Whose Shrinking Island?

Yesterday President Obama riffed in front of a Democratic audience, attacking the only enemies he cares about–Republicans. He described Republicans as “extreme,” and said, among other things, “Washington Republicans are alone on their own shrinking island.”

Put aside the hatefulness for a moment. Like so much that Obama says, this characterization is delusional. National Journal published this map of the United States, by Congressional district, after the 2014 election. It can easily be seen that one of our parties is turning into a “shrinking island,” but it isn’t the Republicans:


Currently, Republicans control the House by a whopping 247-188 margin, and the Senate 54-46. But those aren’t the most important numbers: at the state level, the GOP is more dominant than it has been for almost a century. As of 2015, 32 states have Republican governors, compared with only 18 that are governed by Democrats. Republicans control a stunning 68 of the nation’s 98 partisan legislative chambers, more than double the Democrats’ 30 chambers.

One of America’s parties is turning, increasingly, into a Washington, D.C.-based island that has alienated most voters. But that describes the Democrats, not the Republicans, and Barack Obama is a major reason for the Democrats’ downhill slide. But neither self-knowledge nor contact with reality has ever been a strong suit for President Obama.