Holding My Breath

The enormous stakes in the presidential election next week have the author holding hs breath in anticipation of the outcome

According to all the pundits, the forthcoming presidential election will be one of the closest in US history. The candidates are virtually tied in all the national polls. Moreover, when specialized polls are taken – whether by state, issue or voting demographic – the advantages of either candidate in certain areas are counterbalanced by those of his opponent in the remaining areas. We are led to believe that it is impossible to predict the outcome and that it may well come down to which of the parties has in place the stronger “ground game” (to get their supporters to the voting booths).

Now all of this is great political theater and certainly wonderful for TV viewership and newspaper/magazine readership. And while historically, the polls give a generally good indication of what a presidential election portends, they are far from foolproof in their predictive accuracy. They did not forecast the 1980 Reagan landslide, and they did not foretell the agonizingly close and nebulous outcome of the 2000 Bush-Gore contest. I have a feeling that the election next week will not be as close as the forecasters are predicting. There are in fact a few prognosticators who have predicted a Romney landslide; and although no Obama supporters are predicting a romp for their candidate equivalent to the stomping of McCain, there are some who believe that the President will win comfortably. The uncertainty is in part what makes it all so interesting.

But all of that overlooks the fact that this election represents a contest for the soul of America. It has become common to hear that this is the most important presidential election in a generation, perhaps in several generations. I believe it is much more than that – it is an election which will determine the ultimate fate of our nation. It is so much more than which pundit or poll has the best crystal ball. It will determine whether America restores itself to its historical role in the world or whether it continues down its seemingly inexorable slide from a constitutional republic of limited government, individual liberty and unbounded economic prosperity into just another statist, social welfare state of stagnation, serfdom and secularism.

The country has been leaning strongly to port since the dawn of the twentieth century. There have been brief interruptions (during the 20s under Coolidge, 80s under Reagan, and even more briefly in the 90s under Gingrich), but these right turns have been easily overmatched by sharp lurches to the left under Wilson, FDR, Johnson and now Obama. We have reached the tipping point, beyond which it will be impossible to restore America to its founding principles. If Obama is re-elected, the tipping point will surely be passed in the next four years and the glorious American experiment will draw to a close.

It is possible – even likely – that Romney is not the savior who will reverse this horrible slide. But he might be. Moreover, if he fails to unseat Obama, then we are domed for sure. If on the other hand, Romney can prevail, we have a chance – if not via Romney himself, then at least he buys us some time until the true savior emerges.

And so with all this at stake, I – and many others I am certain – approach next Tuesday with tremendous trepidation. I am consumed by a mixture of dread and desperate hope. I am literally holding my breath. I fear the outcome, but I am hopeful that the American people will do the right thing. I believe that enough people are cognizant of the stakes – in fact, I think that Romney’s estimate of 47% who are either clueless or co-opted by the left is too high. Well, we shall know soon. Then next Wednesday morning, I can either retain my hope that my grandchildren will continue on in the glorious American experiment; or I can start to think seriously about Australia, or maybe Israel. I am waiting to exhale.

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