Sirota on both parties and The Mandate Debate.
In their own ways, they are both telling us that a vote for McCain is a vote for Reaganism and a vote for Obama is a vote for Roosevelt-ism. And so it doesn't matter if Obama wins by one vote, or by a landslide. If a guy billed as a black Muslim socialist/terrorist can win an election in such an ideologically polarized environment, it is a huge rejection of conservatism - one with a mandate for arguably more progressive governance than Obama himself is even proposing.
That's why conservatives are freaking out - they realize that under such circumstances, a McCain loss isn't just a loss for one candidate in one election, but a much more far-reaching rejection of an entire ideology. That's not to say that conservatism won't make a comeback, should Obama win. But it is to say that an Obama win would deal a much deeper blow to the conservative movement than had this race ended on less ideological terms.To be sure, the fight to define this mandate will be fierce.