Friday, October 10, 2008

Why John McCain is Going to Lose

Colorado Springs may be the best barometer the country has for how the presidential election will swing next month. If Colorado is one of the country’s most contested swing states, the Springs, my old hometown of nearly two decades, is a true swing city.

Colorado Springs sits within El Paso County, once described as the most conservative county in the nation. Colorado Springs is home to the massive Fort Carson Army base, the Air Force Academy, and several other military installations, including NORAD. It is home to hundreds of Christian ministries, from Dobson’s Focus on the Family to Compassion International and has been nicknamed the “evangelical Vatican.”

Recently, Timothy Egan, a New York Times blogger, spent some time in Colorado Springs which he dubbed, “the heart of one of the fastest-growing, most Republican counties in the land — as red as rib-eye steak on the e-coli side of raw.”

Egan formed an informal focus group during the most recent presidential debate. His feedback was none too encouraging for John McCain.

Business owners up in arms against the GOP. Ordinary citizens are switching sides. “All the desperate demagogues of talk radio and Fox News, summoning the kooks and fringe lunatics for one last blast of scary Barack Hussein Obama talk, are melting in 2008’s bonfire of economic vanities. You want scary? How about this: two trillion dollars. That’s the amount that Americans have lost over the last 15 months in their retirement accounts.”

Even local pastors are taking the uncharacteristic approach (for Colorado Springs anyway) of saying that a good Christian can vote for either party. Even Dobson himself is less than enthusiastic about McCain, having only recently endorsed the nominee after earlier this year saying he never would.

Don’t get me wrong. Obama will not win Colorado Springs. John Kerry got just 32 percent of the vote here in 2004. But this November, Obama is projected to win at least 40 percent of the vote. For Colorado Springs, that is a seismic shift.

I recently spoke with a friend who is a longtime member of the Colorado Springs press. He expressed his amazement at the palpable feeling in the air. Despite John McCain and Sarah Palin’s recent trip to the Springs which drew perhaps the largest crowd yet for the Republican ticket, my friend said that he sees very little Republican paraphernalia across town. Usually the city is festooned with it like Christmas decorations. What he does see, however, is Obama paraphernalia every time he turns around.

If this is happening there, it is happening everywhere.


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