First, this is some explanation for why the campaigns have conducted themselves the way they have. Neither one, it seems, can run and win on its own record or its own approval. This is why for the past few weeks, 90 percent of the television ads run by both campaigns have been negative. And this doesn’t seem likely to change. It seems the message from Romney is “Fire Obama,’ and from President Obama it is, “Don’t Hire Romney.”

Second, the electorate is almost totally polarized at this point, with Republicans solidly backing Romney and Democrats solidly behind the president. And each side is unified in its dislike for the opposing party candidate, so there doesn’t look like much room to gather votes across the aisle. And so the battleground for this election will be a tiny percentage of swing voters (roughly 5 or 6 percent) who are either undecided or soft in their support; meaning this seems to be an election that is likely to stay within the margin of error all the way until November, absent a major surprise or mistake…

Two unelectable candidates running overwhelming negative campaigns against each other will result in one’s winning and one’s losing in November, but with the winner unlike to have a mandate for governing or a vision that the public was behind. And with the results in congressional races likely to produce a Congress even more split, it certainly doesn’t bode well for functional governing next year.