Barack Obama Won The White House, But Democrats Lost The Country. What Happened?

… In his eight years in office, Obama oversaw the rapid erosion of the Democratic Party’s political power in state legislatures, congressional districts and governor’s mansions. At the beginning of Obama’s term, Democrats controlled 59 percent of state legislatures, while now they control only 31 percent, the lowest percentage for the party since the turn of the 20th century. They held 29 governor’s offices and now have only 16, the party’s lowest number since 1920.

A look back at the Obama era shows that the party’s big-tent message was both working and backfiring at the same time. The raw numbers seemed to add up to Democratic power, but in American politics, two plus two can add up to four — or, just as easily, to being up crap creak in a leaky canoe. The same national trends that allowed Obama to win two terms — and Clinton to win the popular vote in 2016 — hurt Democrats in statehouses, governor’s mansions and congressional districts. …

Now, as the Democrats rend their hearts and garments, the biggest question they must consider is what can be done to harness the potential of those already assembled under the tent, balance their geographically lopsided coalition, and do so during a time of pitched racial and economic debate. CONT.

Clare Malone, FiveThirtyEight