Commentators have cast about for historical precedents for the 2008 race—Carter v. Ford in 1976, Hayes v. Tilden in 1876—but for the editor of Guardian America, the truth is simpler: There has never been an election like this one. As 24 states go to the polls, Michael Tomasky surveys the stakes of this unprecedented race, one not only meaningful but "joyously, raucously unpredictable."
For Tomasky, the refrain of "change" can mean a simple shift from incompetence to competence à la John McCain, or a transformation as personified by Barack Obama. Despite the campaign's micronarratives, the race offers nothing less than a referendum on liberalism. "Americans have given up on Bush. That much we know. What we don't know is whether they've given up on his ideology."