Today's election is poised to end the Republican era in American politics - an era that began in reaction to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, the Vietnam war and the civil rights revolution, was pioneered by Richard Nixon, consolidated by Ronald Reagan, and wrecked by George W Bush.
Now, certain factors that have dominated US politics for 40 years seem destined to recede to the far corners. In economics, supply-side panaceas and deregulation created the worst crisis since the Great Depression, requiring a conservative Republican administration to part-nationalise banks, something unimaginable under any Democratic administration. In foreign policy, neoconservatism led to the morass in Iraq and Afghanistan while undermining the western alliance. In social policy, the evangelical right battered science, the separation of church and state, and the right to privacy. Finally, the conservative principle of limited government has become a watchword for incompetence, cronyism, corruption, hypocrisy, and contempt for the rule of law.
Obama may still be a largely unknown quantity, but the judgment will be made about the known (my em). The election will determine more than the identity of the president. It will decide whether one era is to end and another will begin.
This election is definitely more a referendum against Bush and Repug rule than it is for Obama.
That said, we're fortunate that Obama is what he is - intelligent, educated, calm of demeanor, intellectually curious, cautious, thoughtful, and not chained to a post by ideology. He is the man we need for the times we've been dragged into.
Desperately needed change is in the air today. Let's hope it's in the ballot box as well.
Even if it is, even if Obama wins 538-0, we as good Democrats will still worry that those Repug bastards will still be able to steal it somehow.