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February 14, 2014 5:21 PM The Donald in Decline

By Ed Kilgore

For some light Friday afternoon entertainment, you could do worse than to give a gander to McKay Coppins’ account of accompanying Donald Trump to a political event in New Hampshire (shortly after The Donald sent up a trial balloon about maybe running for governor of New York), and realizing he was a chump for giving the tired act any attention:

Trump can no longer escape the fact that his political “career” — a long con that the blustery billionaire has perpetrated on the country for 25 years by repeatedly pretending to consider various runs for office, only to bail out after generating hundreds of headlines — finally appears to be on the brink of collapse.
The reason: Nobody seems to believe him anymore.
This was evident earlier this morning at the Politics & Eggs forum — a longtime rite of passage for presidential prospects looking to get face time in the Granite State — where Trump triumphantly announced that he had drawn the biggest audience in the history of the event.
It was true: A few hundred Republicans had reshuffled their Tuesday morning schedules to take in the spectacle. But as soon as he opened his mouth, it became clear he was aiming his remarks at the reporters in the back of the room, peppering his speech with deliberate tweetbait like, “I wish I would have run [in 2012] because I would have won” and “[Chris Christie] is one email away from disaster.” His rambling style of public speaking, in which he drifts from one subject to another without a thematic anchor, occasionally landed him in choppy rhetorical waters. “Whether or not you liked Saddam Hussein,” he inexplicably told the crowd at one point, “he used to kill terrorists.”
Standing by the press riser in the back of the cafeteria, I kept looking around to see if Trump’s comments were setting off the sort of frenzy he routinely generated in the political media during the 2012 campaign cycle. Instead, I saw a bored gaggle of blank-faced cameramen and sleepy local reporters begrudgingly there on their editors’ orders. Some chatted idly with one another, ignoring Trump’s speech entirely, while others swiped casually at their iPhones. I became mildly self-conscious when I realized I was the only reporter from a national outlet who had ventured outside the Acela corridor to see the Donald in action. All morning, I got the same question over and over from the local reporters.
“You didn’t come all the way up here for this, did you?”

He did, and it wasn’t wasted time: he may well have written the long-overdue obituary of Trump’s pseudo-political career.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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