Poor Barack Obama
1 – The prevailing media narrative since the 2014 midterm elections has been that the Democrats got hammered.
2a – One opinion has been that the Republicans ran against Obama, and his unpopularity dragged down the members of his party. Even though many of them did all they could to distance themselves from the Prez, they were irrevocably tarnished by Obamacare, immigration, the Islamic State and of course, Benghazi. If I was the US Chamber of Commerce I’d be trying to convince Johnson & Johnson to change their product name from BenGay to BenGhazi. Much like the assertion that Al Gore claimed to invent the internet, the idea that Obama failed the staff at Benghazi has become an article of faith among red-staters.
2b – Another opinion is that Republicans outspent the Democrats. Citizens United. And everything.
2c – Another is that Republicans learned Obama’s ground game and got out the vote.
2d – Another is that after six years of Obama not delivering the progressive agenda he promised, the youth vote stayed home. He did ram through the ACA – but it is far more industry friendly than the single payer system that progressives wanted. He did stem the financial disaster – but he and Eric Holder also let the financial banksters off scot-free, and the Fed flooded the system with QE cash to keep them busy. He did preside over a slight economic recovery – but only if you ignore the unemployed that don’t show up in Labor statistics. Obama has expanded the security state, expanded drone warfare and hemmed and hawwed over the Keystone Pipeline. He makes noises about liberal issues, but has essentially been a moderate.
2e – A countervailing opinion has been that the Prez had many accomplishments that Democrats could have trumpeted, but that they shot themselves in the foot by running away from him. One proof of concept is new Senator Gary Peters (D-Mich) who did stay close to Obama and won. Of course he was also endorsed by the retiring Sen Carl Levin.
3 – A countervailing narrative to #1 is that there is nothing historic or surprising about this election. The President’s party usually loses House of Representatives seats in the midterm, and they didn’t lose that many compared to other midterm races. Also, as usual, only one-third of Senate seats were in play. Based on presidential election results, those races happened to be in the one-third of states that averaged out as least Obama-friendly. Not by a lot – maybe only five percent – but by enough that it was no surprise that the Democrats lost seats. But don’t expect to hear that in the mainstream media.
4 – An interesting opinion is that Congress no longer matters much because of gridlock. All the important legislation is taking place at the state and local level. So we see legalized cannabis in a few more states, anti-fracking bills here and there and, unfortunately, ALEC-derived bills elsewhere.