Rachel Maddow ended the Democratic debate by hugging the two remaining candidates, but the one she needed most was not there. Martin O'Malley dropped out of the race before she could quiz him on his fine record as governor of Maryland.
MSNBC's feisty debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton received high marks from political observers, but not high ratings from ordinary viewers.
With 4.5 million viewers, it was the lowest-rated debate of the 2016 election cycle by far, according to Nielsen data.
The prior low was 7.8 million viewers for ABC's Democratic debate on the Saturday night before Christmas.Ah yes, now I remember: They held a debate the Night Before Christmas.
And it had nearly twice as many viewers.
O'Malley turned out to be the Democratic Party's Trump card. From CNN: "The most recent GOP debate, a Trump-free match-up on the Fox News Channel, had 12.5 million viewers, and that was considered underwhelming by Fox and GOP debate standards."
By the way, O'Malley got 2.3% of the vote in Iowa -- which was more than Kasich, Christie, Fiorina, Santorum or Huckabee.