Since Obama took office in 2009, Democratic majorities have disappeared nationwide, fueled in no small measure by his unpopularity.
Democrats controlled 257 House seats at the start of Obama’s first term; in 2015, their ranks could dip as low as 187. In the Senate, Democrats went from 59 seats (including two independents) to as few as 45 in 2015.
Tuesday not only ushered in more Republican governors, but at least 300 more state legislators.
In 2009, Democrats controlled 62 legislative chambers, compared with 30 in 2015, bringing the GOP dominance in state capitals to levels not seen since 1920, said Tim Storey of the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“Republicans ran the table,” Storey said.
The long-term problem for Democrats is the GOP stronghold in state legislatures weakens their bench of future rising stars. State governments have traditionally been the proving grounds for future members of Congress.
Republicans in all corners of the US tied their opponents to Obama’s unpopularity and policies.
“Barack Obama has been our best surrogate,” boasted Rob Collins, executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.