And now comes the University of Virginia's Center for Politics:
Our final Electoral College projection has the president winning the key swing states of Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin and topping Mitt Romney, with 290 electoral votes.
This projection is quite conservative, although it's 9 points higher (because of Colorado's inclusion) than my instincts suggested just a few days ago.
Still, I have resisted making a numerical prediction for three unshakable reasons: Obama will win the Electoral College vote and that's all that matters; the GOP, no matter how enormously the president might win it, will deny that Obama has a mandate; and Democrats, no matter how narrowly the president might win it, will insist that Obama does have a mandate.
And the latter will be historically justified.
Along with all his other destruction, George W. Bush forever destroyed the traditional concept of "mandate," with his 51-percent claim of one in 2004. The word itself became a plaything, just as he treated deadly military interventions, the public treasury, and middle-class fears. It was all just a game to Mr. Bush. He--the "conservative"--could dispense with inconvenient traditions and meaningful language at will.
I doubt we ever overcome the immense damage that Bush did to this country in so many ways. One word is among the least of it, but language is the genesis of all.