Quote Originally Posted by dcarrigg View Post
But they both did what the lobbyists wanted and blew all the energy and unified government they came in on, and suffered particularly brutal losses in their first midterms partly as a result.

Eventually somebody will get in there, on a big enough wave, and actually do the thing the lobbyists don't want that benefit a majority of the public in real, tangible ways that people like. And that will be the rare president who actually gains seats after their first midterm. In history, they don't all disappoint.
You mentioned "lobbyists," and they continue, as they have since founding of the USA, to lubricate the wheels of the political machinery so that it will turn in ways favorable to their causes. Arguably, however, a much greater influence on the political machinery since 2010 was unleashed by the Citizens United decision. This allowed a handful of mega-donors to make enormous campaign contributions to candidates who reflect their ideological preferences. Since this decision, a handful of deep-pocketed donors (e.g., Mercers, Kochs, Abelsons, etc.) have donated whatever amount of money that they liked, reshaping the political landscape and the policy choices it can offer. While this dims the prospect of, as you say, a brief opportunity for a political shift that benefits the majority, I am guardedly optimistic.