GOP vs Dems
Dr Wu, you are eloquent in your questions. Unfortunately none of what you propose will be what determines the election. My first choice was Hillary Clinton - maybe that will get the fur flying in rebuttals. Heh.
Unless something changes, I suppose I will hold my nose and vote for Romney. Ryan is irrelevant as all vice presidents are - barring a fate I prefer not to discuss. As a Kentuckian, I am one of those that refuses to accept a second term for Obama. The feeling is very mutual. It is highly unlikely he will come to Kentucky, and if he does the democratic governor will be conveniently absent once again. Obama may expectorate on Kentucky as he flies to the much more valuable Ohio, and on our two senators. The only person they each despise more than Obama, are each other.
Those on the left have no choice but to stay home or vote for Obama. Those on the right must vote for Romney. They will not decide the election. Those nice normal people who reside in the middle and do not consider politics much at all will eventually, several days before the election, decide if they will vote. If they do, they will be disgusted with the ads, ask their close friends and family what they think, and collectively swing the election.
If trends hold, the candidates will know who will lose a few days or hours before we will. It will be another close election - unless someone does or says something stupid like cry on television or ride a tank in a parade or flaunt a mistress.
Not one bit of this will be part of a well thought out mental process of what is good or bad for me, for you, for the country, or the world. It will be a very emotional reaction, and a lot of that will be who will spend toward the first billion dollars the fastest to get elected. That money does not influence you, it produces sound bites and myths that influence those who influence you: Your friends and family.