SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson talks about Donald Trump stepping back from a bid for president.

By Sheldon Alberts
Postmedia News

Turns out The Donald was just teasing America, after all.

After spending several months musing at high volume about a potential White House bid in 2012, Donald Trump ended his bombastic quasi-campaign on Monday with a whimper, not a bang. There was no dramatic announcement on live television (as he once promised), not even a nationally televised news conference.

Instead, Trump conveyed his decision to stay out of the Republican race via a written statement issued without advance notice.

Still, even in quiet retreat, the New York real estate tycoon and reality television host couldn't resist a final self-confident boast - if he had run, he would have won. . .

"I think he has a thirst for the spotlight that was well-served with a flirtation with a presidential run," said Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. "The surprise would have been if he had shown the political ability and mental acuity to speak to important issues in a persuasive way."

Trump's biggest contribution to the Republican race, Jillson contends, was to highlight the weakness of the GOP presidential field. To date, the most prominent candidate is Newt Gingrich, the thrice-married former Republican House Speaker.

Another high-profile Republican, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, announced over the weekend he would sit out the 2012 race.

"The Republican field had not shaped up and there was room for Donald Trump to be the centre of attention," Jillson said. "It was conceivable that, if things had broken perfectly for him, he might have stayed in, but once the 'birther' card had been played and trumped by Obama, he had nothing left."

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