Not my phrase — it’s the phrase of Time Magazine political reporter and Republican fanboy Mark Halperin, and it describes the pall hanging over the Republican campaign. The Obama convention bounce continues, with the President now getting a six-point margin in the latest CNN poll — the first non-tracker since Charlotte.

There are, unfortunately, two problems with this:

1) Halperin is a moron, so we should be quite cautious of anything he says. (You might remember his unforgettable claim that McCain’s not knowing how many houses he had was “great news for John McCain” or his pathetic pleading with Hugh Hewitt not to call him a liberal). He’s not as bad as Dick Morris, but that’s a low bar, and besides — Morris makes predictions in order to fluff his business, nut for accuracy.

2) More importantly, Halperin makes a pretty decent point: if it looks like Romney is going down, then Republicans and their Super PACs will shift to Senate and House races. Karl Rove’s American Crossroads has been playing the Senate for a while, and can probably expect a new cash infusion. This is precisely what happened in 1996: a prominent and very smart California Republican leader told me that his party “called an audible” in late September, shifted their money away from bob Dole, and saved the Gingrich majority. We know what followed. And remember: $10 million from a SuperPAC really doesn’t mean much in a Presidential race, but it can mean a lot in a House contest or in a Senate race in small, relatively inexpensive states like Nevada or North Dakota.

Along with the announcement that Obama outraised Romney in August, I think that these are important factors for small donors to start focusing their attention to downballot races. Every cycle, I set up an ActBlue page, but — perhaps consistent with stories of Democratic voter disenchantment — contributions are somewhat down this year. It will matter a lot, even if President Obama is re-elected, if the Democrats lose the Senate, or if they regain the House.

So give the page all your money — here. (Or at least some of it!). Remember — I don’t make a nickel off of this.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff is a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles.