Jay Bookman

Opinion columnist and blogger with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, specializing in foreign relations, environmental and technology-related issues

Are there silver linings in this for Democrats? Well ....

OK, it's time to look for silver linings for Democrats here in Georgia and nationally, an activity that giddy conservatives would probably describe as consolation for losers.

Fair enough, but here goes anyway:

During the campaign, I noted often that Democrats seemed to be polling very well among younger voters in Georgia, while Republicans were highly dependent on those 65 and older. Did that show up at the voting booth? According to the Georgia exit polls, yes it did:

Georgia Democrats would also like to tell themselves that they would have done better without an unpopular president dragging them down. Does the exit poll give them evidence on which to base that belief? To a degree it does:

A lot of Democrats have advocated a more aggressively populist approach on issues such as the minimum wage, but party leaders have shied away from that line of attack, particularly in conservative states such as Georgia. Do exit poll data shed light on who was right?

And what about amnesty for immigrants who are here illegally? Last night's results have encouraged Republicans to continue to take an absolutist, no-way, not-ever position on that issue, but the American people seem to have different ideas:

And if a vacancy opens on the Supreme Court, putting the question of abortion on the front-burner again?

On those and similar questions, however, you also have to factor intensity into the equation. Even if a significant majority of Americans in a more conservative, off-year electorate support both amnesty and abortion rights, those taking the minority position on those issues do so more fervently. And one of the reminders from last night's results is that fervency can matter. It gets people to the voting booth, while apathy does not.

Finally, here's a finding that at first blush gives conservatives some encouragement going into 2016, as if they needed it these days:

At this point, only 42 percent of those who voted in the 2014 midterms believe that Clinton would make a good president. The problem is, the numbers for potential GOP candidates such as Jeb Bush (29%), Chris Christie (24)%, Rand Paul (26%) and Rick Perry (24%) are even lower.

We're not happy with anybody these days, not with each other and not with those who would attempt to lead us.

Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Jay Bookman writes about government and politics, with an occasional foray into other aspects of life as time, space and opportunity allow.