Let’s be brutally honest. Barack Obama is going to win the presidential election, and probably by a lot. We’ll avoid recriminations and “I told you so”s and second guessing here. Let’s just face the reality. Obama is trading at 84 on in-trade. Overnight quickie polls show the public overwhelmingly thinks Obama won last night’s debate – which probably has less to do with any “objective” scoring and more to do with the fact that folks have simply decided to vote for Obama. Obama has more cash than McCain and independent groups are spending more in his support than they are in favor of McCain. Obama’s national lead is in double digits in many polls, and per Real Clear Politics, Obama leads in every – that’s EVERY, as in all – battleground states. His leads in Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, even Colorado, Virginia, and Florida, are all outside the margin of error.

So Barack Obama is the next president of the United States, and the Democrats will gain seats in the House and the Senate. At this point, it is imperative that the Republicans maintain a filibuster-capable Senate minority. The Democrats now have about a one in three chance of picking up the 60 or more Senate seats they would need to prevent filibusters.

It is not quite right to say that every nickle spent by the Republican National Committee in support of Senator McCain is a waste, because McCain’s performance will still help downticket races. But the RNC – and individual donors – need to concentrate remaining resources not on Senator McCain’s race for president, but on shoring up endangered Senate Republicans. We need to help Norm Coleman in Minnesota, Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina, Roger Wicker in Mississippi. Even Saxby Chambliss in Georgia and Mitch McConnell in potentially in danger, and Chuck Schumer is pouring money into Kentucky to try to take down the Minority Leader. It may be too late to help John Sununu in New Hampshire, Gordon Smith in Oregon, or Bob Schaeffer in Colorado, but they’re all in much better position than the McCain campaign. It’s even worth trying to save Ted Stevens in Alaska – we’re going to need every vote. 41 Senate seats will be the only meaningful check on Pelosi, Reid, and Obama for the next four years.

I know it’s tough for people to give up on the presidential. But there is a point at which you have to seriously look at the evidence, and save what can still be saved. The RNC needs to shift its focus to the Senate, and the McCain campaign should likewise shift its focus to those states where a stronger McCain effort can help some of these endangered Republicans keep their seats.