The 2016 presidential race finally kicked off in earnest on Tuesday night at the Las Vegas debate of Democratic candidates.

Up to that point it had been a Republican show only as the Democrats strangely decided to self-limit to six debates while the GOP will have eleven.

That was a mistake by the Democrats, as reflected in recent polling where all the attention focused on the Republican side had led to a complete focus on their candidates.

Worse for the Democrats, it was Republican policy positions such as the hard line on immigration reform that grabbed all the media attention, not to mention all the focus on the Hillary Clinton email imbroglio which seemed to be the only topic Democrats were being called on to discuss.

Add in the incredible TV ratings whenever Donald Trump makes an appearance and you have the perfect storm.

Despite all the trial balloons that Trump was purely hot air he remains well in the lead in weekend polls. His 27 percent total in an 11 person field puts him well clear, raising the question once more but with increased urgency as time moves on if he will ever descend from the lofty heights.

A Trump presidency, once the stuff of late night comedian jokes, now is a possibility, an unimaginable scenario just a few months ago.

It points to the empty power of celebrity, with people gushing over non entities like the Kardashians simply because they are famous for being famous.

Of course, Kanye West is now talking about running in 2020, making yet another incredible scenario possible of a Kardashian first lady. Next up is Bart Simpson no doubt.

It is inconceivable that a carnival barker like Trump, three times bankrupt, given $200 million by his father to start his real estate career and losing it all initially, would end up on top. Are we crazy?

The office held by Lincoln and Jefferson and Washington would never be the same again.

Yet in the head to head matches so far he is close to or surpassing Clinton. Worse, the person in second place, Dr. Ben Carson, has just been described as ”a crackpot” by Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winner with The Washington Post. Carson argued that if Jews had kept their guns the Holocaust would never have happened.

As Jonathan Greenblatt, national director of the Jewish Anti-Defamation League, wrote in The Huffington Post, "It is mind-bending to suggest that personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany's Jews (about 214,000 remaining in Germany in 1938) could have stopped the totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany when the armies of Poland, France, Belgium and numerous other countries were overwhelmed by the Third Reich."

Carson also wanted the slain in the recent Oregon shooting massacre to tackle the gunman with their bare hands, and argued that worse than any dead bodies from gun shootings would be the curtailing of the right to bear arms – this from a highly skilled surgeon who saved numerous lives.

It would seem obvious that if either of those two win the Democrats would stroll into the White House, but this is no ordinary election.

The mood of the country can properly be described as similar to trolls on the Internet: bitter, full of fear and cries for revenge, especially on the right.

What has maddened every mother’s son so much? We are seeing the bizarre nature of GOP politics playing out in the House speaker’s race where burning down the house is seen as the best way to save it.

We can only hope for Lincoln’s angels of our better nature to take hold. At least with the Democrats finally taking the field, the real contest can begin.

Still from the CNN Democrats debate.CNN