From David Gergen:
By late Thursday night, over nightcaps, the realization was setting in among Democrats that their hopes for breaking open the election had probably fallen short. When they woke up Friday morning and heard the new jobs report, they knew for sure.
Not only were the numbers a sharp disappointment, but they also showed how tough life has become for so many Americans. In the past month, for every person who found a job, almost four people gave up hope and left the work force. The percentage of people in the work force today is the lowest in more than three decades — and that is three years after the recovery supposedly began.
What all of this boils down to is this: The Democrats have just completed a very good convention. They may not have brought over many undecideds, but they probably raised the enthusiasm level among key constituencies, especially women. Moreover, Obama still remains a favorite in this election. The auto bailout, for example, could deliver Ohio to his column and no Republican has won without the Buckeye State.
Still, Thursday night and Friday morning brought some harsh realities to Charlotte. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a serious chance to win this. Underlying economic conditions are working in their favor and with the new jobs report, it is easier to make the election a referendum on the past few years. And they have tons of cash to pour into the fall.
Both sides are thus settling in for a long, tough fight — and waiting to see each other at the October debates.