I have had more and more people walk up to me and declare that Obama is going to win the election. But being a Cubs fan, a Minnesota Vikings fan and a Democrat, I know that nothing is for sure. There is no such thing as a sure winner, no matter what the polls or pundits say, it isn't over till America votes. Everyone who lived through the last two elections should know that all too well.
To help put this in perspective, let me give you a perfectly plausible way that Obama could lose this November. I don't think this is going to happen, but it is certainly possible.
Take a look at the electoral college map as it stands today based on state polling. (Maps obtained from CNN) This shows Obama with nearly enough states to clinch the nomination if all of the currently strong states and leaning states come in for him. Even so, he is still six electors short. That means he has to get one of the toss up states as well. Any one of them will do. (Except Nevada - it only has five electoral votes)
McCain, as of right now, has to win all of his strong states, all the states leaning his way, and all the toss up states. That would give him 274 with 270 needed to win.
This isn't as far fetched as you might think. The only difference between this map and what happened in 2004 is New Mexico and Iowa are Obama states while both of those narrowly went to Bush last election.
Now, lets take a look at those toss up states. Since 1992, only five of the seven have gone to a Democratic candidate at least once and none of them have gone Democratic in the last eight years. Ohio, Missouri and Nevada in both 1992 and 1996. Florida and Colorado only in 1996 and in 1992 respectively.
Every single one of these toss-up states, in recent history, has voted Republican. So while McCain has to win all of the toss-up states, the history of those states is at least marginally on his side.
This is not a done deal. Obama still has to win a traditionally red state to win. And I'll say it again, if you lived through 2000 and 2004, you know just how hard that can be.
Whether it is Kathrine Harris and hanging chads, 8-hour waits to vote in traditionally Democratic precincts or questions about voter fraud and electronic voting machines, the Republicans will not go down without a dirty, sand in the eyes, foot to the groin fight.
Democrats cannot get complacent. We must continue to press forward. We have to do everything we can to make sure that each and every one of us votes and that those votes are counted. If we don't, we could find ourselves reliving history yet again.