When President Obama was elected in 2008, Democrats were riding high.
Not only did he make history by becoming the first black president, he was also a new young face for their aging party and he helped usher in a wave of support across the country.
That didn’t last long. His legacy for the Democratic Party is abysmal.
When Obama leaves office, he is set to leave his party at the state and national level in the worst shape it has been in since 1929.
Politico recently took a deep-dive into Obama’s effect on these elections.
“Driven by antipathy to George W. Bush and then the Obama wave, Democrats had enjoyed two banner elections in ’06 and ’08. We won dozens of improbable congressional elections in states and districts that normally would tack Republican, and that effect trickled down to other offices,” David Axelrod, a former Obama strategist, told Politico. “You add to that the fact that we would take office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and it was apparent, from Day One, that we had nowhere to go but down.”
There were 60 Democrats in the Senate if you count the two independents who caucused with the party and 257 House members. Today, there are 46 members of the Senate Democratic caucus and 188 Democrats in the House.
It’s even worse at the state level.
Republicans now hold 31 governorships, nine more than they held when Obama was inaugurated, and a lot of these are in purple and deep blue states.
In 2009, Democrats were in full control of 27 state legislatures, while Republicans held full power in 14.
Today, Republicans hold full control of 30 state legislatures and Democrats hold full power in just 11. In 24 states, Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the legislature.
“It’s almost a crime,” Democratic Party Vice Chair Donna Brazile told Politico. “We have been absolutely decimated at the state and local level.”
Even though many polls find that Democrats could claim the presidency in 2016, will they be able to count it as a win if this is the legacy they leave behind?