meanwhile Democrats are afraid of jinxing things by pointing out Romney's continued struggles as the clock ticks down -- and also genuinely worried about vote-suppression efforts. ...James Fallows, The Atlantic
Popkin, in a letter to Fallows, analyzes current position Romney finds himself in.
Voters may accept Mitt Romney's competence, but knowing he is good at using power doesn't mean people will trust him with it. What in Romney's record or the current performance of the Republican Party will persuade swing voters that Romney should have their proxy in the coming fights over whom and what to tax and who should receive benefits?
When he selected Paul Ryan as his running mate, I expected Romney to make some moderating statements regarding the Ryan budget plan. It looks like he put Paul Ryan and his budget on the ticket with no advance planning for how they would fill in the blanks and reassure voters. I have yet to hear anything resembling "we're all in this together" or "united we stand." Instead, his articulation has differed little from the leaked fund-raiser video, and sounds more like "we are the goose that lays your golden eggs." ...Samuel Popkin
And the thing is, it's not just Romney and Ryan. The Republican party itself seems flaky, insubstantial, mean, and unresponsive. Some Republican candidates have already moved away from their party and from Romney.
Even if Romney does win, a civil war among Republicans seems inevitable. ...
... Barring economic collapse, Romney's only shot is to get people to reassess him.
Prompting reassessment at this late date means finding new information that surprises people and makes them wonder if the case against Romney is badly flawed. This requires more than a kinder, gentler Romney or a stronger, tougher Romney that out debates the president. Either people rethink what policies and people he stands for or the election depends solely on who is motivated - and allowed - to vote. ...Samuel Popkin
That chilling "allowed to vote" is likely the key issue of the November 6, 2012 election. And that would mean we can look forward to a split -- not just in the Republican party but in America.