I don't see how the president's party affiliation makes a difference. We have one that plays a lot of golf so that's a plus, anyway. The game will never grow under the country club system, and no new country clubs are going to be built. I am not surprised so many are closing down since public courses so often offer memberships at a better rate and there are many more to choose from.
People don't have the same lifestyle anymore. We're too busy to play a lot of golf in most cases for those who can afford it, and the country club lifestyle doesn't appeal to everyone. There are plenty who want to play golf casually and country clubs are too big an investment for almost any casual players. Not to mention, many clubs have a bad reputation because some are exclusive of certain groups; even though that's a small minority now, people associate them with snobbery and most people don't want to be a part of them. People basically play in leagues or groups that they organize if they want to, and you basically run into the same group of people if you habitually play the same course at the same times.
On Long Island, we have some of the most exclusive and prestigious clubs around, as well as a lot of old money families. I will probably never be able to play Shinnecock Hills unless I qualify for a US Open, earn billions in the stock market, save a Kennedy's life or pay 5 figures at a charity auction, despite the course being an hour away. Yet I can play Bethpage Black which is 15 minutes away, for under 70 bucks as long as I'm willing to wait in line (Or I can go 15 minutes the other way and play and practice for free at my course). Both are amazing courses that are literally ancient by American standards, but one is willing to be enjoyed by actual golfers while the other would rather remain an enigma.
For me, public courses are better due to the lower costs and more open atmosphere. I don't really play golf to socialize with other golfers, and I do play unlimited golf during off peak times. I don't have a locker for my clubs there, or overpriced merchandise, and they don't manicure the course like some places, but I don't really care as long as they keep cutting the grass.