Despite the fact that Barack Obama is sitting pretty in nearly every major poll across the board, Democrats across the country are still wary of a Tuesday night upset, leading many to spend the final days of the election wandering around in a "Shut up, don't jinx it!" panic. The New York Times recently examined this phenomenon, illustrating the strange mix of excitement and doom that seems to have settled in the pits of many Democratic stomachs as of late as their candidate appears to be headed for victory. As Joe Downs of New Hope, PA tells the Times, "Look, I have this sense of impending doom; we’ve had a couple of elections stolen already. The only thing worse than losing is to think that you’re going to win and then lose.”The past two Presidential elections have been an exercise in shock and disappointment for Democrats: George W. Bush, who has become the Phantom of the White House as his approval ratings hit historic lows, pulled out two victories that have had an immeasurable impact on both the United States of America and the world. As someone who voted for the first time in 2000, it was a kick in the stomach to watch the democratic process become so entangled in paperwork and shady dealings; for many young voters, the past two elections served as a means to validate all of their distrust and dislike of the voting process in general. “The last two elections have been so disappointing, so disturbing,” Paula Guarnaccia, an assistant dean at the University of Vermont, tells the Times, “The idea that we could now elect this impressive man as president, I guess it heightens the anxiety.” This election, however, is different than the past two: the odds are clearly in Obama's favor, young and new voters are expected to turn out in record numbers, and a heightened awareness of potential vote tampering and voter suppression may make it more difficult for McCain to pull this one out (or steal it away). Still, that lingering, "OMG they are totally going to steal this again" feeling remains, a sad commentary on our political system, in that even a candidate with an extremely solid lead leaves voters feeling uncertain about his odds of winning. As Lisa Serizawa of San Francisco tells the Times, “I’m cautiously, cautiously optimistic. Though I worry: am I going to be hurt again?” Election fears are taking their toll on many liberal voters across the country: Psychologist Lucy Slurzberg reports hearing election fears from "Oh, only about 90 percent" of her patients, and Shana Rosen of Denver admitted that the election was, indeed, affecting her personal life, claiming that she "told her boyfriend that their love life was on hold while she sweated out Mr. Obama’s performance in Colorado." So what's behind Election Paranoia? I suppose it's a combination of things: the lingering disappointment of past elections, the distrust of a party that has consistently lied to the American people, and, perhaps most importantly, the feeling that something this good, something this positive, just couldn't happen in a country that has been hit with one thing after another over the past 8 years. We're so beaten down by lies, scandals, disappointments, and broken promises, that we're not even able to cling to the one thing our candidate has asked us for all along: a little hope. In the final days, "Yes We Can," has been replaced by "Yes We Can, I think, shut up you guys, don't jinx it!" At this point, all we can do is vote and encourage others to do the same. Every time that feeling of dread and panic sets in, try to think of the words of Barack Obama himself: "You said the time has come to move beyond the bitterness and pettiness and anger that's consumed Washington; to end the political strategy that's been all about division and instead make it about addition - to build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States. Because that's how we'll win in November, and that's how we'll finally meet the challenges that we face as a nation. We are choosing hope over fear. We're choosing unity over division, and sending a powerful message that change is coming to America." Now tap on your keyboard three times, spin around in a circle, cross your fingers, and together, we'll make it through this thing. Obama Is Up, And Fans Fear That Jinxes It [New York Times] A Presidential Vanishing Act, By Design [New York Times] Poll Updates ster Transcript of Iowa Victory Speech[BarackObama] Earlier: Your Almost Last-Minute Guide To Your State's Voter Suppression Efforts