Today Barack Obama is waking up the reality of one of the worst Democratic defeats in recent history. Voters swept the Republicans to a historic victory in the U.S mid-term elections capturing the House of Representatives and a handful of Senate seats as well.
The comeback came as a surprise to many as experts predicted the party to endure a long stint out of the limelight after Obamas emphatic 2008 presidential election victory.
Instead, the President is facing the harsh reality that times and opinions have changed since his ascent to power. Just two years after Obama won the White House a resurgent Republican Party captured the House of Representatives and gained some Senate seats.
The loss of the House after only four years is the first major setback Obama has faced so far in his relatively untroubled political rise to power. This also signifies the shortest time a party has held the lower chamber since the Republicans kept it for just two years from 1953- 1955.
The loss has resulted in Nancy Pelosi the first female Speaker will now give way to the Republican John Boehner. The idea of a liberal woman for a conservative man is thought to represent the deep shift in US politics highlighted by the midterm results.
The only consolation for the Democrats is that they hold control of the Senate, however only by the skin of their teeth after losing six seats.
The party did however win key races in West Virginia and Nevada. Here the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid pulled off a surprise victory against the Tea Party representative Sharron Angle in one of the most competitively and bitterly fought contests of the campaign.
The party also had success in California where Senator Barbara Boxer defeated her Republican challenger Carly Fiorina. Jerry Brown also beat Meg Whitman to win the California governorship back into Democratic hands after eight years of belonging to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
However, despite these clear wins, the outcome is still undeniably stark for the Democrats. The Republicans will now be able to use their position of power to try and “undo” Obama during the last two years of his presidential term. They may try to undo substantial areas of his legislation achievements such as his landmark healthcare reforms.
There is no question that last nights congressional defeats have shaken the President and his party. Although he remains the favorite to secure re-election in 2012, the recent loss of governorships will have undoubtedly removed the Presidents air of invincibility.