2016 Man of the Year: Barack Obama

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Outgoing President Barack Obama has previously described his desire to be a transformational figure in American politics like the 40th president was—and he succeeded. Indeed, Obama did more for the conservative movement and Republican Party across the United States than any political leader since Reagan himself left the White House.

He took up the mantle of Reagan not by pushing a conservative vision but by doing something more effective: overseeing the disintegration of the Democratic Party.

One just needs to look at the numbers. From when Obama took office in 2008 through the 2016 elections, Democrats have lost 63 seats in the House, 11 seats in the Senate (not including Independents), 13 governorships, and nearly 1,000 seats in state legislatures.

By pushing through big government legislation such as the Affordable Care Act in his first term with a Democrat-controlled Congress, Obama triggered the Tea Party movement that led Republicans to retake the House in 2010. Four years later, weeks before the 2014 midterm elections, Obama declared that his "policies are on the ballot, every single one of them." Republicans proceeded to retake the Senate.

Then, in the final weeks of the 2016 election, Obama campaigned for Hillary Clinton to an unprecedented extent. The president tied his performance in office to the outcome, telling the African-American community in the fall that he "will consider it a personal insult–an insult to my legacy" if they do not vote for Clinton. The country voted Trump into the White House and kept Republican majorities in both chambers of Congress.

After the election, Democratic lawmakers were panicking. One said that the Democratic Party was no longer a national party, noting it has its fewest members in Congress since the 1920s. Another Democratic congressman lamented how the party has "no strategy" and "no plan."

These developments all happened on the watch of President Obama, whose vision of "hope and change" has led the majority of Americans to believe their country is currently heading in the wrong direction.

For helping destroy the Democratic Party, the Washington Free Beacon salutes Barack Obama as one of its men of the year.