One of the few pleasures to be gained from Donald Trump’s stampede towards the GOP nomination is how terribly, gloriously wrong most pundits were about the real estate bro’s chance for becoming anything more than a vanity candidate. There are too many writers and thinkers to name who assumed (fairly) that Trump was just a weird blip and kept predicting (less fairly) for months that he was sure to tank any day now.

Trump has his magic number: 1,237 delegates. It’s still possible to stop him if certain Republicans are willing to pull shameless convention shenanigans. However, he gets to walk into Cleveland on July 15 like a king.

How did it come to this? And shouldn’t we have seen it coming when Trump first declared in June?

Neither Nate Silver’s deadly serious data journalism nor William Kristol’s neoconservative panic or any of our hopes that that the American people knew better than to want Back to the Future’s Biff Tannen for president could stop Trump. Trump seemed to gain power each time the press predicted his impending demise.

The real, strange takeaway here–and one that must give Trump and his followers immense pleasure–is that the mainstreamest people mostly fucked up. There were a few exceptions:

  • When asked, the Trump campaign credits proto-Milo Yiannopoulos and ardent Trump fanatic Ann Coulter as one of the first people to take him seriously. On June 19, 2015, just three days after Trump declared, Coulter appeared on Bill Maher’s show to say that she believed Trump had the best chance of all the would-be nominees. She even said Sen. Bernie Sanders would hold his own better against Trump, which polls seem to back up. The audience laughed, as Maher’s audiences invariably do if Maher disagrees with his guests. But damned if she wasn’t right.

  • Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams was another early muser who knew enough to not laugh at Trump. He wrote as much in an Aug. 5, 2015 blog on his website titled “How Trump Becomes President.”

Clinton is in the right place at the right time. The era of women has arrived. Nothing but a health problem or a new scandal could stop the inevitability train. But if Hillary does not coast into the White House as I expect (and this is a prediction, not a preference) you will see a Donald Trump presidency.

  • The wildest prediction for Trump may still go to comedian Adam Carolla who declared way the hell back in 2008 that Trump would be president…in 2016. Sure, Trump has spent decades flirting with going into politics, but five minutes ago the thinkiest pieces were still swearing Trump was done, so kudos to Carolla, even if he was joking, that’s a freaky, near-accurate joke.

  • And let’s not forget: Simpsons did it, back in 2000.

Lucy Steigerwald is a contributing editor for Twitter: @lucystag.

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