The Butcher’s Bill— Democratic losses in the age of Obama.— 15eh,b26
President Barack Obama has declared he might not follow the tradition of ex-presidents refusing to comment publicly on their successors. In a postelection press conference, he said:
I want to be respectful of the office and give the president-elect an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance. As an American citizen who cares deeply about our country, if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle but go to core questions about our values and our ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals, then I’ll examine it when it comes.
When President Obama took office in 2009, Democrats claimed 257 House seats, 60 Senate seats (after Arlen Specter switched sides), 28 governorships, and total control of 27 state legislatures. Many pundits figured that the Republican party was turning into nothing more than a regional coalition, with little strength outside the South.
Those races served as a prelude for the Democrats’ midterm debacle of 2010. The party lost a net 63 seats in the House, as the GOP claimed its biggest majority in the lower chamber since the Great Depression. The Democrats also lost 6 seats in the Senate, including in blue redoubts such as Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. On net, the party lost 6 governorships and its total control of state legislatures slipped to 16.
The next cycle was a rebound of sorts for Democrats, but the details were less impressive than the headlines. Obama won reelection comfortably over Mitt Romney, but he did so with 3.6 million fewer votes than he received in 2008. Such a victory is without precedent. Every incumbent president who has won election to a second term did so by increasing his total votes—except Obama, in 2012. Down-ballot, the Democrats’ performance was similarly mediocre. The party netted eight House seats, two Senate seats, and total control of three more state legislatures. Meanwhile, they lost the governorship of North Carolina.
The 2014 cycle was another disaster for the Democrats. When the dust settled, the Republican party—which had been all but left for dead just five years prior—was clearly the dominant coalition in the states. The GOP held 247 House seats, 54 Senate seats, 31 governorships, and total control of 30 state legislatures. The only major elected office still controlled by the Democrats was the White House, which, of course, the party just lost.
Dwight Eisenhower, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, for instance, all entered the White House with their party in total control of Congress but left with the opposition in total control. Even under Ronald Reagan, who was enormously popular for most of his tenure, the GOP lost the Senate in 1986.
What makes Obama unique is the magnitude of his party’s defeat. When he entered office, he and his party had broad control of the government. When he leaves office in two months, the opposition will have broad control of the government. That is quite extraordinary. In fact, during the postwar era, no two-term president has lost more U.S. House seats and state legislative seats than Obama.
Before the media focused on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, news centered on the Iran deal, Syria, Libya, immigration, gun control, Obamacare, the stimulus, and so on. The country typically disapproved of his handling of these matters, even as it still held a favorable view of him as a person.
Obama seems to have given big government a bad name. When he was elected in 2008, the exit poll found that 51 percent of Americans thought the government should do more, compared with 43 percent who thought it should do less. But in 2016, after eight years of Obama, the exit poll found that 45 percent thought the government should do more, compared with 50 percent who thought it should do less.
source–weekly std,jay cost,