It began well before Iowa's cornfields froze over for the winter. Before Bernie Sanders had more than a couple of thousand followers on Twitter. Before Donald Trump allegedly hired actors to cheer his candidacy announcement at Trump Tower.
Jim Webb, candidate for President. Who? Martin O'Malley, candidate for President. Who? Jim Gilmore. Bobby Jindal. George Pataki for President!
The numbers thinned and ambitions died, brief sparklers in the night. Remember when Ben Carson said China was fighting in Syria?
Remember when Jeb Bush said he'd like to put Margaret Thatcher on the $10 note and that the key to economic prosperity was making people work longer hours? Goodnight.
In Presidential primaries, money = endurance. Sanders raised big bucks. Trump reckoned he was personally rich. Hillary Clinton took money from Wall Street, took heat in return and then took a delegate lead. Rick Perry spent four times as much as his campaign received in donations but then Newt Gingrich still owes $4 million from his campaign in 2012, so it's not such a big deal.
Debate reduced to new depths and political experience became a negative. What candidate was the most anti-establishment? Who was the least like a normal politician? Who had spent the least time navigating Washington DC? If voters are repelled by political experience, they might as well elect a goldfish.
There were the myriad Trump scandals: Mexican rapists, blood-coming-out-of-her-whatever, that time he suggested Carson was a child molester and that Ted Cruz's dad might have helped assassinate JFK.
Marco Rubio got desperate and slung appendage jokes. But then did anyone ever think Cruz could win? He of the oily smarm, the mission from God and a Vice-Presidential running mate for all of five days.
The states and territories ticked by. Sanders kept shouting and John Kasich finally pulled out. But this Wednesday, when Clinton becomes the presumptive Democratic nominee for President, many Americans will despair.
Four months of primaries turn out Clinton versus Trump. America has 350 million people - is that the best it can do?