In an indication of just how desperate the situation is becoming for Senator McCain's campaign, both candidates are spending this final week of October campaigning in traditionally red states. McCain has all but conceded every swing state but Pennsylvania, and Obama is counting them all as likely wins. So the battle for states moves into red territory, with McCain trying desperately to hold the line.
That this campaign should end with a focus on the Republicans is somehow fitting. From the very beginning of this race -- two years ago now -- it was assumed that the Democrats were united in their rejection of Bush and his party, that independents would likely vote blue as well, and that Republican voters were the lone unknown. After all, last year GOP afflilation was at its lowest point in fifteen years, and Bush's disapproval rating from within his own party reached unprecedented levels. So pundits and candidates alike wondered, "What will the Republicans do?" Would GOP voters reject their own candidate to signal their disapproval of the last eight years and the priorities of their own party? Or would they rally around their nominee?
And the GOP voters have decided to send a message, it seems. Ten percent are polling for Obama -- that's a marked increase in the last several weeks. Ten percent say the selection of Sarah Palin as a runningmate has made them less likely to support McCain. And these are just the ones planning to vote -- apathy and dissatisfaction among Republicans is so high that GOP turnout is expected to be low, with many Republicans voters choosing to allow their abstentions to make a statement.
It seems that many Republican voters like those of us here at Republicans for Obama have decided to say, "Hey, enough is enough." We want the party to realize that it can't continue to throw whatever candidate it wants out there and expect us to follow like lemmings. It can't continue to sell-out to the religious right and the neocons and expect us to offer our unconditional, unquestioning support. It can't continue to stand on a platform of war and socially divisive politics and expect to be any kind of positive force in this country. It cannot resort to deficit spending indefinitely. And it seems our message is getting across: Newt Gingrich admitted yesterday that this "is not where we should be. This is not bad luck." He's conceding the state of the party and the state of this election are not the work of the fates -- no, our party did this to itself.
And that's where, in spite of likely defeat, we win: we're turning heads. And this has been our goal her at RFO all along. Yes, we realize we're forfeiting a presidential administration. And yes, we're helping to elect a Democrat (who, incidentally, we believe is better suited for the office). Yet although our own party's candidate may lose, this is not a loss for our party. If we have convinced our party to step back and rethink its priorities, to realize that it cannot take our votes for granted, to realize the need to reorganize and redirect, then this is a long-term win for all Republicans.