"The vision of America as a feudal, theocratic resource-extraction kingdom is an appropriate symbol for the failed, dying creed the opposition represents. That Republicans nominated a candidate running under the slogan 'Make America Great Again' to succeed Obama encapsulates their reactionary nostalgia. The character of the GOP reflects on Obama not only in that it presents a picture of the alternative, but also because it gives the lie to a charge that has hounded the president through both terms: that he shares the blame for polarization, that more compromise or more golf or drinking or dinners could have coaxed the GOP to work constructively. That Republicans chose Donald Trump to represent them, despite urgent warnings from the party Establishment and organs like Fox News, proves that its hatred for Obama transcends legislative specifics. Nobody who has seen the tea party, the shutdowns, and now Trump can maintain that Republican leaders could have struck any compromise on a high-profile issue with the hated opposition president and survived. The base's rage with Obama is essentialist, rooted specifically in racism and more generally in a reactionary yearning for the restoration of crumbling social hierarchy.
"It is also obvious that the pre-Obama America they seek to restore is slipping irrevocably into the past."
Jonathan Chait at New York argues that the "breadth and depth of the transformation wrought by Obama's presidency is vast."