The Rushmore Report: The Historic Decline of the Democratic Party


As President Obama prepares to leave office, his party is smaller, weaker, and ricketier than it has been since at least the 1940s. The Democratic Party has frittered away tremendous power – from 2009 through the aftermath of the 2016 elections. The decline of the Democratic Party is indisputable and historic. For those who think the Democratic Party is not in crisis, the following data will destroy this fallacious argument.

  • Democrats surrendered the White House to a political neophyte.
  • Democrats’ seats in the Senate have slipped from 55 to 46 – down 16 percent.
  • Democrats’ House seats have dropped from 256 to 194 – down 24 percent.
  • In 2009, Democrats controlled the House and Senate. Now they control neither.
  • Governorships have dropped from 28 to 16 – down 43 percent.
  • State legislatures plunged from 27 to 14 – down 48 percent.
  • States with Democratic governors and legislatures are down from 17 to 6 – off 65 percent.

Since FDR, eight presidents have served at least two terms or bowed to their vice presidents due to death or resignation. Among them, Obama ranks eighth (last) in total state legislative seats that his party preserved during his tenure.

Obama has supervised the net loss of 959 such Democratic positions, down 23.5 percent, according to Ballotpedia, which generated most of the data cited here. This far outpaces the 843 net seats the Republicans yielded under President Eisenhower.

By this measure, Ronald Reagan is No. 1. While he was president, Republicans gained six statehouse seats.

In terms of boosting his party’s state-level strength, Obama is the worst president since World War II. Reagan is he best.

“My legacy’s on the ballot,” Obama said in September, just as he had said before the shellacking his party received in the 2014 midterms.

Democrats have paid the ultimate price. The political cadavers of more than 1,000 Democratic incumbents and nominees, from Hillary Clinton on down, confirm that Obama is poison at the polls.

Rather than enjoy a traditional, low-key post-presidency in Chicago, Obama plans to hunker down in Washington, D.C., comment on current events, and counsel his party’s candidates and officeholders. Democrats should find this as appetizing as dinner cooked by Typhoon Mary.

About the author

Deroy Murdock is an American political commentator and a contributing editor with the National Review. Murdock is a first-generational American, with roots in Costa Rica.


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