In an attempt to avoid the circus-like atmosphere at the Republican debates, the Democrats have established some ground rules for the first upcoming CNN debate between the Democratic candidates. Of the five Democratic candidates that have been invited to the debate, only two will be allowed to speak, poll leaders Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee explained, “We want the leading candidates to be able to freely exchange ideas. We want the other candidates that are wasting their time and money not to waste ours and just butt out. But you know us liberals, we want to appear fair to everyone.” In an attempt to appear inclusive, former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will be allowed on stage with Clinton and Sanders, but he will not be allowed to speak. O’Malley will be given the opportunity to appear presidential and will be allowed five loud harrumphs on camera at any time during the debate. When Mr. O’Malley wants to harrumph, he has been instructed to signal with his hand and the camera will be directed his way for a televised harrumph.
Also at the debate will be former Rhode Island Senator and Governor Lincoln Chafee and former Virginia Senator Jim Webb, both in non-speaking roles. Chafee and Webb will be allowed on stage as the debate begins and as needed throughout the debate to fill the water glasses of the other candidates. They will not be allowed the opportunity to appear presidential or allowed any harrumphs. They will be permitted to discreetly wave or provide a thumbs-up, but both the wave and thumbs-up are to be with one hand only. Chafee was heard to comment, “I sure hope Bernie, Hillary and that other guy get hot and thirsty under those lights.”
The other thirteen declared Democratic candidates have been offered hourly pay positions at the Wynn Las Vegas as additional temporary workers needed for the event in the parking garage, in the hospitality suites and as ushers. They will be allowed to campaign as they work, but only if they identify themselves as fringe candidates that have absolutely no chance of winning the nomination. Appropriate name tags have been provided for that purpose.