He suckered them in again.

Surprise! Donald Trump has announced that he’s not running for President after all. And the media covered it like it was a revelation instead of what it really was all along, a foregone conclusion.

Trump was never going to run in the first place. He had a book to promote and an ego to keep inflated and no desire to take the job, let alone make the effort. All he wanted was the same thing he has always wanted: to have people say his name over and over again.

Yet, the brilliant political pundits spent hour upon hour debating what kind of President he’d be, whether he could garner popular support, whether he’d risk his own personal wealth as Steve Forbes did, whether America would rally in support of a man whose campaign slogan was “Don’t shake my hand, I don’t want your germs,” and whether he’d pull a Ventura-like coup. Nope!

He made them follow him anyway, without spending an extra dime, or ever having anything that approached an actual campaign. Give Trump credit for knowing how to promote himself and how to bring along the press as a willing co-conspirator. We expect Larry King to get sucked into this kind of cheap public relations stunt, but the rest of the political media has lost whatever tidbit of savvy and respect it may have once had.

On the other hand, remember that this is the same batch of political geniuses that seriously debated a Warren Beatty candidacy for a couple of months. With Cybill Shepherd as his running mate.

It’s all part of the same political process in which you have to be good at flipping pancakes or you can’t win. Witness Gary Bauer’s backflip off the stage in the full pike position while trying to handle a spatula and a runaway flapjack in New Hampshire last month. It made for the best political theater since Michael Moore got Alan Keyes to jump into a mosh pit. But what does it have to do with choosing a leader?

I say put’em in the hot seat opposite Regis and let’em show America what they’re really made of. If they get through the 15 questions, they go on to the next primary. If they use a lifeline during those first five gimme questions, give them their spatula back and get’em a job at IHOP.

Speaking of the Millionaire show, I’m tired of all these articles proclaiming how much stupider we are as a nation because of the questions on these game shows. Every one of these stories belittles modern-day contestants because the questions they’re answering are supposedly too easy. They moan about how the questions were so much more difficult during the primetime game show heyday in the fifties.

What they neglect to mention is the simple fact that in the fifties, they gave the contestants the answers! It doesn’t matter how hard the question is when you already know the answer, does it, Einstein?

The nose-in-the-air critics who are whining about this are the same ones who announced — with no evidence to back up their assertion — that the internet will make us dumber because people are spending more time online than they are reading books and magazines. Again, they fail to see the obvious. Most of the material people are accessing online is in text form, including magazines, newspapers, and this column! That means we’re actually reading more than ever! And it’s thanks to e-commerce that more people are buying books than they have in a long time. But don’t let those facts get in the way of your snobbery.

Leave these game show contestants alone and don’t begrudge them their winnings. At least they’re willing to go for the money. Unlike Abba.

That’s right, I’m bringing up the seventies pop group from Sweden, because they were just offered a billion (yes, a billion!) dollars to reunite for a hundred concerts around the world. Believe it or not, they turned it down. I think comedian Robert Schimmel summed up everyone’s amazement when he said on my show last week, “for a billion dollars, I’d film an instructional sex video with Mike Tyson in front of my parents. And I’d be the girl. Gladly!”

Maybe before Abba started rehearsing “Dancing Queen,” they wanted to be sure they wouldn’t be paid their billion in the new gold dollar coins that were introduced last week in the United States. Even the Swedes can see that these aren’t going to fly.

These gold pieces were minted and placed into circulation to replace the old Susan B. Anthony dollars, which failed because they looked and felt too much like a quarter. So the people who make your money thought long and hard and came up with a solution: “What if we put a Native American woman on there and change the color to a pale gold? Americans will have to love it, right?” Wrong!!

I have nothing against Sacagawea, the 14-year-old Indian guide of the Lewis and Clark expedition who is pictured on the gold dollar. But her new coin got off on the wrong foot with me as soon as I heard that, in order to promote them, the Treasury Department is going to spend $40,000,000 on assorted marketing campaigns.

That’s not a misprint. Forty mil to make you love a buck.

Here’s my solution, which would thrill a lot more people, and I hereby suggest in return for no fee whatsoever. How about handing out these gold dollars for free to forty million Americans? That way, you get them into circulation a lot faster, which would help word of mouth spread and get people used to using them. Plus, there’s the surprise element — people won’t believe that the government is actually giving away free money — AND it doesn’t cost a dime more than the original marketing plan!!

Or, if that doesn’t work, we could try announcing that Sacagawea is now dating Donald Trump. The press ought to go for that.