Does anyone wonder if embattled Democratic nominee Ralph Northam has a base problem anymore?

If there were any questions about Northam’s dire predicament, all doubt was erased when former President Barack Obama and former VP Joe Biden were announced to be coming to the Old Dominion; Obama to Richmond (where that would whip up the base) and Biden to Northern Virginia (ostensibly to appeal to independents).

Of course, Democrats would be quick to counter that VP Pence is travelling to southwest Virginia — the Republican version of Fairfax — just as former President George W. Bush will be attending events in both northern Virginia and Richmond.

So why — after getting hammered during the NOVA Chamber of Commerce event and walking back his “narcissistic maniac” comments about Trump with a “I’ll work with him” approach — is Northam shifting gears so very late with less than four weeks to go?

Simple enough.  Northam is losing independents by the bushel, and in grasping for what few independent votes remain, Northam has to try to reassure progressives that he will not abandon them in the coming weeks.

…which means that Northam is going to spend the last few remaining weeks trying to appeal to the center, shoving away against the progressive left and Perriello’s base support.

Now typically, this would be seen as a mundane move.  Yet Northam’s campaign is facing a progressive insurgency that firmly believes if Northam were to embrace the values and positions that Perriello had embraced as a primary candidate, voter enthusiasm would be off the chart.

In that, the progressives are not incorrect.

Of course, there are other realities at play as well.  Northam has the room to make mistakes upon mistakes; Gillespie does not.  Should turnout approach 44% or more, Northam may not have to worry about foibles, mishaps, and waffling statements.

Yet if the general sigh from the electorate of the Virginia gubernatorial race becomes the soundtrack to the November elections?  If turnout is in the neighborhood of 40 or 41%?  Gillespie’s chances — and the chances for the rest of the Republican ticket — begin to look better and better as time moves along.

Northam’s only hope at this rate is to outspend Gillespie at a factor of 2:1 in order to convince Virginians that Gillespie is every bit as evil as the progressive base deems the average Republican to be.

Could it happen?  Possibly, but not probably… with Trump’s approval ratings currently showing Trump to be at 44% according to Rasmussen (38% according to RCP averages) that is a far cry from the low 30s that Democrats expected five months ago — which does not suggest a tidal wave of anti-Trump sentiment riding to Northam’s rescue anytime soon.

Northam has a base problem as well as an independents problem, rocks and shoals Gillespie has thus far avoided.  Yet Northam has room for error — the question remains how much error the rickety and lackluster campaign can take on.

Bringing Obama to Virginia only puts those errors in the picture window, rather than ameliorating the concern.