Ross Douthat writes:
How Obama Lost America
NOV. 1, 2014THE 2014 midterms have featured many variables and one constant. Whether they’re running as incumbents or challengers, campaigning in blue or red or purple states, Democratic candidates have all been dragging an anchor: a president from their party whose approval ratings haven’t been north of 45 percent since last October.The interesting question is why. You may recall that Mitt Romney built his entire 2012 campaign strategy around the assumption that a terrible economy would suffice to deny Barack Obama a second term. Yet throughout 2012, with the unemployment rate still up around 8 percent, Obama’s approval numbers stayed high enough (the mid-to-upper 40s) to ultimately win. Whereas today the unemployment rate has fallen to 6 percent, a number Team Obama would have traded David Axelrod’s right kidney for two years ago, but the White House hasn’t benefited: The public’s confidence is gone, and it doesn’t seem to be coming back.So when and how was it lost? When President Bush’s second-term job approval numbers tanked, despite decent-at-the-time economic numbers, the explanation was easy: It was Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. But nothing quite so pat presents itself in Obama’s case, so here are four partial theories instead.He gets blamed for Republican intransigence. …It’s the economy — yes, still …It’s Obamacare — yes, still. …It’s foreign policy — and competence.
Isn’t this missing a fifth reason? Who knows what will happen on Tuesday, but at the moment isn’t 2014 looking like payback for 2012?s successful campaign by Democrats to unite the fringes
of the American body politic over the one thing they can agree upon: their resentment of the core
? The Democrats and their partners in the press have devoted immense efforts to demonizing that root of all evil: cisgendered straight native non-Hispanic white males.
And, indeed, that kind of Coalition of Hatred works pretty well at turning out fringe citizens during the hoopla of a Presidential election year. But it doesn’t work as well during boring off-years when only the solider citizens bother to do their civic duty.
But, we shall see …