David Gergen, Always Intelligent

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.

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  • What I have found to be interesting is that Romney and Ryan haven’t gone after the economy the way they could have. For some strange reason they have tended to beat up on the auto bailout instead of the more obvious economic issues.

    They have also pounded on social issues which become sort of a non-starter when people are out of work.

  • Brian S

    It may be wishful thinking on the Democrats’ part that they might have energized women to vote. Obama’s approval rating among women has dropped nine percentage points among women since April. Women seemed to have greater concerns (like jobs) than having government force insurers and employers pay for their contraception.

  • Larry

    This is pertinent to the Jesus Creed… how?

  • Larry, why wouldn’t it be pertinent?

  • Jamieson
  • Steve Sherwood

    I think those same Democrats are also sitting around glad they’re not having to figure out Romney’s path to victory. It does look like it will be pretty tight all the way, but I think Obama seems to have an edge in key respects.