6 p.m. ET on Fox Business. If you watch only one debate this year of candidates who are polling a combined five percent in Iowa, let it be this one.

The only reason this is being held, obviously, is to deny these three an opportunity to screech about having been robbed of a soapbox when they wash out of the race next month. But you know what? Against all odds, this debate was thisclose to being compelling. If Fiorina had followed Rand Paul’s lead and boycotted, we would have been left with the surreal spectacle of the two candidates in the race who are most similar to each other alone onstage trying to distinguish themselves somehow. It would have been two hours of Huckabee saying “Rick’s never run anything in his life” and Santorum saying “Mike has zero experience with foreign policy” mixed in with endless, endless, endless Cruz-bashing. It would have been a train wreck, but train wrecks are nothing if not watchable. Meanwhile, if Rand Paul hadn’t boycotted, we would have had two hours of the most prominent libertarian in the GOP pitted against the party’s two most famously socially conservative pols. Rand isn’t as adventurous on most social issues as a truly dogmatic libertarian would be, but I wonder if this forum, against these two candidates, wouldn’t have pushed him in that direction. He has nothing to lose at this point by being daring; some splashy pronouncements on, say, drug legalization would have gotten him a second look from the libertarian cohort that’s currently backing Ted Cruz. Ah well.

We’re left with Huck, Santo, and Fiorina, who I assume is only participating because she’s still in the hunt for VP. Her main target tonight is Nikki Haley, not Huckabee or Santorum. (Which might be awkward since the debate’s being held in South Carolina.) As for the other two, there should be plenty of (if not endless) Cruz-bashing as they each try to peel off some of Cruz’s social conservative support and regain a foothold in Iowa. I wonder if either of them still really believes a late surge back into contention is in the cards, what with Cruz and Ben Carson having already carved up most of the evangelical vote, or if they’re both still in the game primarily to try to spoil Cruz’s shot at victory. Huckabee and Santorum have both backed up Trump’s attacks on Cruz’s eligibility this week, and Huckabee has made no secret of his bitterness over the fact that evangelical leaders collectively decided to support Cruz rather than him last month. Via BuzzFeed, here’s Huck’s latest rhetorical middle finger:

Huckabee noted he deeply admired Trump.

“That’s fine, I admire him, I think frankly there’s a more readiness on my part if I don’t make it I’d support him before a lot of people,” he said. “Because at least with him there’s an authenticity. And you know, he may say some bold things, but he deep down knows that if were the president he’d have to surround himself with people who fill in blanks for him and I respect that.”

That’s not the first time he’s emphasized the supposed authenticity of Democrat-turned-Republican Donald Trump in contrast to other candidates. Except last time he made this point, he was more explicit about who he was contrasting Trump with. Exit question: If Cruz is the nominee, will Huckabee refuse to endorse him? I think the chance is small — but nonzero.