Since 1980, only one president running for re-election has lost. Even in the middle of the Iraq debacle, voters have chosen the devil they know over the devil they don't.
They had the same basic preservationist impulse even in 2008, when "change we can believe in" was the Obama mantra. His opponent, John McCain, offered himself as a daring maverick with no tolerance for standing pat.
In fact, they were both selling nostalgia, writes Steve Chapman.