Obama promised hope, but delivered whatever he could in the circumstances. We might be sad to see him go, but this is partly his failure too. And Bill’s.
This is not just a ‘whitelash’ (though clearly this was a substantial dog-whistled part of the rhetorical / geographical strategy that took Trump to the Oval Office), it is also a hearty rejection of the politics of compromise.
One can blame those who voted for the Greens or Libertarians, but the damage may have been done earlier on by Sanders. The threat of the Left's own brand of populist protest probably conned Hillary into preaching to the converted and neglecting her so-called blue wall around the rust belt. In the end not only did she not build on Obama's performance with women and hispanics, she also lost the white working classes in crucial swing states.
I suppose Trump can now use Congress as a ready-made excuse for stepping back from some of his more outrageous policy suggestions - the ones that delivered the base. The party now has to work out how and when to betray the men in baseball caps. Part of the oddness of this moment is just not knowing how wedded Trump has become to the populist import of his own words.
Anyway, the last couple of times I felt such a disgusto at the conclusion of an election campaign - Bush and Pérez Molina - I also speculated that things might not work out so bad after all. But they did.