On November 7, we’ll know for sure whether Chicago or Boston ran the better campaign. For now, I’ll call it as I see it: though I’m no fan, it was Mitt Romney’s operation in Boston.
Romney’s campaign knew its issue—the U.S. economy. The campaign framed the election as a referendum on Obama. This was a good idea—a solid way to activate Republican support, especially that of voters with lukewarm enthusiasm for Romney, was to define the election by the last four years. However, the Romney campaign is weak on the details of its alternative plans. Without these details, Romney will win Republican votes but may miss a chance to steal votes leaning towards Obama—the votes stolen in 2010.
The Obama campaign pursued an unnecessarily risky strategy. Their running of ad-hominem attacks against Romney’s socioeconomic status could have led to his early dismissal by the electorate. Romney stuck around, however, with his narrative of Democratic incompetence. And thanks to the debates, he looks more and more like a viable alternative.