It's never been like this. My mind keeps dwelling on next month's election; I feel I'm possibly more nervous about tomorrow's debate than Obama is. Which is strange. For weeks I've felt prodded by an anxiety that doesn't make sense to me--as if there were something different this time, something enough to provoke a kind of foreboding. Whether they win the presidency or not, I think the coming four years will be the Republicans' last stand. If they lose this election, they are finished. If they win, they get four years in the White House, and probably two in the Congress--after which . . . they are finished. This is evident in the demographics. So the long future of the Republicans--at least in terms of their current ideological configuration--looks dismal. But regardless of this, there's something in this coming election, in the current arrangement of forces, that makes me uneasy. Perhaps it is just a matter of floating anxiety, and my being battered by a virus.