WASHINGTON - The end of Barack Obama's presidency effectively began after the 2010 congressional elections when Republicans took control of the House.
Obama and the Democrats have been tumbling into a political abyss ever since, hurtling toward major Senate losses this fall, if not a decisive Republican takeover of the Democratic-run chamber.
He has been robotically going through the motions of being the president, but he no longer steers the nation's agenda or is seen as a catalyst for change or as a leader who gets things done -- as his job approval polls sink into the low 40s and the lethargic U.S. economy shows no sign of serious improvement.
His grand plan to further push our country in a sharply leftward direction has turned into a disaster for his party. Democrats have been thrown on the defensive as a result of his unpopular healthcare law that is coming apart at the seams, driving up medical insurance costs, and most likely facing some dismantlement in the courts.
Vulnerable, frightened Democrats running for re-election talk now of "fixing" Obamacare rather than preserving it as it is presently shaped -- while Obama orders one year long delay after another in its full implementation in the face of devastating losses in November.
"There is no doubt the Senate outlook has deteriorated significantly in the past six weeks," a Democratic political strategist told the Washington Post last week. "Between the map and the [Affordable Care Act's] unpopularity in the states on the map, it has gone from being a jump ball to advantage Republicans."
The GOP needs to pick up just six additional seats to take control of the chamber, but their odds are now much better than that.
"Eleven Democratic-held [Senate] seats are in peril....a significant expansion even from a few months ago," writes the Post's ace election tracker Chris Cillizza.
If Republicans were to win only in the states that George Romney carried in 2012, "they would be in the majority in 2015" in the Senate, he says.
The newspapers have been filled with stories about how Hillary Clinton is the enthusiastic choice of her party to be their 2016 presidential nominee. Indeed, there is no other serious Democratic candidate on the horizon.
But gushing news stories about her credentials to follow Obama into the White House ignore or downplay a lot of critical issues and political factors that suggest the country may think otherwise.