Just ask him he will tell you….

After a long summer of denial and disparagement, even the most elite precincts of the media establishment are trying to come to grips with Donald Trump.

First it was the cable news networks, which instantly realized that Trump was good box office, followed by the network morning shows. Then some of the columnists who had dismissed him as a sideshow began to grapple with his rising poll numbers, even those who continued to hammer him.

That was followed by a series of faulty predictions that Trump was about to implode because of this or that corrosive comment, to the point that some talking heads simply announced that they were getting out of the forecasting business.

Trump even scored a “60 Minutes” profile on Sunday for the season opener–drawing 15 million viewers–and later declared that CBS anchor Scott Pelley had been fair to him.

Now some other upscale outlets, rather late to the party, are joining in the dark arts of psychoanalysis: What makes Donald Trump tick, and how has he managed to completely upend the rituals and decorum of a presidential campaign and play by his own set of rules?

What does it say about the electorate that he has struck such a deep chord—and, I would add, what does it say about the media and political insiders who suddenly seemed so clueless?

The New York Times Magazine has just posted its profile by Mark Leibovich, the author of “This Town.” And he begins with an extensive mea culpa:

“Initially, I dismissed him as a nativist clown, a chief perpetrator of the false notion that President Obama was not born in the United States — the ‘birther’ movement. And I was, of course, way too incredibly serious and high-­minded to ever sully myself by getting so close to Donald Trump.

“I initially doubted that he would even run. I assumed that his serial and public flirtations with the idea over several election cycles were just another facet of his existential publicity sustenance. I figured that even if Trump did run, his conspiracy-­mongering, reality-­show orientations and garish tabloid sensibilities would make him unacceptable to the polite company of American politics and mainstream media. It would render him a fringe player.