The presidential election "marks the end of an economic era, a political era, and a generational era all at once," said David Brooks in The New York Times. The long economic boom that began in 1983 is over, as is the era of conservative dominance that began just a few years earlier. And with the baby-boom generation handing over the reins of government, "smart young liberals" will be taking over in a period of "stone-cold scarcity that they do not seem to recognize or have a plan for."

We won't really know what this vote means until we see the numbers, said Paul Maslin in Salon. If turnout is extraordinarily high among young and minority voters, Barack Obama could win in a landslide and have an undeniable mandate. But if "late undecideds break for McCain," it will be clear, even if Obama still wins, that Americans have reservations about him and didn't intend for this to be a "coronation."

Regardless, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, "nothing can change the fact that so many white Americans entrusted a black American with their hopes and dreams." For African Americans, Barack Obama's ground-breaking campaign, nomination, and fundraising records were "nothing short of mind-blowing." So no matter who wins, and no matter what the margin, "we can all have a new kind of pride in our country."