11/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Charlie Cook: Six Reasons This Election Is Over

One of the most unsettling aspects of this campaign is that for an election cycle so turbulent, with so many surprising twists and turns, over the last few days it suddenly has had the feel of concrete setting. Just seven or eight weeks ago, Sen. Barack Obama had a lead over Sen. John McCain, but it hardly seemed sure; we wondered, is this lead real, is it durable?

But today it seems very unlikely that the focal point of this election is going to shift away from the economy. And as long as the economy is the focal point, it's difficult to see how this gets any better for Republicans up or down the ballot. It's sobering to think of the magnitude an event would have to have to pull voters' minds off the economy, the credit markets that have seized up, the stock market that has been pummeled, the values of their 401(k) and other retirement plans that have plummeted. How can an election that was so volatile now suddenly seem to be so inevitable?

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