Election 2014

No Matter Who Wins the 2014 Midterm Elections, Obama Loses

Both major parties are due for resets and everybody is running against his agenda.

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The consensus of the polls and models is that the GOP is a clear favorite to win majority control of the Senate and pick up several seats in the House in today's midterm election. It's possible, if not exactly likely, that the polls are wrong, systematically biased against Democrats, who could still pull off a victory—or at least a less glaring defeat.

Yet either way, there's one thing we can be sure of today: No matter who wins, Barack Obama loses.

If Republicans win big, it will have been after running a tireless campaign against the president. The GOP's first line of attack against virtually all of its opponents this cycle has been to play up connections to the White House. President Obama's unpopularity, especially with swing voters in contested elections, has been the Republican party's most potent weapon by far.

President Obama is not on the ballot, but his unpopularity has given the GOP a huge boost and dragged his own party down. When a reporter from Bloomberg Politics asked a Republican strategist who the GOP's best surrogate was, the strategist responded—not entirely jokingly—that it was President Obama. Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza talked to more than a dozen Democratic campaign strategists and found not only "widespread pessimism" about the party's chances, but agreement on the biggest factor: "The one factor that virtually every person I talked to cited as the biggest reason for the party's predicament was President Obama." This is not just a Republican talking point. It's what Democrats working on campaigns are saying.

A Republican sweep will vindicate the party's all-in anti-Obama strategy. But if Democrats perform better than expected, it still won't be a success for the president.

That's because Democrats in close races have spent much of this campaign attempting to distance themselves from Obama. Little more than a third of Democrats have expressed clear support for Obamacare, and several, including Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes, have refused to even say who they voted for. In Colorado, Democratic Senator Mark Udall has tried to portray himself as oppositional to the White House. "Let me tell you, the White House when they look down the front lawn the last person they want to see coming is me," he said in September. In Alaska, Democratic Sen. Mark Begich declared himself a "a thorn in his [posterior]." A recent rally for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) feature a parade of speakers attempting to "distance Landrieu from President Barack Obama and instead associate her with Clinton," according to The Huffington Post.

This has been the defining aspect of the Democrats' strategy in close races: Avoid looking close to Obama, even if doing so looks ridiculous. Better that than an association with the president.

The White House has, not surprisingly, been slow to accept the reality of the president's declining popularity, with loyalists insisting that Obama, who has largely stuck to fundraisers, could have helped more on the campaign. Democrats have not exactly appreciated the White House's efforts. "The ineptitude of the White House political operation has sunk from annoying to embarrassing," an anonymous Democratic aide told National Journal's Josh Kraushaar last month.

Obama himself has attempted to counter efforts by Democrats to separate themselves from him. "Make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot, every single one of them," he said last month. "These are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress," he said of Democratic candidates running away from his record.

Indeed, they have. And that's why it's important to understand is that, no matter which way the election goes, this isn't just a generalized rejection of Obama, although favorable impressions of the president recently hit a record low. It's a rejection of Obama's policies. The public still opposes Obamacare. And clear majorities disapprove of the president's handling of both the economy and foreign policy.

On average, according to RealClearPolitics, just 41.8 percent of the public approves of the job the president is doing overall, while 53.4 percent disapproves. Every poll in the average shows disapproval at 50 percent or higher. The Obama era is coming to a close, and the public has rendered a negative verdict. 

That has implications for the next two years, as well as for the 2016 presidential race.

Part of what it means is that if underdog Democrats overperform, they won't be able to continue to provide much cover for President Obama. The Democratic nominee, meanwhile, won't be able to simply promise a third Obama term. Democrats will have to separate themselves from the Obama legacy.

Thanks to years of all-out opposition, Republicans won't have that problem. But the anti-Obama barrage has come at the cost of a well-developed GOP agenda, meaning that Republicans will have little in the way of a clear mandate should they win. The 2016 nominee will need to do more than run against the last eight years. 

Both parties, in other words, are due for resets, and this election offers multiple opportunities for new beginnings on both sides of the aisle. But regardless of what happens, it's over for Obama.

NEXT: Chris Christie Campaigning for Corbett in Pennsylvania

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  1. I’m pretty sure the real loser is us. If the republicans do get the landslide victory today it will reinforce the idea that they can kick the small government wing of the party around without any negative consequences. I doubt they’ll do anything to actually shrink government, and we’ll keep limping towards the cliff. The prog tears will be delicious though.

    1. These days I’m in it for the tears… precious, precious tears.

      1. Even though I know the Republicans won’t do anything if they win, those progressive tears will be delicious.

        It’s always more fun watching the progs lose, they really act like it’s going to be some sort of Kochocalypse.

      2. Ditto. It’s over. Now I’m in it for the schadenfreude.

    2. I’m pretty sure the real loser is us.

      This. And even if the Repubs don’t win big, you can bet those Dems trying to distance themselves from Obama in their campaign speeches will forget all about that and fall in line to the detriment of the ‘us’.

    3. That was my first thought too.

      And why we are the real loser is fuck you that’s why.

    4. ” kick the small government wing of the party around without any negative consequences. I doubt they’ll do anything to actually shrink government”

      They’ll tell you guys that they are for limited government and then tell you we need a trillion dollar defense budget to fight evil kimjongilalquedaputin. You’ll probably never pick up on it.

      “The prog tears will be delicious though.”

      Nah. To quote a conservative: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” If you make less than 50k a year and aren’t a student and think that your vote is sticking it to libruls you are a fucking moron. I couldn’t care less.

      1. “If you make less than 50k a year and aren’t a student and think that your vote is sticking it to libruls you are a fucking moron. ”

        Salty socialist tears and denial.

        1. Ok, that was harsh and I shouldn’t have made a vicious personal jab. So my apologies.

      2. american socialist|11.4.14 @ 9:42AM|#
        I WANT FREE SHIT!!!!!!!! WAAAAH!!!!!
        AND I’LL HOLD MY BREATH IF I DON’T GET IT!!!!!!!

        Got it, dipshit; infantile lefty behavior.

      3. “If you make less than 50k a year and aren’t a student and think that your vote is sticking it to libruls you are a fucking moron. I couldn’t care less.”

        What a moronic, team first. statement.

        Anyone making 50k or less is going to see their wages depressed even further with a labor pool expanded by the millions of workers being imported into the US by the libruls who care so much about the little people.

        AmSociall you should read Boomeritis” by Ken Wilber. He is a liberal who wrote about the liberal world view mindset and why it is so devastating to the groups it purports to help.

        It should be a mind opener for you to see yourself held up before a mirror and exposed for what you really are by one of your own.

        1. Why do none of you idiots realize that the status quo favors saturation of cheap immigrant labor, and that immigration reform is meant (in part) to address that?

          1. Who cares what it actually does. We’ve got intentions on our side!

            Even when I agree with you, you’re still an embarrassment.

          2. Tony|11.4.14 @ 11:11AM|#
            “Why do none of you idiots realize that the status quo favors saturation of cheap immigrant labor, and that immigration reform is meant (in part) to address that?”

            Why do assholes like you pretend to care?

          3. Bcause the status quo doesn’t “favor” it.

            Handing out amnesty to millions does favor it however.

            Tony how old were you when your father abandoned you/your family ?

            You would expand your mind also with an open minded read of Boomeritis. It’s description fits you to a Tee.

      4. T’was fucking H.L.Mencken who said that and his misanthropy went well and rightly beyond “conservative” and “liberal”, which designations I will say without research (my favorite kind of saying) he viewed as worms and grubs: slightly different and equally appetizing baits for the informed American voter.

  2. Of course it matters. Democrats may be running against his agenda, but they will vote for it after they are elected.

    1. Exactly right. All Dems strong suite is lying through their teeth.

  3. When the Democrats took the house in ’06, and everything else in ’08, they certainly ruled like they were going to be a permanent majority. A lot of congress critters fell on their swords in ’10 for Obamacare which is pretty funny given the unpopularity of such an clusterfuck of a law. Oops.

    I’m surprised that Obama was able to pull out a win in ’12, but the chickens hadn’t come home to roost quite yet. Now Obama is damaged goods – I certainly wouldn’t trust the man if I had to make any sort of bargain with him.

    What will Hillary run on in ’16? Just better uh, government? This time my iron fist will do the right thing?

    1. Oh what difference now, does it make?

    2. I have a question: if Hillary runs in 2016, will her supporters completely ignore the war question, given her hawkishness? Will they defend her support for a militant foreign policy? Will the Left swing so far in favor of the military industrial complex that the Right will have to go back to its Robert-Taft-era noninterventionism?

      Honestly, I miss the antiwar Right. Their reasons for opposing war were both deeply moral and pragmatic. Whenever the Left talks about peace, it’s always in the most unintelligent, hippie-ish manner imaginable.

      Walter Jones is, in my mind, the ideal conservative. When I label myself a conservative, that’s the kind of person I have in mind.

      1. Look what happened to the Anti-War Movement when Obama entered office. It was mostly composed of partisan Democrats and collapsed upon the election of Obama despite the escalation we pursued in Afghanistan and incursions in other countries like Libya. Antiwar/Non-interventionist Democrats are a relatively weak part of the broader party coalition, but this viewpoint is even more weakly represented within the GOP. New voices like Paul and Amash are refreshing on this issue, but both parties still have a long way to go.

        1. I’d disagree. I can think of more noninterventionist, pro-peace Republicans (Rand, Amash, Jones) than I can Democrats. Heck, Jones stood up to the Bush presidency, as did Jimmy Duncan. Democrats? They’re too buy kissing Obama’s presidential ring to hold him accountable.

          1. The names you mention are very prominent exceptions. Votes like this (http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2011/roll193.xml) make me skeptical of the GOP as a whole.

      2. War is only bad if “BUSH !!!!!!!111”

      3. ” if Hillary runs in 2016, will her supporters completely ignore the war question, given her hawkishness? “

        Yes.

        next question?

        1. GILMORE|11.4.14 @ 12:54PM|#

          ” if Hillary runs in 2016, will her supporters completely ignore the war question, given her hawkishness? ”

          Yes.
          *********************
          +50

          Sometimes we’d like a good smarty answer to give, but dammit, you can’t ignore the glaring true one. Good job.

    3. “What will Hillary run on in ’16?”

      1st Female President in US History & Anyone not voting for me Hates Women.

      1. Nah, she’s above that. She’d never stoop to that level.

        Seriously, can we find a minority candidate to run in 2016? Justin Amash is of Syrian-Palestinian ancestry. That could work.

        I long for the day when conservatives get to play the race card. Dems won’t know what hit ’em.

        1. Nope. If they’re conservative, their “authenticity” comes into question. “Ain’t black enough.”, “Tamil? That ain’t a minority.” etc, etc.

          The progs have set it up so the only “minority” that counts is “black, Democratic, and follows every rule set down by the Party”.

          Any other race, or any deviance from “real brothah” political positions and it just doesn’t count. I dunno how they got in the positionmake the rule, but that’s how it works.

          Here in Utah, we have a wonderful, young, conservative, liberterian-ish (and pretty) Republican name Mia Love running against an establishment Democrat.(and to be an “establishment Democrat” in Utah you kind of have to be a double-whore). The day before the election, social medial just accidentally blew up with a vid of a guy waving a confederate flag at one of her speeches…she may lose because she’s a ‘coward’. Presumably for not having the man ejected and beaten…and as my sons report, every one of the people they spoke to, who expressed this opinion, were supporters of “minority candidates”!!

          Oh narrow indeed is the gate…

          1. Gee…I kinda left out the fact that she’s black.

            Bad Joke Telling 101

  4. “But regardless of what happens, it’s over for Obama.”

    I do like Mr. Suderman, but this observation of his is not exactly breaking news. It’s been all over but the vandalism for quite a while.

  5. The author is wrong. If the Dems win, they will kiss and make up with Obama and continue to support his corrupt policies.

    Everyone that is trying to distance themselves are doing so, not because they disagree, but because they want to be re-elected.

    1. Tongue kiss or mere avuncular peck on the cheek kiss?

      1. Butt-cheek smooch or actual rim-job?

        These are prog, y’know.

  6. Maybe the reason why Begich, Grimes, Landrieu, and Udall are going to lose is because progressives, who think the president has done a good job, don’t have any reason to vote for them. I gave money to several candidates this year– all of which are going to probably win– and all of whom support Obama.

    1. Yes, that 95% with Obama is keeping progs from voting for them. Perhaps it’s because they are all creepy fuckers. Have you seen them?

    2. This is even stupider than your usual “contribution”.

      Thanks for setting the standard lower. Again.

      1. According to AS progs vote for the man and not the policies. The mask slips.

    3. american socialist|11.4.14 @ 9:30AM|#
      “Maybe the reason why Begich,”

      Hi, dipshit! Have you paid your mortgage yet? Still got a woody for mass murderers?
      Just checking to make sure you remain a worthloe4ss PoS.

  7. So, if the Democrats win, it’s because they distanced themselves from Obama, and if the Democrats lose, it’s because the Republicans bashed them and their ties to Obama?

    LOL

    After the midterms, Democrats won’t run relative to Obama anymore. The next election won’t be about Obama–it’ll be about Hillary and Democrats in Congress differentiating themselves from Republicans.

  8. Udall does have some good moves though.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bUY4LOfBnCA

    1. His political ads were truly disgusting this year. I hope that Gardner sticks it to him.

  9. I really don’t care if the lying bastard ‘loses’; he’s already stuck US with the biggest loss since, oh, that equally mendacious LBJ.

  10. Even if the Dems lose, they’ll cheat enough to make it look like they didn’t lose very badly.

  11. The Obama era is coming to a close, and the public has rendered a negative verdict.

    Compare this to what we were hearing in 2007. It’s absolutely astounding what people said thought at the time. We can only hope some of them have developed a healthy dose of skepticism.

    1. *said and thought

  12. Tied senate races in a bunch of red states. As has been the case for many years now, Republicans are the least popular of all. There is absolutely no reason to believe they will be able to manage a “governing agenda” with majorities in both houses. The moron wing of their party isn’t going away, and, as morons, they will put what they think of as principle above good politics. Since their only principle is that Obama is the devil, I predict a move for impeachment. Which will be good for historians. Two in a row is something solid for them to grasp when they’re forming the narrative of the batshit crackup of the GOP.

    1. “Tied senate races in a bunch of red states. ”

      LOL, what a denial of reality.

      “The moron wing of their party isn’t going away, and, as morons, they will put what they think of as principle above good politics. ”

      Yes, this is a decent point. Of course, it also sums up the policies of the Obama administration as well.

      “Two in a row is something solid for them to grasp when they’re forming the narrative of the batshit crackup of the GOP.”

      And again back to the denial of reality. You’ve got to pretty far down that road to be talking about the “crackup of the GOP” on a day when it’s likely that they’ll gain seats in the House and take control of the Senate.

      1. They lost the total popular vote while winning the House majority last time, so in a very real sense they had to cheat to win, and they’re still operating from the same map. It’s an illegitimate majority, even if a legal one. And they’re practically tied in a bunch of red states for the senate. The map is favorable to them beyond their sheer cheating. I didn’t say they couldn’t win elections. I said they’re in the process of cracking up. If only real people could be spared the consequences. Inhofe chairing the Environment committee? It’s like they know it’s all a big joke.

        1. If they lost the popular vote, but won the House majority according to the rules, in no sense did they cheat.

        2. Why do democrats keep bringing that stupid argument up? We don’t vote for parties, so the total votes for a given party means nothing.

          1. *Why do democrats keep bringing that stupid argument up? We don’t vote for parties, so the total votes for a given party means nothing*

            No kidding. It’s as if they don’t realize that winning 120% of NYC, LA, DC and Philly is what gives them a “majority” of the population, and that our political system is set up the way it is EXACTLY to counter the rest of us being ruled by 3-4 large cities.

          2. You vote R, almost straight ticket, almost always.

            1. Careful, your ignorance is showing.

        3. They lost the total popular vote while winning the House majority last time, so in a very real sense they had to cheat to win

          They didn’t have to “cheat”. Our system of government is not intended or designed to give the majority what it wants.

        4. Do you understand anything about geography, demographics, or the electoral system?

    2. Tony|11.4.14 @ 10:53AM|#
      …”The moron wing of their party isn’t going away”….

      Unlike the moronic branch of team blue, represented right here by our fave lefty asshole.

      1. I admit I’m not quite clever enough to figure out how you manage to type even your usual incoherent childspeak with your head lodged where it is. Good job!

        1. Tony|11.4.14 @ 11:14AM|#
          “I admit I’m not quite clever enough”….

          Far enough, asshole, far enough.

    3. Your prediction about their being unwilling to put politics above principles says more about you than it does them.

    4. The moron wing of the Republicans is about 10% of the party. But, the morons in the Dems….it’s pretty much all of them, isn’t it?

      Tony, how could you vote for a party so filled with corruption? How can you support them in any way? How can you support Reid? Pelosi? Obama? Sibelius? And, so on. These are very, very stupid people who should not be in charge of running a corner grocery store, and they’re running the biggest, most complex organization in world history.

      1. That’s simple – Tony is one of those people who thinks the ends justify the means. And in order to excuse that he tells himself that everyone else is the same way.

        1. This. The ends justifies the means is the greater of the two evils. We reject this constantly in terms of morality in society (rape for instance) but somehow think if we use this mentality for governance it’s okay.

          And oh yeah, fuck off Tony. Six years later you still blame Bush and the neocons for our woes. Donkey or Elephant they still smell like shit.

  13. Look at it this way; if the Proggies continue to win, they are doomed anyway. They have only the very slightest idea of how and when to use military force, so they will continue to bungle tne middle east, ensuring a major successful attack on US soil at some point soon. When that happens, all multiculturalist post-colonialismis going on the ash heap of history. We will not be a particularly nice Imperial Power, and freedom is going to take a serious hit, but it will be comfortable for our lifetimes, and the Proggies are going to be treated as badly as they CLAIMED Bush was treating them.

    1. The Left, much like their counterparts in the French Revolution, will set up the machine of dictatorship…then a right-wing Napoleon will waltz in and take the controls.

      Fun.

  14. ‘Obama loses’ riiiight. He’ll probably have to move out of the White House.

    In January of 2017, when Hillary moves in.

  15. No matter who wins the midterm elections we all lose. We all lose because our system of governance, our economic system, and our culture are a reflection of a society where vice, corruption, greed, anger, false victimization, and the inability to use the mind to search and settle onto the truth that it cannot be sustained.

  16. If the Democrats lose, and I believe they will, Americans will suffer the wrath of a petulant, narcissistic, egomaniac Baracko Bomba and his ‘Fast and Furious’ pen and phone via Executive Orders the likes this country has never seen before.

  17. If the Repubs win a couple of things might happen: 1. Obama vetoes everything that crosses his desk. 2. Obama goes AWOL and golfs for two years, and couldn’t care less who is upset by this. 3. Obama tries to sign away the country via Exec Orders.

    If 1. and 3. happen he gets impeached. Republicans are called racist forever, even after it is found out he actually is a Muslim, anti-American, and wasn’t born in the USA.

    1. But then the Republicans would lose the presidency in 2016. Unfortunately I don’t think they’d be willing to take one for the good of the country. They like that power thing as well as the Dems do.

    2. Dude he’s been doing 2 and 3 for awhile now.

    3. I’m fine with 1 and 2.

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