Trying to shout his way to relevance Credit: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Journalists who play in the big leagues need a keen sense of the moment. Actually, all journalists do. If you edit a rural weekly and you’re mulling an editorial urging the county to lay a fresh mist of soybean oil on Route TT to keep the dust down, it helps to know if the area’s tractor owners chewed this one over at Myrtle’s Cafe two Sundays ago and moved on.

Likewise in the big city. Some of us meet once a week for scones and latte at a local Myrtle’s on Southport. I told my companions Sunday that it had been a good week for Marco Rubio. A few pundits desperate to find something new to say about the presidential race—months before there is actually a race—wrote that they could imagine Rubio as the last man standing. (Here, here, and here, for example.) That’s all that happened to Rubio—but at this stage that’s about as good as it gets.

I came home and read the papers. Who was on the cover of the New York Times Magazine? Donald Trump. Who did Clarence Page write about in the Tribune? Trump. And I felt it in my bones—the way you feel when a band’s not working together—that they were behind the beat.

Trump’s done. He’s only sagged a little in the polls, but he’s overexposed. He’s a phenomenon held aloft by the gas of the conversation about him. And there’s no more to say.

“It is the idea of Trump that excites his supporters,” Page wrote. But it is the idea of any candidate that excites his or her supporters. It is the idea of John Kasich as a genial moderate who can actually run a government that excites his fans, who admire themselves for their high-mindedness.

But then, it’s the idea of Santa Claus that keeps him in business. And you know what happens to Santa Claus. You believe in him and then you try to believe in him, and then you give it up and you don’t. When it’s over it’s over.

Similarly, when the pundits stop chirping, it’s over. 

Page’s column sounded to me like one last chirp. It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t write another word about Donald Trump between now and next November.