During a recent podcast interview with former senior adviser David Axelrod, President Obama said he was confident he could've won a third term if he were 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.”
We'll never know.
But what we do know is that during Obama's eight years in office, Democrats lost more than 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governorships, and the U.S. Congress — not to mention the 2016 presidential election.
As reported by Daily Mail, comments by South Carolina state Senator Vincent Sheheen (D) — who lost two gubernatorial races to Nikki Haley — suggest that while Obama has won the presidency twice, his policies have crushed Democrats at state and local levels.
“What's happened on the ground is that voters have been punishing Democrats for eight solid years — it's been exhausting. If I was talking about a local or state issue, voters would always lapse back into a national topic: Barack Obama.”
In other words, Democrats have been a whole lot more supportive of Obama himself than of his agenda — and his results.
Simon Rosenberg, president of Democratic think tank New Democratic Network, told Daily Mail: 'The backlash to the Obama presidency was perhaps bigger than any of us really realized."
Three maps from a post-election Washington Post article illustrate the dominance Republicans now have over Democrats in state legislatures:
As Democrats continue to lick their wounds following last month's election—while still arguing over who's to blame for Hillary Clinton's loss — the critical question is, where do they go from here?
Part of the answer is already clear — at least for now. According to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll conducted last week, Democrats want “someone entirely new” in 2020.
Although President Obama will ride off into presidential history in little more than three weeks, his legacy is likely to be fiercely debated for decades to come.