The savior has failed.
In 2007, I could have sworn President Barack Obama was supposed to be the savior of the Democrat Party. The smooth talking, suave Illinois senator had everything to bring the party together and end any GOP dominance.
Well, it turns out, the Democrats have lost 1,030 seats across the board since Obama took office in January 2008. This includes seats in state’s houses and senates, governorships, and Congress.
The 2016 elections became the final nail in the coffin. Everyone needs to look beyond President-elect Donald Trump because after the election, the Democrats now “hold the governor’s office and both legislative chambers in just five coastal states: Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware.”
Now Republicans have hold on all three roles in 25 states, especially in flyover country.
Funny thing is, the signs floated in front of the Democrats from the very beginning. Obama took oath with a Democrat majority in both the House and Senate. But that did not last very long:
To be sure, the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections. But, according to experts, Obama’s tenure has marked the greatest number of losses under any president in decades.
‘Obama just figured his important actions on policies like immigration and health care would solidify support, but that hasn’t really materialized,’ said Daniel Galvin, a political science professor at Northwestern University and the author of a book on presidential party building.
‘He’s done basically the minimal amount of party building, and it’s been insufficient to help the party.’
During his year-end press conference, he admitted that he did not do enough to build the party. He said that “it’s kind of hard to do when you’re also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House.”
Ire grew within Congressional Democrats and those at the state level because he refused “to do the typical Washington schmoozing” while not always endorsing down-ballot candidates “and inability to parlay Organizing for action, his grassroots organization, into a significant force.”
The first hit came in 2010 when voters demolished the Democrats in the House. As Professor Jacobson noted:
The Democrats received the feared political decapitation. The Democrats lost, in a single night, two generations of leadership: Numerous members of the old guard, including multiple committee Chairmen, lost, as did dozens of newer members from the 2006-2008 cycles. Because the Tsunami struck in one cycle, there are no young Democratic guns waiting to step into the breach. The Democratic Party in the House is worse than a chicken with its head cut off, it is a chicken with its head and feet cut off.
Others have blamed Obama’s concentration on social issues rather than the economy:
‘The backlash to the Obama presidency was perhaps bigger than any of us really realized,’ said Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democratic Network, a Democratic think tank.
‘A lot of the story of this election was people feeling like the culture was evolving in a way that made it feel like they were no longer living in the country they grew up in.’
Look at Obamacare. Mandy Nagy pointed out in November 2013, the Democrats took a major hit due to the Affordable Care Act. After the horrendous rollout and people losing their plans, the Democrats lost their 50%-42% edge with registered voters. Another poll showed that “[O]four out of 10 Americans” believed Obama could manage the federal government while 53% believed “that Obama is not honest and trustworthy.”
A few months later, former press secretary Robert Gibbs told David Gregory that the Democrats could lose the Senate at midterms:
Gibbs: If you lose the Senate turn out the lights because the party’s over.
Gregory: Is the Senate in danger?
Gibbs: Definitely. Absolutely… There’s no doubt. [Republicans have] got to pick up 6 seats, which is not a small number, but what gives them a huge advantage obviously is the states that they’re in. As Israel mentioned, in Louisiana, in North Carolina, in Montana, places where the President didn’t do well.
Gibbs prediction came true and the Democrats also lost more people at the state level.
The devastation continued into 2016 with Trump destroying Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, but again at the state level.
Have Democrats realized that they need to change in order to save their jobs? After the election, many vulnerable Democrats have shown an eagerness to work with Trump. I wrote:
It appears that new Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has taken a different approach from current leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). Reid did not want members of his party “to work with vulnerable Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections.” But Schumer knows better than Reid and has told his colleagues they may “do what they need to survive in the next Congress.”
These politicians include Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT). Trump destroyed Hillary Clinton in all three states.