But they're leaving behind the primary drivers, Donald J. Trump and Rafael "Ted" Cruz, who between them encompass at least a dozen overlapping negative qualities to different degrees, including batshit crazy. It's a VENN diagram I don't even want to contemplate. Still stuffed in the back seat are Ben "Dr. Stabby" Carson, Jim "Who?" Gilmore, Carly "Bring me those puppies!" Fiorina, (poor, sad) Jeb! Bush and John "Dishwater" Kasich. Marco Rubio is climbing furiously over the center console to try to get a front seat, and I'm guessing Chris Christie is on the roof rack, or tied to the fender or something. But it has to be a little more comfortable with three losers dumped out at the curb.
Likewise, the much smaller batch of Democrats can now focus a little better, being pared down to two after the departure of the dull but dreamy Martin O'Malley. Thursday night's debate, co-moderated by Rachel Maddow, will be the first one-on-one debate of the whole dang 2016 season. No kid's table, no extraneous candidates.
Buckle up kids, we're finally getting the whole thing in actual gear after sputtering around for over a year!