Most people remember the election in 2000 when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than half a million votes, but lost to George W. Bush in the Electoral College. Some people will remember the election of 1960, when John Kennedy won Illinois by fewer than 9,000 votes, securing the election that year for him over rival Richard Nixon.
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have done well in the last week of their campaigns. While the incumbent team works what seems to be a successful early voter campaign, they geared up for a get-out-the-vote campaign which should bring many fans of the president to the polls today. Meanwhile, Romney positioned himself to the center, portraying himself as a moderate in the final days of the campaign. One of the calls for fiscal restraint from the former Massachusetts governor declares his belief for capping federal spending at 20% of the gross national product (GNP). A graphic shows that percentage in relation to modern Democratic administrations — higher spending than under every Democrat listed except Obama. When a Republican is claiming to be the fiscally responsible one for spending more than Jimmy Carter, you know they are going for the middle ground.
Now, there is an old saying in politics that you run to your party in the primary in order to become nominated and you position yourself toward the center for the general election. But, this may be too little, too late for the Romney campaign. However, Romney has done a good job continuing to ride the wave of popularity he began to build after the first debate, without committing any of the blunders that plagued his campaign early on.
Quite often, races are decided not by who has the most popularity all the way through the race, but who has the momentum in the final days. It seems to me that Romney has been building his energy slowly and spending the last of the available time changing the minds of the undecided and moderates. Meanwhile, Obama seems to have fallen back to doing what he did in Chicago, only on a grander scale — organizing people.
President Obama is my winner for this week, and Mitt Romney the loser because it seems Obama is already bringing people to the polls while Team Romney is still getting people to agree to stand in line.
Governor Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party is making his final appeal for his supporters to give him five percent of the popular vote. That threshold would open up tens of millions of dollars in federal funding for the party for 2016. Many polls show his goal may be within reach.
But, today’s vote could prove me wrong. Go out and vote if you have not done so yet!