When it came time to count the money, Donald Trump ended his tea party ruse and decided not to run for president.
In a statement, Donald Trump said,
“I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”
Donald Trump was never going to run for president. This was all nothing more than a giant publicity stunt, which by the way, hurt not helped his ratings. Much like Mike Huckabee, money was deciding factor. Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice was renewed, and NBC has cut him a new and more lucrative deal to stay on TV.
It turns out that the real motive for Donald Trump’s fake campaign might have been a new contract. Trump may be the first television personality ever to use the leverage of a potential presidential campaign to cut a new TV deal. Donald Trump only flirted with the idea of running for president as a way to get NBC to pony up the cash.
Where does all of this leave disgruntled Republican primary voters? Trump was always more of a fantasy great white hope than a serious candidate for office. The fact that Donald Trump was able to poll well is indicative of just how desperate Republican voters are for a strong candidate. Now the GOP grassroots is back at square one. They still don’t have a candidate that they like, and the prospect of having to choose between Romney and Pawlenty looms larger each day.
With Huckabee and Trump both out, the door is wide open for Sarah Palin to run as the Fox News pundit/reality TV candidate who is famous simply for being famous. The table is set for Palin to make a big surprise late announcement and enter the field, but like Trump and Huckabee, Sarah Palin cares most about money. Her laziness and greed could easily win out over her sense of entitlement and ambition to be president.
The circus is over. The tents are packed up, and Donald Trump has returned to television.
Tea Partiers are left to weep in their tea bags as they look at this field of political drifters and stragglers, and realize that this really is all that they have to choose from for 2012.