The US presidential election has been a remarkable event. In many ways, whoever wins between Barack Obama and John McCain is of less importance than the triumph of the political process. Whatever its failings and flaws, the US system has been undoubtedly strengthened by the campaign process.
With two weeks to go and with all the debates over, the two candidates and their vice-presidential colleagues now have the fearsome routine of a near twenty-four hour routine of speeches and visits across a number of marginal or "swing" states. Barack Obama holds a small but significant lead (probably in the range 3-7%) but, more significantly, Obama leads in a number of key states which, if won by the Democrats, will guarantee a majority in the Electoral College which ultimately decides the election.
My view has long been that IF the Democrats win Florida they can afford not to win Ohio. It also looks as though the Democrats will win Iowa, Colorado and New Mexico which will put Obama over 300 Electoral College votes. It does McCain no good piling up huge majorities in states like Kentucky, Arkansas and Wyoming if he fails to win the larger states.
Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama is helpful but probably not too significant. The race may tighten but increased voter registration in a number of states makes me think Obama will poll better in places like North Carolina and even Georgia than some polls indicate.
A victory for Obama along with increased Democrat majorities in both the Senate and House of Representatives will put the Democrats in a position of power they have not enjoyed since 1992.
The American conservative media and blogsphere are engaged ina desperate rearguard action not so much to bolster McCain but to discredit Obama. This is being led by Fox News and such odious conservatives as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Michelle Malkin who all presumably see their power and access to those in power being destroyed by the election of Obama.
McCain could still win but it looks unlikely. I think an Obama Presidency will vastly improve Euro-American relations but that's not to understate the huge challenges facing world leaders in the 2010s. Obama will have to deal with an uncertain Russia and the growing power of China. I do think an Obama Administration will bring Africa back up the world agenda which can be no bad thing.
However, there's still the small matter of an election to win...