Liberals Try Not to Think About the Worst-Case Scenario

Festival founder Meir Fenigstein. Photo: Getty Images

If the polls are correct, Barack Obama will be elected president of the United States tomorrow. RealClearPolitics shows him maintaining a seven-point lead nationally, Pollster has Obama up by 7.1 percent, and FiveThirtyEight predicts an electoral college victory of about 340 to 198. But many liberals, still stinging from two close losses in 2000 and 2004, find little comfort in these numbers. With so much on the line, many of them are harboring anxiety that the whole thing could slip away.

• William Kristol is "worried" about his "compatriots on the left," so he offers five reasons why they should be happy about a McCain victory. He still expects Obama to win, but doesn't deny the possibility of McCain drawing "an inside straight" and pulling off an upset. [NYT]

• Noam Scheiber explains why you shouldn't be worried about a slight tightening in the polls, especially in Pennsylvania and Virginia. His conclusion is that, short of "some unexpected external event" or widespread lying to pollsters, "Obama is extremely likely to be our next president." [Stump/New Republic]

• Ezra Klein is "finding it vaguely odd to watch liberals grow agitated over mild tightening in the final days of polling." Nobody reading FiveThirtyEight, for example, should be surprised, as tightening is "a common feature of elections." [American Prospect]

• Jonathan Capehart notes that while Democrats are "really nervous," for African-Americans, himself included, "the anxiety runs so deep as to be almost innate." This "black angst" just won't allow him "to think for one minute that 'they' (the infamous, faceless 'they') will let Obama, Michelle and the girls move easily into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue come January." [Post Partisan/WP]

• John Dickerson says an Obama loss would mean so many people were wrong that it "lends a feeling of unreality to the proceedings as we begin to measure the time until Election Day in hours." [Slate]

• Nate Silver examines what a McCain victory map would actually look like. The "scenario that Democrats are terrified about," winning Colorado and Virginia but losing Pennsylvania, is actually less likely than Obama winning only the Kerry/Gore states. [FiveThirtyEight]

• Alex Koppelman looks at how Obama could win even if he ends up losing Pennsylvania, where, he admits, "even a last-minute surge of undecided voters breaking overwhelmingly for the Republican wouldn't be enough to turn the blue state red." [War Room/Salon]

• Michael Tomasky tells "liberal paranoiacs" to face the fact that "the swift-boating of Barack Obama clearly is not working." If "Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright and Rashid Khalidi … didn't blow up this campaign," neither will Obama's illegal-immigrant aunt. The reality may be that the days of "charges that Democrats weren't good Americans" being effective are over. [Guardian UK]

• Marc Ambinder's list of known unknowns is long and contains nuggets potentially frightening for liberals, like racism, a "Media backlash effect," the Bradley effect, the Wilder effect, and Democratic overconfidence. [Atlantic]

• James Fallows thinks that at least McCain has accepted the fact that he's going to lose, as revealed by his SNL appearance this weekend. [Atlantic]

: Is McCain Trying to Make Rashid Khalidi Into an October Surprise?

For a complete and regularly updated guide to presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain — from First Love to Most Embarrassing Gaffe — read the 2008 Electopedia.