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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Obama Was a Problem for the Democrats

At AP, Lisa Lerer reports that the Obama team seldom mentions one key stat: more than 1,030 seats -- the number of governorships, and congressional and state legislative seats that Democrats lost during Obama's tenure.
"What's happened on the ground is that voters have been punishing Democrats for eight solid years — it's been exhausting," said South Carolina state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who lost two gubernatorial campaigns to Nikki Haley, President-elect Donald Trump's pick for ambassador to the U.N. "If I was talking about a local or state issue, voters would always lapse back into a national topic: Barack Obama."
...
After this year's elections, Democrats hold the governor's office and both legislative chambers in just five coastal states: Oregon, California, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. Republicans have the trifecta in 25, giving them control of a broad swath of the middle of the country.
Obama was not good at party-building.
It's a political reality that Obama has only been willing to acknowledge publicly after his party's devastating November losses. He's admitted he failed to createemoc "a sustaining organization" around the political force that twice elected him to office.
"That's something I would have liked to have done more of, but it's kind of hard to do when you're also dealing with a whole bunch of issues here in the White House," he said at his year-end press conference.
Maybe DWS was not the smartest choice to head DNC.
State parties languished and the Democratic National Committee struggled with dysfunction and debt.
"We built this beautiful house, but the foundation is rotten," said South Carolina Democratic Chairman Jaime Harrison, a candidate to lead the Democratic National Committee. "In hindsight we should have looked at this and said, 'Maybe the state parties should be strong.'"