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The gig is up, Donald!

Any day now, Donald Trump is finally going to confess.

Any day now, Trump is going to admit what savvy observers have long suspected, that his bid for the presidency is actually the most elaborate pilot episode of a brand-new reality series loosely modeled on”Punk’d.” But, oh, so much bigger.

Any day now, Trump is going to reveal he’s really running for Punkmaster General of the United States.

Any day now.

For a brief moment this week, it appeared he was about to let the audience behind the curtain. Trump’s speech at the South Point was shorter and almost lackluster by Trumpian standards. Sure, he did the classics — the wall, China, Mexico, Oreos, make America great/rich/safe again, etc. — but his heart didn’t seem in it.

But Trump gamely kept up appearances, and the show went on.

But c’mon, people. Clues are everywhere.

Mexican immigrants are racists and drug dealers, and some are good people? Building a wall, and sending Mexico the bill? Deporting 11 million people (presumably with a newly unionized workforce of ICE agents)? In a nation where it’s growing ever more impossible to win without the Latino vote? Please.

Ban all Muslims from entering the United States “until our country can figure out what is going on”? On the theory that radical Islamic terrorists who mean to do us harm will both furnish their true names and tell the truth about their religion to border officers? C’mon.

It’s a “great honor” to be praised by the “highly respected” president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, with whom Trump says he’d get along? The same Putin who was recently implicated in a British investigation of the 2006 murder-by-poison of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko? Seriously?

Fox News personality Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever,” after she dared to ask Trump about calling other women “fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals”? And then saying only a deviant would think he was implying she was mean to him because she was menstruating? Or questioning whether anybody would vote for Carly Fiorina because of her face (“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that?”). You just can’t make this stuff up.

Sen. John McCain is not a war hero, notwithstanding the fact that the former naval aviator was shot down on a mission over North Vietnam, captured and held for more than five years, refusing early release? “I like people that weren’t captured,” Trump (actually) said. This has got to be humor — dark, sick and depraved, to be sure, but certainly not meant to be taken seriously.

And, of course, the ultimate clue: Sarah Palin endorsement! Do you need any more proof that Trump is taking us all for a ride than that?

At one point, long ago, it seemed possible the Trump candidacy was a favor to the Clintons, a way to clear the GOP field with a scenery-chewing ringmaster no media person could resist. But the joke has been so long-running and well-executed, even the Clinton machine couldn’t have thought it up.

There will be many people who will be disappointed and even angry when they realize they weren’t in on the joke. They’re the ones who say that Trump is just saying what the American people are thinking. They may never believe this whole thing was the greatest gag in American comedy history. And nobody will be more disappointed than those pundits who denounce The Donald’s awfulness while extensively documenting his every Tweet.

All that’s left is to get William Shatner signed up to play Trump on this season’s “Saturday Night Live,” and get back to figuring out which of the boring candidates will be our next president. Because any day now, Trump will let us all in on the joke.

Any day now.

— Steve Sebelius is a Review-Journal political columnist and co-host of the show “PoliticsNOW” airing at 5:30 p.m. Sundays on 8NewsNow. Follow him on Twitter (@SteveSebelius) or reach him at 702-387-5276 or SSebelius@reviewjournal.com.

 

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