Is it possible that the election could be over before it begins? The earliest indicator is not the all-important Ohio, but rather the fickle state of Virginia.
The latest MSNBC exit polls have Obama up by 1,000 votes, but there is still a long way to go.Tonight, Virginia should serve as a microcosm for the election. Even the most conservative pundits would agree there are few paths to victory without Virginia, Florida, and (of course) Ohio. Yet the Romney campaign has had to battle in the state up to the bitter end, when they should have wrapped it up weeks ago.
Virginia has often been a state which Republicans could count to be in their column, with some effort. Yet after the last election, it has become yet another state in which Mitt Romney has had to devote time, money, and resources. While it is not exactly his fault, Romney's problem is that there are so many of these states (like North Carolina, Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado, just to name a few) which have been predominantly controlled by Republicans in presidential elections.
With a candidate as boring as Romney, in a year where he is challenging a landslide incumbent from the previous election, both the campaign and the party have not made enough advancements with voters to make up all of the GOP's lost ground from 2008.
As cliche as it may be to say, the fact that the Republicans have lost so badly in so many states will cost Romney votes from states that should have already been in his camp. For proof, just look to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Forget the state of Ohio.
For Governor Romney to now stay competitie it begins with Florida. Virginia is looking like it is leaning slightly toward the challegner, but the state is too close to call.
Pennsylvania represents the delusion of Romney's campaign. The state has long been a Democratic stronghold, and with so much ground to make up in other states it is hard to believe that he choose it to be a focus of his campaign.
What is most shocking is the margain by which President Obama held the state. Early indicaitons from MSNBC show that the President will carry at least 60 percent of the state, which given pundits predictions is a large margain.
Given that Wisconsin is going to President Obama, it feels the race may be titling toward the President.
But without numbers in five key swing states (Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado and Iowa). North Carolina seems to be out of reach for the President, but all five remaining states seem to be in play.
While winning Florida, or Ohio, or a Colorado/Iowa combination would give President Obama the election, it still is not over.
What has been shocking is the beating that Romney has taken in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Romney and Republicans alike have championed these states as electoral votes that were in play.
The results have clearly played out otherwise, and are an indicaiton that Romney would have been better served placing all of its efforts into the five remaining swing states listed above. If Romney loses, he might look at his campaign strategy and allocation of resources about what might have been.
It appears that Presidential elections in the United States will always come down to Florida. While Ohio is a state that is essential to a Mitt Romney victory, it all starts with Florida. The State's 27 electoral votes make it a neccesity for Republicans, and in a neck-and-neck election and vital cog in the democratic electoral machine.
While it appears likely the Democrat's will hold on to the White House, both parties shoud be looking to the 2016 election and how Florida will be the state that matters most.
If the Republicans hope to take back the state, it starts with the Latino vote. The Romney campaign has made little ground from McCain's weak support in the 2008 election. Given the parties roots in Catholicism, it should be well suited to try and retake the state.
For the Democrat's, it is all about continuing to place an emphasis on the strengths of demographics that Republicans have struggled with for years. Single Women, hispanic minorities, jewish voters, and senior citizens (health care). If they continue to progress and maintain their strategy, they will continue to challenge strongly in the state.
The cost of leading for Barrack Obama will now come to bear. There is little doubt that the President, even admist his own self-imposed turmoil was a better candidate. He is still the man of hope and change.
Sadly it will not be the change we hoped for 8 years ago, but at least he posesses the best chance at compromise for the future. The change will come in the form of his hubris, or the creation of a new personal and presidential modesty that must serve as a sharp contrast to his first-term arrogance.
In Mitt Romney, Americans saw a candidate who would be the equivalent of starting over. The Republicans needed a solid vibrant presidential candidae. A rallying symbol that Romney could never have hoped to achieve in a party so divided. It is impossible to put the blame on a good man, but the flip-flopper from Massachusetts was never the right answer.
The responsibility to set reasonable goals and tackle the issues that matter. Political posturing and legacies will reside in his ability to truly attempt and achieve compromise. Once again, on the brink of a disaster, America is left to wait and see, with a shred of hope hanging in the balance