By: John Blosser
Since he first took office, President Barack Obama has legislatively decimated the Democratic Party, losing more seats under his watch than any president since Harry Truman.
From 2008, Democrats have forfeited at least 69 House seats, and that number could increase as unsettled midterm election results are announced, The Hill reports.
Add to that the loss of 13 Democratic seats in the Senate during Obama’s six years in the White House, and it becomes obvious that Democratic candidates who blame Obama’s negative influence for their loss have a legitimate complaint.
David Krone, chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The Washington Post, “The president’s approval rating is barely 40 percent. What else more is there to say? He wasn’t going to play well in North Carolina or Iowa or New Hampshire. I’m sorry. It doesn’t mean that the message was bad, but sometimes the messenger isn’t good.”
David Gergen, adviser to four presidents and now a CNN political analyst, told CNN, “It should be sobering for the White House that when Obama took office, Democrats had 59 senators and 256 House members. After Tuesday night, they will likely have 45-47 senators and some 190 House members. That is one of the biggest slides in congressional seats of any modern president.
“Surely, [Obama’s] White House has to take serious responsibility â€” and look for ways to leave a better legacy.
“The verdicts in the 2014 midterm races make it clear that President Barack Obama cannot simply blame Democratic losses on a bad map.”
The Hill noted that two midterms, the disastrous (for Democrats) midterm of 2010, when Democrats lost 63 seats and Republicans won control of the House, and the current midterm have taken Obama’s record back to the Truman days.
Democrats under Truman lost 83 House seats in two midterms in 1946 (55 seats) and 1950 (28 seats). After that, Eisenhower dropped 66 seats in l954 and l958, but no president since Truman has equaled Obama’s loss of seats, the Rothenberg Political Report states.
“Are the Democrats’ losses due to the increasingly partisan nature of our elections and the makeup of the past two Senate classes,” Rothenberg asked, “or is the president at least partially to blame because he failed to show leadership on key issues and never successfully moved to the political center?
“The answer, most obviously, is, ‘Yes.'”
John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for Slate, wrote, “The Republican Party had one strategy it followed in nearly every Senate race: Run against the president. It paid off. Democratic candidates couldn’t get out of the president’s shadow. The 2014 election was less an endorsement of Republican ideas and more a rejection of a president in the sixth year of his presidency.”
And The Washington Post commented, “Years of midterm election losses have shown that the president’s party, and his popularity, are deeply important indicators of chances in midterm elections. This year, the weight of Obama’s standing proved too much for many Democrats.”