Opinion | ‘It Could Have Been Worse’ Never Felt This Good

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By Gail Collins

Opinion Columnist

Doesn’t it feel as if we’ve been watching the Senate race in Georgia since the War of 1812?

It’s true that midterm vote-counting in general could go on forever. But the Democrats’ 50-50 control of the Senate might very well come down to Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker.

No offense, Georgians, but we’re kinda tired of spending our political lives waiting to see what you do next. Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, seems to have gotten the most votes, but Georgia requires the winner to have more than 50 percent, and this year there’s a Libertarian candidate whose 2 percent showing made that nearly impossible.

On to the Dec. 6 runoff. Meanwhile, your Thanksgiving dinner conversation can feature Walker’s sex scandals. Which have sort of distracted us from the fact that he knows close to nothing about public affairs. Or pretty much anything non-footballian. ( “What the heck is a pronoun?”)

Now inquiring minds will also want to discuss the situation in the House, where the distinctly less athletic Republican Kevin McCarthy might get his dream of becoming the speaker.

Yeah, once we get the votes all counted, Republicans may well have control, and McCarthy could spend the next two years investigating Hunter Biden. But at best he’d have a tiny majority, giving every one of his rank-and-file members outrageous sway. McCarthy’s nights would be haunted less by powerful Democrats than crazy Republicans like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.

What do you think? If you’re not obsessed with Georgia, here’s another option for analyzing the midterm returns: We’ll call it W.W.M.T.N. That is, What Would Make Trump Nuts?

So far on that front we have a pretty clean sweep. One of the biggest winners of the night was Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor of Florida, and possible presidential candidate in 2024. (Very, very possible, if you remember his blank stare at the camera when he was asked if he’d promise, if re-elected, to complete the next four-year term.)

DeSantis certainly did win by a large margin, although you have to consider he was running against Charlie Crist, a former Republican and former independent who was Florida’s governor in between multitudinous, often-unsuccessful attempts to get elected to … something.

Now, Donald Trump wants to change the subject by making what could be his running-for-president announcement next week.

The timing is a sign of how miserable he is when he’s not the center of attention. As well as his all-purpose hatred for DeSantis, who he recently called DeSanctimonious. (Not actually the worst choice of an insult, given the fact that DeSantis released a campaign video in which God was mentioned more often than Florida.)

Trump was pretty busy during campaign season, meeting and greeting folks at Mar-a-Lago and giving speeches, in which he occasionally managed to stop talking about himself long enough to mention the Republicans he was there to support.

When it came to endorsements, our ex-president had a pretty clear idea of how important his blessing was: “I think if they win, I should get all the credit, and if they lose, I should not be blamed at all,” he said in an interview.

He certainly hates hates hates to be connected with any of the week’s failures, like Mehmet Oz, who lost what was probably the biggest Senate race of the season to John Fetterman in Pennsylvania. “Trump is indeed furious,” tweeted our Maggie Haberman, “ … blaming everyone who advised him to back Oz, including his wife, describing it as ‘not her best decision,’ according to people close to him.”

OK, folks. Think about people Melania Trump has decided to align herself with over the course of her life and tell me whether you think Dr. Oz was the worst selection.

We’re not going to know the total, complete outcome of the elections for ages, but there’s already plenty to mull. For instance, Senator Chuck Grassley got re-elected in Iowa at the age of 89. He makes Joe Biden look like a spring chicken. Or at least an early-fall rooster. If the Republicans win the Senate, Grassley will be president pro tempore, third in line for the presidency. Biden will turn 80 this month, and second-in-line Nancy Pelosi is 82. I’m extremely happy to see age discrimination getting a whack, but gee whiz.

What do you think is going to happen next on the political front? Well, you may finally be able to look through your texts and messages without stumbling over several dozen requests for campaign contributions. Although if you’re on Trump’s mailing list, things will just keep on coming.

“Do you want President Trump to run in 2024?” demanded one of his many, many missives on Wednesday. Another began, unnecessarily, “If you want me to run in 2024,” then asked, “who should my Vice President be?”

Hmm. How about Dr. Oz? He doesn’t seem to have anything else to do.

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