From the heavily rehearsed jabs, gimmicks and one-liners at the June debates to the elaborately staged “live drawing” for the July debate lineups that aired Thursday night on CNN, it’s starting to look like Democrats have been drawn into the reality TV genre that President Trump, who first entered most homes as a character on “The Apprentice,” started spreading in American politics.

The Democratic National Committee has all but encouraged candidates to strive for performative breakout moments as a way to attract more donors, which are needed to qualify for the party’s televised debates.

The result is a field of candidates in search of did-you-see-that clips to dominate successive news cycles, something to keep them in the churn of cable and social media content that drives attention, small-dollar contributions and, they hope, a rise in the polls.