Obama is up in the national polls an average of 6 percent or so. The number of people who represent themselves as undecided is about 5 percent. I think even the stupidest of us can do the math.
"Oh," you might say, "McCain and Palin may be able to get people to change their minds." Maybe.
McCain may be able to shift the polls back in his direction a bit. As the standard-bearer for the Republican Party, it's his duty to try to do so--for him to completely give up now would be a disaster for the down-ticket Republicans. Races that seemed uncompetitive just a month a go--Liddy Dole and Mitch McConnell for example--are suddenly toss-ups. Even such Republican strongholds as Texas and Mississippi are tightening up. Those GOP incumbents desperately need their base to turn out. But McCain has shown himself to be contemptuous and detached from the rank-and-file of the Republican Party, and he is a lackluster campaigner at best. As it continues to sink in that he has no chance to win, he may completely fold up his tent. Suddenly, the idea of a filibuster-proof Senate seems less like a pipe dream.
Several pundits (including some of Slate's writers) have predicted the death of the Republican Party. When these articles first started appearing last spring, I dismissed them. I thought what we were seeing was the normal ebb-and-flow of political fortunes. But the performance of the McCain campaign has been abysmal. Perhaps the Republican machine has been hampered to a large degree by the erratic behavior of their nominee, but surely McCain is more intelligent, more competent, more presidential than the former governor of Texas? Is there nobody left in the campaign who would explain why it's important to vet your vice-presidential pick? Nobody who might object to shutting down your convention? Nobody who might suggest that antagonizing a press corps that is inherently partial toward you is a bad idea? These are the heirs of Karl Rove and Lee Atwater?
McCain's defeat, especially if accompanied by a thrashing in the Senate and House races, will leave the Republican Party is a state of disarray unimaginable only a few years ago. Who do they have left who will lead them? Mike Huckabee? Fred Thompson? Sarah Palin?