Posted by Wordsmith on 26 December, 2016 at 8:15 pm. 29 comments already!



Despite what I titled this post, I do think President Obama might have a leg to stand on in claiming that had he ran, he would have won:

(CNN)Arguing that Americans still subscribe to his vision of progressive change, President Barack Obama asserted in an interview recently he could have succeeded in this year’s election if he was eligible to run.

“I am confident in this vision because I’m confident that if I had run again and articulated it, I think I could’ve mobilized a majority of the American people to rally behind it,” Obama told his former senior adviser David Axelrod in an interview for the “The Axe Files” podcast, produced by the University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN.

Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both polled high in the unpopularity ratings. They were both deeply polarizing during the 2016 election. During that same period, President Obama’s approval rating went up. My explanation- and it’s just my opinion- is that President Obama’s approval rating in the twilight of his presidency is a beneficiary of just how loathsome the two frontrunners were in the Election.

I know FA readers will disagree with me on this, but President Obama has governed with a certain appeal, personality-wise. And in wake of Trump’s winning of the presidency, President Obama has more or less conducted himself with class and grace, attempting to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor in that regard; attempting to help unify the country and rectify the divisiveness of the campaign.

In the 50-minute session, Obama repeated his suggestion Democrats had ignored entire segments of the voting population, leading to Donald Trump’s win. He implied that Hillary Clinton’s campaign hadn’t made a vocal enough argument directed toward Americans who haven’t felt the benefits of the economic recovery.

Ouch. Given that President Obama campaigned pretty aggressively on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, wasn’t he essentially on the ticket? Given Trump’s unpopularity and his troubles in unifying the GOP tent, wasn’t Trump’s election win a referendum on Obama’s presidential performance, whether it be the last year, 2 years, 4 years or the last 8 years? Just as President Obama’s 2008 election was in part due to a Bush-weary nation? There could be an argument made that Obama campaigning for Hillary might have hurt her chances than helped. It can also be argued that Hillary basically hurt Hillary’s chances by being…well, Hillary Clinton; which supports President Obama’s notion that he could have done what Hillary couldn’t do: Win against Trump. In my opinion, almost anyone but Hillary could have beaten Trump; just as I believe any of the other GOP candidates could have done what Trump did: Beat Hillary.

Trump has a point in tweeting back his counterattack:

“President Obama said that he thinks he would have won against me. He should say that but I say NO WAY! – jobs leaving, ISIS, OCare, etc.,”

If 2010, 2012, and 2016 weren’t a referendum on Obama policies (as opposed to cult of personality), then how does Obama explain the number of governorships in GOP hands? How does he rationalize the loss of Congressional seats in 2010 and 2012?

President Obama ultimately set his party back:

In boasting about his tenure in the White House, President Barack Obama often cites numbers like these: 15 million new jobs, a 4.9 percent unemployment rate and 74 months of consecutive job growth.

There’s one number you will almost never hear: More than 1,030 seats.

That’s the number of spots in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress lost by Democrats during Obama’s presidency.

It’s a statistic that reveals an unexpected twist of the Obama years: The leadership of the one-time community organizer and champion of ground-up politics was rough on the grassroots of his own party. When Obama exits the White House, he’ll leave behind a Democratic Party that languished in his shadow for years and is searching for itself.

“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.”

When Obama won the presidency, his election was heralded as a moment of Democratic dominance—the crashing of a conservative wave that had swept the country since the dawn of the Reagan era.

Democrats believed that the coalition of young, minority and female voters who swept Obama into the White House would usher in something new: an ascendant Democratic majority that would ensure party gains for decades to come.

The coalition, it turns out, was Obama’s alone.

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.

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.

“Obama just figured his important actions on policies like immigration and health care would solidify support, but that hasn’t really materialized,” said Daniel Galvin, a political science professor at Northwestern University and the author of a book on presidential party building. “He’s done basically the minimal amount of party building, and it’s been insufficient to help the party.”

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 create “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.

That’s astounding, coming from a president who I believe never stopped being a president of the Democratic Party, ever in campaign mode throughout his tenure. As a resident of Los Angeles, he seemed to constantly be flying out here to fundraise for the Democratic Party (this is just a perception on my part). During his first 6 years, he hosted at least 393 fundraisers by mid-year:

In his first term, Obama attended more fundraising events than any other president in recent history. According to author Brendan J. Doherty, from 2008 to 2012 Obama went to 321 events, compared to just 80 for Ronald Reagan. And, as the chart below shows, he’s done 72 events in his second term – 34 this year alone. So far, he’s ahead of the pace of George W. Bush, who had been to 30 events at this point in 2006. In his two presidential terms combined, Bush hosted 318 fundraisers. Obama has already smashed that number with 393 events to date.

Apparently Bill Clinton campaigned even more, in the same time period in his presidency.

The candidate of hope and change and post-racial unity. Not.

Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive; and Al Qaeda is on the run. Not quite.

Obamacare? A mess.

Trump vs. Obama in 2016? It happened. And Obama lost. Hillary Clinton was in all essence his surrogate and would have functioned as a third Obama term. American voters decided they had enough.

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