The fundamentals of the election are essentially the same now as they were before the Denver debate. 1) The economy has been dreadful for four years; the last jobs report is far too little, far too late. 2) Foreign policy, which Obama seemed to have taken off the table, by pulling out of Iraq and killing bin Laden, is back, and still bad. 3) Obama loses on life.
I should add to 3) the religious-liberty issue, raised by the HHS mandate. I have long doubted the power and even the existence of the Catholic vote, since America’s largest and most diverse church seems to reflect the electorate as a whole. I never imagined an assault on the Catholic Church itself: stupidity, rising to a kind of art.
What a presidential debate sometimes does is unmask latent forces, give thoughts a voice. When Carter and Reagan debated in 1980, everybody was unhappy with Carter: The economy stank, the world was a mess, and Carter seemed both hectoring and ineffectual. But you can’t beat something with nothing. The debate showcased Reagan as something — not crazy, not threatening. So sentiment shifted to him.
The same thing may have happened in Denver. The fundamentals have not changed (except for foreign policy which, as we learn more about what went down in Benghazi, grows worse and worse for Obama). But now Romney is an alternative.
There will be many twists and turns yet. Besides Biden vs. Ryan, we have two more title bouts; the usual media will want to write about the resurrection of their Jesus; there will be October surprises, from campaigns and from the world.
Chins up, and don’t forget to vote (but not more than once).