The Republican political machine spent over 30 years rigging both our economy and government in favor of corporations and the Super Rich. The result has been a badly broken economy with constantly dropping standards of living for the formerly large middle classes and a democracy severely undermined by corporate money.
After the 2010 Republican tide, corporatism hiding behind a fake "Tea Party populist image" runs everything. Expect things for working Americans to get much worse real fast.
The Republican Party blamed the economic collapse under Bush on Obama. The republicans drove the car (economy) in the ditch. Using their filibuster power in the Senate (along with "Democrat in Name Only" Ben Nelson), they stopped the Obama White House and the Democratic majorities in Congress from making all the fundamental changes needed to fix our economy.
While the Democrats were trying to fix our economy (pull the car out of the ditch and get it going), Republicans were busy cutting the tires on the tow truck and sugaring the gas tank so the engine would not run. Their goal was not to make things better for the vast majority of Americans. It was to regain power to protect corporations and the Super Rich.
It worked. The Republicans played the American public for suckers!