This election now turns on whether a critical mass of American voters have arrived at the undeniable conclusion that if we do not fundamentally transform the three major entitlements for younger Americans then it will not be there for them at all (or even for those who will soon rely upon them), and that if we do not balance the federal budget it will cause an economic catastrophe.
We will see one of three outcomes over the next four years. First, Romney-Ryan wins in November, with sufficient numbers and political will in the House and Senate to enact fundamental entitlement reform and a balanced budget. If so, that by itself could give Mitt Romney a lasting legacy as a transformational president.
Second, Romney-Ryans prevails, but without persuading a majority of Americans of the urgency of this issue, and so either Republicans do not hold both houses of Congress with stable majorities or those majorities lack the political courage to steadfastly resist intimidation and reject demagoguery to pass legislation to reinvent the entitlements and balance the budget.
Third, Barack Obama wins a second term, and claims it as a mandate not to curb spending or entitlements. We continue with trillion-dollar deficits, reaching $20 trillion in national debt 2017.
Under the first scenario, although current and imminent beneficiaries will retain their benefits, younger Americans will experience the discomfort that such foundational change entails, but will later be profoundly grateful. Under the second, Republicans may be at the helm when everything unravels, and conservatism could be blamed and suffer a devastating setback with voters. Under the third, by November 2016 voters should have no doubt what must be done, and realize that liberals offer only blame and denial, while conservatives offer solutions.
Regardless of whether Messrs. Romney and Ryan win this battle, conservatives can now win this war.