Who could forget the time that Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor nearly came to blows over surveillance? Or when former Texas Governor Rick Perry accidentally referred to his political hero as "Ronald Raven?" Or when billionaire Donald Trump, for some reason, threw in a jab at longtime nemesis Rosie O’Donnell? And how, throughout it all, neurosurgeon Ben Carson looked consistently on the verge of a nap?
— Andrew Bales (@agbales) August 6, 2015
Don’t expect anything like that tonight. As Democrats prepare to take the stage for the CNN debate on Tuesday night, the mainstream media is warning audiences not to expect fireworks. In fact, we all may be pulling a Ben Carson.
According to the Washington Post, the Democratic debate will likely focus on "substantive" issues like "which would resurrect the Glass-Steagall banking act." This, in turn, will leave you "bored senseless."
Over on CNN, analyst Paul Begala had similar expectations.
— el Sooper ن (@SooperMexican) September 17, 2015
"Let’s be honest: Donald Trump truly is a ratings machine. Twenty-three million people did not tune in to see Marco Rubio," Begala said. "So, unless the Democrats can talk one of the Kardashians into running, don’t expect the Democrats’ ratings to approach the Republicans."
"I wouldn’t gamble on the Las Vegas event being scintillating television," Howard Kurtz wrote for Fox News.
"If there are any fireworks, they will likely have to come from the main moderators."
Part of this is a matter of numbers. While the Republican debates have featured casts of over 15, there are only five serious contenders on the Democratic ticket, and of those, two would have a hard time being recognized by even a Google search of their own name.
But there’s also the fact that, so far, the Democrats have refrained from launching the kind of personal attacks that make it so hard to tune out Donald Trump.
"Not only have the Democratic candidates…been far more reluctant to attack one another than their Republican counterparts," Ashley Parker writes for the New York Times, "but three of the five (those not named Hillary Rodham Clinton or Bernie Sanders) have also barely registered in the polls…"
None of this bodes well for the concept of an "informed citizenry."
But, ever the shrewd entrepreneur, Trump has spotted an opportunity. "At the request of many," he will be live-tweeting Tuesday night’s event, so at least there’s some chance that the candidates’ positions will be heard.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) October 13, 2015
Thanks, mainstream media. You keep doing your job — which, if the last few months are any indication, no longer includes ensuring a voting public that’s prepared to make educated decisions at the polls come November 2016.