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There may be little John McCain can do at this point. And maybe it’s been that way all along.

Historians may look back at this election and decide that the outcome was never really in doubt. The political fundamentals were so clear and so unchanging long before the real contest began, throughout nearly the entire second-half of the Bush presidency.

The war, the economy and the GOP mismanagement of their congressional powers and an incredibly unpopular president may have made it almost inevitable: The Republicans were going to lose. The particulars of the current election—economic chaos, an efficient, mistake-free, flush Democratic campaign and a Republican one opposite in every way—have done nothing to change those fundamentals.

Of course, history is for tomorrow.

Today, no matter what the polls look like, those who genuinely believe that the race is over make up a minority of Americans, and those willing to say that it’s over are a tiny minority of that minority. In part, those unwilling to call the race now are just being careful with their history. To believe the most likely outcome is to be comfortable with the idea that a Democrat, who happens to be a black man, is going to prevail, inevitably, over a genuine American war hero, who is white and who comes from a kind of American royalty, with a father and grandfather who were both 4-star admirals in the U.S. Navy.

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