How many times have we heard that Donald Trump has peaked since he declared his candidacy for president in June? A half dozen times? More? And each time Peak Trump was announced by pundits, it was inevitably followed by yet another surge in the polls. This is probably why in recent weeks, media prognosticators seem to have shied from declaring Peak Trump since it is always followed by you-know-what. However enter Ezra Klein of Vox. Throwing caution to the winds, Klein went where few now dare to go by predicting that we have indeed finally reached Peak Trump. Klein consulted charts and graphs before tuning up his horn to play taps on Trump's candidacy. Of course, the inevitable quickly happened to leave Klein's face covered with egg. But first let us join the chart gazing Klein's bold assertion of Peak Trump posted at 8:20 this morning:
...What the chart doesn't quite explain is why coverage of Trump fell so sharply around the time of the second debate. Part of it, I suspect, is that other outsider candidates began rising, and that squeezed the media's relentless focus on Trump.
This chart from HuffPost Pollster covers the same period as Sides's graph, and it shows both Carson and, particularly, Fiorina rising during the period when coverage of Trump began falling.
Charts and graphs...oh my!
What's hard in all this is to separate correlation from causation. Is the media moving on from Trump because Trump's fortunes are dimming? Are Trump's fortunes dimming because the media is moving on? Was the media cause or effect of Trump's rise? Or both? It's hard to say.
Is there life after birth? Okay, I just felt the need to toss in another silly question there.
As a card-carrying member of the media, it has certainly felt to me, starting around the second debate, that the limits of Trump's candidacy have come clearer: He's out of his depth on policy, his campaign is progressively less inventive and unusual, and fear of Trump is leading to consolidation around his most politically talented challengers — namely Rubio and Fiorina.
But Trump still leads in the polls, and the level of media coverage he's getting now is about the same as before he peaked in the polls.
So Klein tempted fate with his prediction of Peak Trump. How long will we have to wait until the inevitable happens? Try four hours. Yes, just four hours after Ezra's Peak Trump declaration, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll was published at 12:26 P.M. which showed that Donald Trump surged yet again to a yuuuuuge lead of ten points ahead of his nearest competition:
Exit Question: Will Ezra Klein use Common Core math to calculate his next Peak Trump declaration?