Supposedly, there are five stages of grief -- denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Supposedly, they occur in linear order, progressing from one to the next, all the way up to acceptance.
I have always been skeptical. It all looks a little bit too neat and tidy to me. Do all people pass through grief in the same linear order? Are there no individual variations? My guess is that these traits do all tend to be associated with grief, and perhaps even that they tend to move from one being dominant to another. But they also overlap, and people may experience one or all at the same time.
That is what I am experiencing as the election is two weeks away and keeps trending more and more toward Romney. As that prospect gets stronger and stronger, I find myself experiencing some or all of those reactions hour-by-hour and even minute-by-minute.
Denial: I desperately scan Nate Silver, looking for any sign that Obama may be pulling ahead.
Anger: I think of all the most extreme positions Republicans have taken, the Ryan budget, tax cuts for the rich, undermining Medicaid and Medicare, itching for a war with Iran and accuse the Republicans of wanting a return to the Gilded Age.
Bargaining: I tell myself that Romney might be a new Eisenhower, and I could live with that.
Depression: All the time, especially every time some poll shows Romney pulling further ahead.
I deliberately indulge all these things, hoping to get to acceptance. I haven't gotten there yet. Maybe after the election.