Why Obama Is and Isn't At Fault

One impulse in the hazy hours of the middle of the night was to blame President Obama for the dire straits in which the Democratic Party finds itself today. After all, he has now presided over 3 smashing Republican victories in 4 elections.

It's clear that he did a terrible job at reaching out to and communicating with certain segments of the society. Was the task easy? No. But one could have envisioned him barnstorming areas full of his worst demographics after the 2008 election, the 2010 midterms, or even the 2014 midterms, holding town halls and actually trying to communicate with the voters who found him and his tenure so noxious. Perhaps that might have forestalled their attraction to Donald Trump. 

He also, simply put, never managed to figure out how to excite and bring his voters out to support other Democratic candidates. Not in 2010. Not in 2014. Not (it seems since any turnout numbers we have today are tenuous and will continue to go up) in 2016. He apparently couldn't get them sufficiently engaged in politics to become every election voters. 

The results will be cataclysmic for liberal priorities. Democrats and liberals really haven't been this prostrate in politics since the end of the Hoover presidency in 1933. 

BUT journalists and scholars who make this point are also missing something huge—the Obama so loathed by so many conservatives and blue collar white Americans who dominated elections in 2010, 2014, and 2016 is not the actual Obama. Many of these folks exist in a well documented conservative echo chamber. The Obama they think they know is virtually demonic. He had 0 respect for the presidency, and loathes America. He's a guy who might not even be an American, and who is pushing socialist ideas and dogmas, never mind that his policies never came close to approaching those labels.

I'm not sure that any Democrat could have avoided these labels from those in the echo chamber, because they have every economic incentive to ignore nuance and gray areas, and play to the emotions of their audiences.  

So when blaming President Obama for presiding over the destruction of the Democratic Party, we need to remember this fact, and understand that we are living in 2 parallel Americas right now—both in terms of values, but also in terms of what people know, what they think they of, and what information they receive.