Tonight at 8:30 p.m. Eastern, five Democratic candidates will take the stage to debate. Among them will be Hillary Clinton, the putative frontrunner, and Bernie Sanders, the popular Democratic socialist who has mounted a serious challenge to her in the early states.
The other three candidates, you don't really need to know their names at this point because they are polling a combined three percent. But two are former governors — Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Martin O'Malley of Maryland — and another is a former senator (Jim Webb). These three will basically be on the stage to consume time that Sanders would otherwise use to put the screws to Clinton.
Not debating: Joe Biden (who may or may not run) and Lawrence Lessig, who believes, despite his own experience, that elections in the U.S. can be easily bought and is running to change that. He has been excluded, despite polling every bit as well as the three stooges.
In a race this one-sided and a format designed to help the front-runner, the debate could prove a bit dull. But amid all the talk we'll hear about income inequality, food deserts and gun control, there might still be some fun to be had. Donald Trump, the leader in most GOP polls, will try to earn himself some additional publicity by live-tweeting the debate.
That's cheeky of him, and it could be fun to watch.