Since Fox News announced the line-up for the first GOP debate, the seven candidates who failed to make the cut have made their displeasure clear. Rick Santorum (polling at 1.4 percent) called the decision “preposterous” and “an insult to voters.” Bobby Jindal (polling at 1.4 percent) released a campaign ad dismissing the primetime debate as “all about a celebrity” and touting his popularity with the crucial “old white people in Iowa” demographic. Lindsay Graham (polling at 0.6 percent), meanwhile, released this tweet taking a potshot at frontrunner Donald Trump:

As petulant as they may sound, they do have a point: In August 2012, Rick Perry led the polls, while eventual winner Mitt Romney struggled to stay ahead of Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann. At the same point in 2008, Rudy Giuliani was a solid frontrunner, while John McCain was looking like just another also-ran. The reality show drama over who gets to participate in the primetime debate is more a symptom of the Republican Party’s internal disarray than individual candidates’ chances at winning the election. When pro-trade, pro-immigration Jeb Bush can exist in the same party as Donald “I beat China all the time” Trump, there’s room for just about any candidate to carve out a base of support, however small it might be. Plus, easy access to campaign money means long-shots like Jim Gilmore and George Pataki (polling at .2 percent and .5 percent, respectively) can keep a campaign running, even with virtually no support. This is how you end up with the most crowded primary in history.

So, what is an unlucky GOP candidate placed at the “kids’ table” to do? The answer is to toss as many outlandish ideas out there as possible and hope one of them fires up the Republican base. That’s exactly what the candidates did tonight—taking on issues of immigration, reproductive health, and US engagement in the Middle East with all the subtlety of a pickaxe. The candidates went to extraordinary lengths to present themselves as tough on immigration, from Rick Perry suggesting that the US government dispatch high-tech planes to provide 24-hour surveillance of the US border to Santorum declaring that the only reason Democrats care about immigration is because they want to bring more people across the border to vote blue. (Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has embraced immigration reform as part of her agenda.) Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham proclaimed that he would monitor mosques in the United States to prevent an ISIS attack, which is unsurprising given his extreme foreign policy views. When it came to reproductive rights, the presidential hopefuls did not miss a chance to point to the controversial Planned Parenthood videos as evidence that the women’s health organization is willing to break the law, a claim that is simply not true. Pataki declared that, even though he doesn’t support a ban on abortion, he would not hesitate to defund Planned Parenthood. If the candidates were successful, the debate will spawn a few eye-catching headlines. In the meantime, here are the highlights:

  1. “Immigration without assimilation is an invasion.” —Bobby Jindal, on immigration
  2. “It is not, any more than Dred Scott was to Abraham Lincoln.” —Rick Santorum, on whether gay marriage is settled law
  3. “We have to shut down their internet capability.” —George Pataki, on defeating homegrown terrorism
  4. “That Iran negotiation is gonna be torn up on day one….I’m also going to take a bottle of white-out with me, to deal with all of Obama’s executive orders.” —Rick Perry, on his first day in office
  5. “I don’t think it’s a war on women to stand up and say we’re not going harvest organs from babies.” —Lindsey Graham, on winning support from women voters
  6. “The American people are never going to trust Washington DC and for good reason…until we have a president who gets up every day and goes to the Oval Office with the intent purpose of securing that border.” —Rick Perry, on restoring trust in government
  7. “We need to tear down the cyberwalls that China is erecting, that Russia is erecting. We need to be very aware that China and Russia are using technology to attack us, just like ISIS is using technology to attack us.” —Carly Fiorina, on cybersecurity
  8. “We need to be on the side that keeps Iran from getting a nucular weapon.” —Rick Perry, channelling his predecessor as Texas governor
  9. “We have a president who wants to do whatever he wants to do, and take his pen and his phone and just do whatever he wants.” —Rick Santorum, on Barack Obama
  10. “Sometimes you win a war by killing murderous, evil terrorists.” —Bobby Jindal, on defeating ISIS
  11. “Democrats just care about bringing as many people in, so they can get as many votes as they can.” —Rick Santorum, on immigration