2) Obama’s mania for unpopular policies ran his party into the ground.
The other reason the Democrats had such a poor bench of presidential contenders is that their roster of elected officials has been severely diminished during the Obama years. President Obama’s re-election in 2012 may have been a big success at the top level of politics, but it helped Democrats ignore a series of devastating defeats on every level below that. Over the past eight years, Democrats lost control of both houses of Congress and got shellacked in governors’ races and in state legislatures.
It’s not difficult to explain why. President Obama stubbornly pursued a series of deeply unpopular policies, the crown jewel of which is Obamacare. To pass Obamacare, President Obama sacrificed his party’s congressional majority, on the assumption that the program would prove overwhelmingly popular once it was in place. In reality, Obamacare has vindicated all of its critics’ dire warnings, with a new round of double-digit premium hikes hitting just before Election Day this year.
But Democrats were so busy congratulating themselves on beating Mitt Romney that they totally failed to notice their underlying electoral weakness.
An added level of irony: one of the advisors who encouraged President Obama to ram Obamacare through Congress after it was clear the voters had rejected it was Tim Kaine—who will now, as a result, never be vice president of the United States.