You can go ahead and admit it; it's true. Life was easier for everyone under Obama. Republicans had it easier. Liberals had it easier. The only people that seem to be having a good time with all this are the American Taliban, otherwise known as the far right evangelical, and alt right white supremacists.
It was easier for the Republicans,because it's so easy to hate a guy that exemplifies everything you've been railing against for years: a brown, college educated, liberal/globally minded intellectual with aspirations to bring America into the future. Basically the antithesis to a party that routinely championed the greatness of our country, based primarily on the mythos of Vietnam being our attempt to "bring freedom" and WW2 in which we stopped the Axis of Evil--something that was done primarily with Russian blood, not American, but that is an topic for another day. Obama championed health care for all, reforms for banks, and deescalating our foreign wars.
In 2008, he was called the Anti-Christ, UnAmerican, someone how hates freedom. And that was so easy. It was, in fact, the easiest eight years for the Republican party. They sat back, said, "no," a lot, and spent a great deal of their air time complaining that what Obama was doing would destroy America. Never mind the fact that Obama turned into a real war hawk, expanding the drone program, assassinated an American citizen abroad, and expanded our presence in the Middle East. To the GOP he was the greatest villain they had ever seen.
The reality is this: none of the initiatives that Obama put in place turned out the way the GOP and its satellites like Fox and Info Wars said they would. The ACA was not a death panel; it did not take over health care in America (though it should have). It was a lukewarm jump into socialized health care, opening markets in a way that was previously impossible, and--in many respects--in ways that many of Obama's detractors liked. No previous condition restricts is Obama's legacy. Making it so that health insurers cannot charge women more is also Obama's win. But the ACA did not achieve universal coverage. Costs did not go down. The disparities between an X-ray in America versus an X-ray in Canada is still staggering. Almost as staggering as Obama's change on foreign policy.
Obama's foreign policy was a continuation of what every president has done since Truman: more war for the war machine, less liberty for the free. The only major difference is that spending did not go up after the sequester. But despite that, even under Obama--the peacenik communist Muslim sleeper agent--US spending was still more than it's allies, minus Japan, combined.
Trump makes things a lot harder. Mostly, now the GOP has to do actual work. If the past six months is any indication, writing laws that don't suck is a lot harder than zero sum opposition, especially when you have a party largely high jacked by a large section of the population that does not believe in facts. Case and point, watch this exchange from Raul Labrador here, or Mike Pence's reaction to an HIV outbreak in his home state of Indiana here. Both of these men are proof that republicans will choose their ideology over the good of the people they serve. And the consequences are devastating.
Pence and Labrador are clear markers of how the GOP is great at pushing ideology. It is, in fact, the best. An entire part of the news cycle is built off of a GOP platform, something that Democrats have struggled with since the left leaning (hell, left tumbling) MSNBC still has loose cannons like Rachel Maddow, who spent weeks of her life hitting Obama for expanding the drone program, and many liberals decrying the continuity of domestic surveillance programs here, and here. Really, you can look plug a few key words into google. You'll get a mountain of data.
This solidarity on pro-life, guns, Murica, anti-science--along with a gerrymandered to hell electoral map--is what made 2017 possible. The USA political body is now so conservative, white, and evangelical, one would not be remiss in mistaking us for a Christianity version of Iran; states like Texas clearly already are, and have been for some time with their pro-life and anti-LGBT legislation that shatters basic tenets of our Constitution and Supreme Court rulings like Roe v. Wade. But it is policy know how and smarts that get things done, not a flag waving in the wind or a Bible in your hand. That truth the GOP is yet to learn. Then again, truth has never been their strongest suit.