2016 is still quite a way off but that hasn’t stopped speculation about the chances for each of the major parties.

Bill Barrow of the Associated Press looks back at the last few elections and raises an important question for the next one:

Can GOP shatter ‘Obama coalition’ in 2016?

Republicans crowed in 2004 that freshly re-elected President George W. Bush had established a “permanent governing majority” for the GOP. Eight years later, Democrats were touting the enduring power of the “Obama coalition” to keep their party in the White House.

But Democrats couldn’t sustain that coalition for this year’s midterm elections, leading to Republican gains in Congress, governorships and state legislatures nationwide.

“The notion of demographics as destiny is overblown,” said Republican pollster and media strategist Wes Anderson. “Just like (Bush aide Karl) Rove was wrong with that ‘permanent majority’ talk, Democrats have to remember that the pendulum is always swinging.”

So how will it swing in 2016? Is the path to 270 electoral votes so fixed that one side just can’t win? Does Obama’s unpopularity carry over into the next race for the White House? Or will an increasingly diverse electorate pick a Democrat for a third consecutive presidential election for the first time since Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman won five straight elections from 1932 to 1948?

Again, it’s still early. Neither party has even begun the primary process. Still, when it comes to the so-called Obama coalition, Democrats are going to realize that their coalition and Obama’s are two separate things.

I’m reminded of something Erick Erickson wrote at Townhall just after the last midterm.

The Democrats’ Obama Problem

Last Tuesday’s voter turnout should not give the Democrats the comfort they have taken from it. As should now be obvious, the Democrats have no coalition of their own. It is controlled by the very man who, the day after Curb-Stomp 2014, went on national television to stomp his feet in retaliation, rhetorically show voters his middle finger and behave generally like a petulant man-child. Democrats have a Barack Obama problem…

What can the Democrats do? They have been renting Obama’s coalition. Should they distance themselves from President Obama, they will anger President Obama’s base. Should they embrace President Obama, they will anger everyone else. Hillary Clinton will have a hard time running a big government campaign when Americans no longer trust big government. But should she try to claim government was not the failure, just Obama, she will have to fight him for votes. Democrats comforting themselves on low turnout in 2014 ignore that they will have to have a civil war to capture President Obama’s base from him in 2016.

President Obama will not go quietly.

The next two years should be fun to watch.