I’m working on a longer set of reflections on this remarkable electionand its remarkable outcome. Sometimes as writer you can feeloutclassed by the events you have to chronicle, and that’s how I’vebeen feeling the last two days. Such a moment calls for a Henry DavidThoreau, or an Ida B. Wells. We work-a-day political reporters don’tquite seem up to the task.

But two quick thoughts. One, the work of democracy never ends. I spentelection night with much of the Obama campaign field staff ofVirginia. When the networks called Virginia for Obama at 10:50pmeveryone erupted into joy, and then ten minutes later the place wentabsolutely nuts when Obama was elected president. By 11:30 the entirestaff was on an all-staff conference call getting their assignmentsfor the next day. With two very close congressional races yet to beresolved in the state, the organizers would have to be up early thenext day to start monitoring the count. The dedication exhibited bythe hundreds of Obama organizers who’ve worked for this campaign (mybrother among them) is just awe-inspiring.

Two, there’ll be lots of explanations of why Obama won, but for mymoney the best analysis so far comes from political scientist Andrew Gelman. He’srun lots of the data, and one of the most interesting results he’sfound is that there was a more-or-less uniform partisan swing towardsthe Democrats across the country of about 3 percent. While it might be the most unsatisfying explanation of a monumentally dramatic and riveting election, I think the single best explanation of what happened was this: the Republican party ran the economy into the ground, and independents trust the Democratic party to vouchsafe their economic interests more than they trust the Republicans.

If this is true, then the path to political success is actuallydelivering economic improvement and enhanced economic security for thebroad middle class of the country.