Salena Zito

Obama’s campaign talks about “winning the future” because that is what he is trying to do politically, according to Baylor University political scientist Curt Nichols: “Demonstrate for Democrats a new path to political power, one that disregards traditional Democrats in favor of a coalition focused on women, blacks, Hispanics and gays.”

Two weeks ago, when the Supreme Court upheld the health-care law, one thing missing in the noise following the news was the sudden intensity within the conservative base. Before that moment, Republican Mitt Romney was on the brink of being forced to counter Obama by mirroring his identity politics and juicing up Romney’s own base.

“Oh, that is already done for him with this ruling,” said Democrat strategist Dane Strother. “This hands Romney an intensity level that no one predicted he might achieve.”

Couple that with independent voters souring on Obama over the economy, and this is the perfect storm for Romney, said Bruce Haynes, a Washington-based GOP media consultant.

Obama already has lost the white working class and rural votes; both only needed to be convinced to come out and vote for Romney – and the Supreme Court gave them that reason.

Obama's support among suburbanites in places such as Philadelphia is tenuous at best, too. If northern suburbanites and young professionals turn, then he is doomed to a huge loss. And persuadable voters such as Coulson are looking for a compelling reason to abandon him; divisive rhetoric is turning them off, and economics is only half the story.

If Romney can reassure suburbanites that America is exceptional because it doesn't vote for or against anyone based on skin color, ethnic heritage or religion – that it votes based on a candidate’s principles, priorities and performance – then he has a chance to undermine Obama with northern suburbanites and to rout him in a landslide.

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.