Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Republicans Debate Again

For the fourth time, or maybe it was the four hundredth time, a bunch of Republicans who are not going to be president got together to "debate" while (largely) pretending that the 800-pound gorilla in the room doesn't exist. If you want to watch it, you can do so here. You could also re-watch any of the other Republican candidates' debates; they're pretty much interchangeable at this point.

Reader K.H. in Golden, CO, wrote in with this suggestion:

I, for one, would like to excuse (V) and (Z) from having to watch a ridiculous debate on a ridiculous network with ridiculous moderators for ridiculous candidates and then provide us with takes and comments. Instead, I suggest that (if you don't have a subscription) you grab a 7-day trial on Hulu, watch 3 episodes of the 1980's screwball dramedy Moonlighting and give us your rundown on those. It's just as ridiculous, but it's a lot more fun and you will get to listen to some awesome soundtrack music, clever overlapping dialogue, intriguing (if impossible) plots, and, of course, the incredibly delightful theme song sung by the inimitable Al Jarreau.

It's tempting, though if we were going to revisit a 1980s show, we might be more inclined to pick Coach (great acting carried a concept of only moderate merit) or maybe The Wonder Years. Though who knows; (Z) was a big fan of Family Ties during its original run, but when he caught a few episodes several weeks back, he discovered it does not hold up. At all.

In any event, when you commit to a career in academia, and all the benefits therein—the glittering parties, the enormous salary, the women and/or men throwing themselves at you on a daily basis, the Italian sports cars—you also sign up to do some things you would rather not do in the advancement of human knowledge. So, we did our duty last night and watched 2 hours of paint drying... er, prattling from people who are in a heated race for second place.

There are few enough moving parts at this point that we can just take a look at each of them. So:

In the end, this thing is over. And we don't mean that Donald Trump has an insurmountable lead (though that is also true). We mean that the only (slim) hope for any non-Trump candidate is some version of a brokered convention. And there is only one person on stage last night who could possibly be the pick in that circumstance. The RNC and its delegates are not going to go with someone as loathsome as Ramaswamy. They are not going to go with Ron-Bot, who is clearly not ready for the big time, and who presumably never will be. And they are not going to go with Christie, whose approval rating among Republicans is below 20%. That leaves only Haley who has a glimmer of making the strategy of "hold onto second place and hope Trump collapses for some reason" work.

Anyhow, forgive us for turning the snark up to 11. But when you're dealing with people who largely have as much flavor as wallpaper paste, it's about the only way we can think of to make the piece at least somewhat interesting. And, by all reports, there will be at least two more of these before New Hampshire, so get ready to do it all over again. And again. (Z)

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