To a very real extent, reality-show host Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions ended a couple of weeks ago. Over the course of about five days, President Obama released his long-form birth certificate; the White House Correspondents’ Dinner turned Trump into a laughingstock; and Obama ordered a raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The media buzz went from obsessing over Trump to ignoring him with lightening speed. His poll numbers tanked and it was clear that the narcissistic buffoon was finished as a political player.

This afternoon, however, Trump made it official.

“After considerable deliberation and reflection, I have decided not to pursue the office of the Presidency. This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country. I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.”

Nearly all of this is absurd, and Trump had no credible chance of winning anything, anywhere.

The statement goes on to note that Trump will “continue to voice my opinions loudly and help to shape our politician’s [sic] thoughts…. I will not shy away from expressing the opinions that so many of you share yet don’t have a medium through which to articulate.”

Yeah, good luck with that. As best as I can tell, the only thing Trump managed to accomplish in recent months was driving down the ratings of his reality show and offending millions of people who used to be fairly indifferent towards him. He can be as “loud” as he wants, but I have a strong hunch Trump will struggle to find anyone who’ll care.

As for the bigger picture, the list of possible candidates who were considered contenders, but who ended up not running, is now long enough to fill a baseball roster: Trump, Huckabee, Barbour, Thune, Pence, Jindal, Corker, Jeb Bush, and Christie — and the list may yet grow. Daniels and Huntsman certainly look like candidates, but they haven’t jumped in and may yet back away; Bachmann continues to make national noises, and a certain former half-term governor also hasn’t announced her 2012 plans.

As of today, that leaves a Republican presidential field of Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Santorum, Ron Paul, Cain, and if we’re being generous, Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.