I'm sorry to be an annoying outsider here as a non-American, but my pet peeve about political discussions in the United States is this absurd belief that all correlation implies total causation - "Say what you want about the Yugo, but when I drove a Yugo the economy went really well". It's a great way to remove all meaning from a discussion.
Discuss the facts of the matter - the concrete decisions made, the changes in culture - and the direct and indirect outcomes of those. That's how you get closer to a good answer. And the clear and obvious reality is that the Republican party has - to a far greater extent than the Democratic party - made the strategic choice to put the popularity of the party above the general welfare of the nation, by eagerly jumping at a chance to obstruct the political system to hinder its work in a manner which - to the casual observer - seem to make the Democrats look bad by impeding their agenda.
This is possible because the press will not criticise the Republicans for fear of being branded partisan. Commercial censorship at its best. This is not a partisan statement even if it is primarily a criticism of a single political party. Objectivity is not the belief that both parties are always equally poor.