Unfortunately, it looks like the forces of smear, slander, and threat have finally claimed their intended victim. With Palin's announcement that she won't run for president, the election is essentially over.
The calculus is fairly simple: the media and GOP establishment want Romney to be the nominee. Once a progressive is at the head of the Republican ticket, low turnout for Republicans will hand a narrow victory to Obama.
Furthermore, Obama will eviscerate Romney in the debates. When the subject of health care comes up, Obama will challenge Romney, who will have to reiterate the lame excuse for the statist intrusion he signed into law in Massachusetts. Obama will also be able to point to Romney's support of Brady and other gun control bills, state-run health care, and any number of other progressive-statist stances Romney has taken, or vacillated in and out of, in the past. Obama doubtless has an excellent research team, and they will be in full force to try to destroy Romney. This will suppress the voter turnout.