It wasn't supposed to happen. But it did.

It was an otherwise uneventful Tuesday evening. Against my better judgment, for the first time in four years, I tuned in to a Democratic National Committee debate. This one, from the Palmetto State, South Carolina, one of my favorites.

The socialist, er, Democrat hopefuls on stage included: Michael (call me Mike, but not Little Mike) Bloomberg; Liz Warren (don't call me Liz Mann, even though he's my husband); Pete Buttigieg (what, me worry?); Nervous Nellie Amy Klobuchar; Moscow Bernie Sanders; Sleepy Joe Biden; and some old sad sack at the end of the podium who couldn't get a word in edgewise, much like Col. Oliver North's attorney Brendan Sullivan back in the day. (I'm not a potted plant!)

After watching this debacle for a little more than an hour, two things were readily apparent: CBS lost control of the so-called debate less than 10 minutes into it, and not one of these empty-suit pols deserves any consideration for the presidency. If this is the best that the socialist, er, Democrat party, can do, it should simply concede and save future campaign donors from wasting their money.

Not one candidate directly answered a single question. Instead, the arm-raising and arm-waving twits resorted to their own predetermined talking points. They all reminded me of the TV character of Arnold Dingfelder Horshack from 1975-79.

Horshack, played by the late actor Ron Palillo on the ABC sitcom "Welcome Back, Kotter," had a habit of reaching an outstretched arm as high as possible in order to get his teacher's attention.

"Ooh, ooh, ooh, pick me, Mr. Kotter," Horshack would beg when he wanted to answer a classroom question.

The socialist, er, Democrat field at the South Carolina debate resembled a roomful of Horshacks. I wouldn't vote for any of these gutless wonders for anything.

Granted, CBS lost control of the debate from the get-go. Is there an adult in the CBS newsroom? Still, watching these so-called socialist party hopefuls who are seeking the highest office in the land imitate Arnold Horshack was hilarious.

Ohio Second District Rep. Brad Wenstrup's campaign sent this to The Highland County Press not long after the debate: "There is no longer any doubt that the Democrat party in our country has been overtaken by a socialist agenda. We still do not have all the details on how Bernie Sanders plans to pay for:

• Free college: $2.2 trillion
• Free healthcare: $31 trillion
• Green New Deal: $16.3 trillion

"These are just estimates and just the beginning. Bernie likes to say that 'nobody knows' how much his plans will really cost. We do know one thing: all of us will be paying for these pie-in-the sky plans. If it wasn't clear before last night, we need to re-elect Brad and President Trump in November so they can keep fighting against this socialist agenda."

The cynic in me is not taken in by the campaign propaganda from either side. But the realist in me, after watching the South Carolina debate, knows one thing: No one on that stage will ever have my vote for anything.

The party of Jefferson, Jackson, FDR, Truman, JFK, et. al. ought to be ashamed.

Too bad Horshack is dead. So is this party.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.