from Kimberly Strassel in The WSJ, Trump’s Secret Weapon:Obama
All along this election has been portrayed as a referendum on Mr. Trump. Tuesday’s results are far better viewed as a thundering repudiation, at every level, of Mr. Obama’s governing and policies.
In 2009, the president’s first year in office, the Democrats held 257 House seats, a majority that was geographically and politically diverse. After Tuesday the figure stands at 193, and fully one-third of these Democrats hail from three blue states: New York, California and Massachusetts.
The story is equally grim for Democrats in the Senate. In 2009 they held the first filibuster-proof majority since the 1970s, which evaporated in the wake of ObamaCare. Tuesday’s vote was the best chance Democrats will have in years to retake the chamber, but they lost nearly every close race.
When Mr. Obama took office, Democrats owned 29 governorships. After Tuesday it is 15, with ballots in North Carolina’s tight race still being counted. Democrats controlled 60 of the 99 state legislative chambers in 2010. Today it is 30. Now that Republicans have won the Kentucky state House for the first time in 95 years, Democrats no longer control a single legislative chamber in the South. The party of the left will hold the governorship and both chambers in precisely five states.
Let’s not be chintzy: There’s plenty of Democratic blame to go around. Mrs. Clinton could have run a “change” campaign and moved her party back toward the centrism that earned Bill Clinton all those white, working-class voters. She instead catered to the progressive left. One exit poll shows Mrs. Clinton won union households by 2 percentage points, when Mr. Obama carried them by 18. Of the 207 swing counties that went for Mr. Obama only once (in 2008 or 2012), Mr. Trump won 194. This is an utter abandonment of the Democratic Party that Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton led.
Only a few weeks ago we thought the GOP was the dysfunctional party. In light of Strassel’s points it does not seem like Sanders would have done better or that the party should move further left as some are suggesting. If the move was a rejection of both Hillary and the Democrats – and not just a rejection of the deeply flawed Hillary- then the GOP should recognize the fragility of their victory.