If Bush wins NJ, he wins the election. I don’t see how it could be any other way. Forcing Kerry to shore up his defenses in a this purplish-blue state may weaken him in Ohio or Iowa or Wisconsin. Then there’s also the popular vote to consider. It’s entirely possible that Bush once again will win the electoral college but not the popular vote. Let’s dispense with the debate over what the popular vote technically means (not much: if it mattered, both the Bush and Kerry campaigns would be spending lots of time in California and creating a different result) and point out that the White House would love to avoid this fate. Extra GOP turnout in NJ may not turn the state red, but perhaps in addition to distracting Kerry it will boost those popular-vote numbers and whatever legitimacy they lend.