LOSER: Baby boomers. The Clinton-Gore team became the first all-baby-boomer ticket to gain re-election to the presidency and vice-presidency. But the rest of their generation might not be so lucky. The president scarcely mentioned Social Security during his campaign, though he indicated he would appoint a commission to grapple with the program's long-term funding problems. Among the likely changes: delaying the retirement age for baby boomers, perhaps to 70.
WINNER: Al Gore. The vice president now becomes the nominee-in-waiting for the year 2000. All he has to do is hope that the second term doesn't degenerate into scandal, that he doesn't get splashed with too much mud for having attended that fund-raiser at a Buddhist temple and that the economy keeps rolling for four more years without a recession.
LOSER: Jack Kemp. After starting the fall campaign as the early Republican presidential favorite for 2000, Dole's running mate faded from view. So have his prospects. He wasn't much of a factor in the final analysis and isn't getting credit for Dole's marginally better-than-expected showing in the popular vote (The Republican ticket actually ran worse in California, where Dole and Kemp spent the last two weeks, than it did in the nation as a whole.) With other Republicans already gearing up for the next nomination battle, Kemp faces a tough grind to make it to the top of the ticket. Friends doubt that he's got the stomach for it.
WINNER: Abortion doctors. Clinton's victory means that abortion will remain legal because he will get to fill any Supreme Court vacancies that occur in the next four years. That is especially important, abortion-rights advocates say, because abortion foes will enjoy majorities in both the House and Senate next year for the first time ever. As many as three justices could step down during Clinton's second term. If Dole had won, he might have added enough anti-abortion justices to the court to overturn the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
LOSER: Affirmative action. The latest trend out of California could be the move away from government use of race or gender preferences in hiring and higher education. Voters in the Golden State gave solid approval to an anti-affirmative action initiative that could become the model for similar efforts in other states or in Congress.
WINNER: Jefferson. In an election night speech, Gore added the full name of his boss, William Jefferson Clinton, to a list of six Democratic presidents who won second terms, starting with Thomas Jefferson and including James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Woodrow Wilson and FDR. By accident, or perhaps by design, a two-term Democrat was omitted: Grover Cleveland.
LOSER: Truman. Dole was the latest presidential underdog to invoke the spirit of Give 'em Hell Harry, whose surprising come-from-behind victory over Thomas E. Dewey has never been equaled (and perhaps never will, given advances in modern public opinion polling). With the passing of Dole and the World War II generation from political power, and the rise of a new voting majority that never knew Truman, Harry may well have run his final race.
Pub Date: 11/07/96