There is an enormous amount of protectionism occurring within the Democratic Party as the Obama era abruptly comes to a close. Progressives can look back on the president’s legacy with a warm sense of accomplishment, as long as they only look to victories in the Supreme Court.
By any other electoral or legislative measure, the Obama years have been tough on the Democratic party.
The Daily Kos puts it this way:
With a firm grip on the presidency, Congress, and soon the Supreme Court, Republicans have won more political power in 2016 than in any election since at least 1928.
Hilary Clinton’s devastating loss in November has further imperiled a progressive Obama legacy enacted heavily through regulation and executive order. Crippling losses for national and statewide Democrats alike have stunted a generation of young progressive leaders from fostering liberal policies, on even the most local of levels.
Here are some data points to visualize just what kind of electoral hole the Democrats find themselves in in 2017. Let’s start with Congress.
The makeup of the U.S. Senate before and after Obama’s Presidency:
The makeup of the U.S. House before and after Obama’s Presidency:
Here is the congressional district breakdown:
According to Fox News, Obama has overseen over 1,000 Democratic party losses nationally:
The Democratic Party suffered huge losses at every level during Obama’s West Wing tenure. The grand total: a net loss of 1,042 state and federal Democratic posts, including congressional and state legislative seats, governorships and the presidency.
The latter was perhaps the most profound example of Obama’s popularity failing to translate to support for his allies. Hillary Clinton, who served as secretary of state under Obama, brought the first family out for numerous campaign appearances. In September, Obama declared that his “legacy’s on the ballot.”
Less than two months later, Americans voted for Donald Trump.
It gets worse for Democrats when you look at GOP state legislature control:
According to Ballotpedia, the state legislature losses under Obama are unprecedented:
Since World War II, the political party of an outgoing two-term president or consecutive political party administration has lost an average of 450 state legislative seats, excluding President Barack Obama. During President Obama’s (D) two terms in office, Democrats experienced a net loss of 958 state legislative seats, the largest net loss of state legislative seats in this category since World War II.
The GOP has a firm control over State Governors: 31 Republicans, 18 Democrats, and 1 Independent
According to the Daily Kos, Democratic gains in state governorships have been deeply disappointing.
As shown above, Republicans now control the governor’s office in 33 states, amounting to 60 percent of the population, while Democrats control just 16 states with 40 percent of the population. (Alaska has an independent governor supported by the Democrats.) Republicans now hold a greater number of governor’s offices than they have in several generations.
This Republican dominance of governorships and legislatures leaves them firmly in command of state governments across America.
Here are the number of counties that voted “more conservative” in 2016:
PBS reports that the Obama era “all but wiped out a generation of young Democrats.”
The defeats have all but wiped out a generation of young Democrats, leaving the party with limited power in statehouses and a thin bench to challenge an ascendant GOP majority eager to undo many of the president’s policies. To be sure, the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections. But, say experts, Obama’s tenure has marked the greatest number of losses under any president in decades.
Here are the number of counties that Obama won that flipped to Trump in 2016.
According to the Washington Post:
Donald Trump delivered on his promise to flip the Democrats’ electoral hold on the industrial Midwest. Across swing states — and others previously thought to be safe for Democrats — Trump colored dozens of counties red that hadn’t gone Republican in decades.
Of the nearly 700 counties that twice sent Obama to the White House, a stunning one-third flipped to support Trump. Trump also won 194 of the 207 counties that voted for Obama either in 2008 or 2012.
The number of counties where Trump did “better” and Clinton did “worse” than last cycle.
According to the New York Times, the future looks grim for upcoming Democratic talent.
The absence of up-and-coming Democrats is evident in Washington, where the party leadership in Congress consists largely of aging veterans. The average age of the three top Democratic leaders in the House is 75, while the three most senior Republican leaders — with the new speaker of the House, Paul D. Ryan — average 48 years old.