From Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal, Why The Democrats Lost:
Fifty years from now, no one will remember the names of the one-term Democratic senators or candidates who were washed out in the 2014 midterm elections—Hagan, Udall, Braley and the others. What they will remember is that the Democrats in 2014 became the party of a modern Herbert Hoover. In Barack Obama , they were led by a detached president whose name history will attach to a prolonged, six-year economic catastrophe. They became the party of economic despair. The party of economic despair will always lose.
That is the one certain thing we learned in the 2014 midterms: Low economic growth in the modern U.S. economy is a total, across-the-board, top-to-bottom political loser.
That reality killed the Democrats. If there’s one economist’s term of art the average person learned in the Obama era, it is“labor force participation rate.” It’s not good.
For decades after World War II, the U.S. economy had an annual average growth rate of 3.3%. Here are the growth rates for each year of the Obama presidency (World Bank data):
2009: -2.8%; 2010: 2.5%; 2011: 1.8%; 2012: 2.8%; 2013: 1.9%
You preside over that performance, you lose. The 2014 growth uptick arrived too late to save the Democrats. The economy was a spent political force for them.
The Obama economic policy has had essentially two prongs: 1) the 2009 stimulus bill’s Keynesian Multiplier (the government spends, and new jobs appear); and 2) let the Federal Reserve figure out the rest.
Democratic economists and pundits will still argue for their spend-and-hire theory. Feel free. But after this week’s political blowout, John Maynard’s magic multiplier goes back on the ash heap of history. The Obama Fed, meanwhile, continues its mysterious, five-year strategy of suffocating the interest-bearing savings of middle-class voters.
Voters are poor at clarifying what they do want, but they can be crystal clear at what they do not want. This is true on both the economy and foreign policy.