Amidst predictions that Mitt’s “Boca Moment” has finally ended any realistic hope for a Romney victory, it’s time for a reminder that at this particular juncture of American political history, there is almost nothing a major-party presidential candidate can do–short of calling on Space Aliens to come down and rule us–that could force his or her vote below 45%. A significant majority of voters who currently plan to pull the lever for Romney say they are voting against Obama more than they are voting for Mitt, and that falls far short of the actual number who would vote for Bobo the Simple-Minded if he were on the GOP ticket. Rick Santorum, who says things far worse than what Romney said in Boca, every day, as a matter of deep personal conviction, would be at 45% or above. And that’s a level of support at which it would be foolish to conclude victory is out of sight given the possibility of future events with this much time left, aside from the fact that we have seen no evidence yet that this incident has had any effect on public opinion.

So in my opinion, the Boca Moment is significant not because it signals the end of the Romney campaign (though if he loses, I’m sure some insta-book will say so), but as yet another indication of Mitt Romney’s sick (and I think that is the only word for it) relationship with his own party, wherein he has to go off in secret or use encoded messages to whisper the words his own voting “base” wants to hear. If he does manage to win, this sick relationship will dominate American politics for the immediate future. And if he loses, the GOP’s ascendent conservative wing now has all the evidence it needs to blame its defeat on this faithless lover, and there will be hell to pay for all of us.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.