Opinion | Trump Is a Really Happy Loser

Wow, Jeff Sessions was gone before they finished counting votes in Arizona.

Do you think Donald Trump was trying to change the subject? Everybody knew he’d get a new attorney general after the elections, but we deserve to find out who won in Florida before we go back to 24/7 presidential pandemonium.

Next year’s class of Democratic freshmen in the House is going to be incredible, with a huge range of backgrounds, ages, races and interests. Truly I did not expect to live to hear that a four-term Republican congressman from Kansas was defeated by a gay Native American woman who used to be a mixed martial arts fighter.

Meanwhile, Trump was celebrating the probable defeat of the only Republican African-American woman in the history of the House of Representatives. (“Mia Love gave me no love and she lost!”)

The president’s main theme was that an election in which Democrats won control of the House was actually “very close to complete victory” for his team, thanks to his unceasing efforts to rally support. This was during an hour-and-a-half-long press conference. For aficionados of Trumpian rhetoric, the big question was how long it would take him to mention the size of his crowds.

Blink of an eye. (“We held a large number of campaign rallies with large, large numbers of people going to every one. To the best of my knowledge, we didn’t have a vacant or an empty seat.”)

Other presidents were moved by polls or policy papers, but for Trump it’s always about what makes the crowds yell loudest. If any multibillionaires are interested in underwriting a movement that would genuinely make America great again, they need to hire masses of people to show up every time the president gives a speech. Everyone would stand there stonily during the rants about immigration, then burst into raucous applause whenever he talked about lower prescription drug prices or accidentally muttered a phrase like “better schools.” The nation would be transformed.

Trump was in a benevolent mood on Wednesday — so much so that he got through the whole press conference without even once sniping about Hillary Clinton or Representative Maxine Waters. And Nancy Pelosi — he and “Nancy” were going to get along great. (“It really could be a beautiful bipartisan type of situation.”)

As long as there were no, um, investigations or subpoenas for a person’s private tax returns. Which are being audited!

Do you think the president and Congress could actually accomplish anything? There’s going to be a lot of talk about matters like health care reform. But you’ll notice any optimistic predictions usually wind up at road-building.

“The one issue that Leader Pelosi and I discussed this morning is where — where there could be a possible bipartisan agreement, would be something on infrastructure,” said Senate Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell added he was sure there would be “a lot of other things,” too. But he didn’t seem able to come up with any.

The moral is: Everybody loves pothole repair.

Before we leave the midterms behind, what was your favorite election outcome? I liked the one in Pennsylvania where Scott Wagner, the Republican candidate for governor, lost to the incumbent, Tom Wolf. Wagner was the guy who did a video warning his opponent to put on a catcher’s mask because “I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”

Farewell, Scott. Gone but not forgotten.

Republican Representative Paul Gosar won re-election in Arizona. He’s the Tea Party favorite who’s called for Justice Department officials to be tried for treason. (Jeff Sessions: the one that got away.) But Gosar became nationally famous only when six of his siblings made an ad begging voters to support his opponent.

Too bad that didn’t work. But at least Gosar will now be known forever as the Congressman Whose Family Ran Against Him.

In several states voters gave thumbs-up to expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In Idaho, retiring Republican Gov. Butch Otter called it an “Idaho-grown solution.” Perhaps this makes you think of Obamacare as some kind of potato, but I’m bringing it up since this may be my last excuse to mention the name Butch Otter in a column.

Farewell, Gov. Butch Otter! On the brighter side, Florida is once again sending Representative Ted Yoho back to Washington. And thanks to voters in Utah, there will be new opportunities to discuss the fact that once, long ago, Senator-elect Mitt Romney drove to Canada on a family vacation with the dog strapped to the roof of his car.

The big question now is whether we should wait until after the holidays to start discussing the election in 2020. Is Beto O’Rourke going to go on a long vacation or will he start looking really available before Thanksgiving? Does Cory Booker ever take vacations? Did anybody notice Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders won new terms this week?

Do you think any Republicans will try to run against Trump? John Kasich is certainly making himself look available. And what’s Jeff Sessions going to do with the rest of his life?

So much to do, so little time to obsess about it.

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Gail Collins is an Op-Ed columnist, a former member of the editorial board and was the first woman to serve as Times editorial page editor, from 2001 to 2007. @GailCollins Facebook

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