Anticipating dismaying election results, the media downplayed the races as much ado about “nothing.” But historians will certainly find meaning in them. It will no doubt strike them as staggering that a president as “historic” and celebrated as Obama found himself a political orphan in his second term, with some Democrats refusing to disclose whether or not they even voted for him.
Obama rose to prominence in 2004 by casting himself as a transcendent figure who could turn red states blue. He didn’t believe in “blue states or “red states” but in the “United States of America.” He is no longer speaking in those terms. On election day this year, in a preemptive attempt to reject the coming defeat as a repudiation of his presidency, he spoke of the intractability of red states.
“There’s no doubt that, when you look at the Senate races, because of the fact only a third of the Senate is up at any given time, it tends to be a little bit arbitrary which seats are really going to be contested and which aren't,” he told the press. “So, for example, in this election cycle, this is probably the worst possible group of states for Democrats since Dwight Eisenhower.”