As Republicans rejoice after recapturing the Senate, defeated Democrats are blaming the man they tried to distance themselves from. Aides and strategists complain that President Obama nationalized the election despite his low approval ratings, allowing Republicans to make the election all about the president. Obama—who said last month that "every single one" of his policies was on the ballot—was "dragging candidates down across the country," a Senate Democratic aide tells the Hill. "It was a tough map to start with and his numbers were especially bad in these states, making it that much harder to overcome."
The president is expected to speak today, but the White House has already insisted that the vote wasn't a referendum on the president, Politico reports. It's not a "particularly controversial notion to cite that most voters I think are deciding who to vote for based on the name that's on the ballot, not the name that's not," White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters yesterday. The Republican strategy of making the election all about Obama has paid off, the Washington Post notes, but the party had to get the right candidates for it to work. "We had to recruit candidates, and we had to train them," says the chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "We had to modernize creaky campaigns. And we had to prevent the mistakes that have plagued our party."