WASHINGTON — The Obama legacy wasn't supposed to unfold this way.
Barack Obama was changing the political map, pushing the Democratic Party into the South and the Mountain West. He was building a new social network that would endure long after an Obama presidency. And he was building a new Democratic coalition for a new age, with greater turnout from young and minority voters.
Today, those ambitions are in tatters.
Obama's once-vaunted team wound up doing little more than electing him twice. Without Obama on the ticket, Republicans not only soared in 2010 congressional elections, but scored victories broad and deep again in 2014.
"The 2014 election was a major defeat of Democrats — a wave election that will have long-term consequences," says a memo from Democratic strategists James Carville, Stan Greenberg, and Page Gardner, president of the Voter Participation Center, which advocates for single women voters.
A Gallup poll now found Democrats' favorability at its lowest level in the survey's 22-year history. The Democratic National Committee acknowledged the problem as it announced a "top to bottom" review of its operations. The party said in a statement that it "has failed to translate success in presidential years to midterms and off years."
Consider the many facets of Obama's political legacy: