It’s time for Bernie vs. Biden, the one-on-one debate showdown we’ve been waiting for. It’s the first debate since Biden regained frontrunner status and captured big victories in key Super Tuesday states and beyond. Sanders is seemingly on his last legs, looking to overcome a large delegate deficit with 25 states still yet to vote.
This debate could make all the difference. Sanders could wind up differentiating himself from Biden and changing the course of the primary, or Biden could cement his commanding lead and run out the clock until the convention. As COVID-19 spreads rapidly across the U.S. and states have begun postponing primaries, this could be the last debate we see until the general election. And with no studio audience in attendance, focus rests squarely on the candidates and how they present themselves and their ideas.
Here are the drinking rules for debate No. 11:
Take a Drink If …
Sanders calls Biden his “friend.” Bernie hasn’t been shy about reminding people of his friendship with the former vice president which dates back to all their years in the Senate. Sanders is probably best served pulling the kid gloves off and going at Biden hard to draw a strong distinction between them. But Bernie seems hellbent on keeping things friendly, so we drink. While you’re at it, drink if Biden says it too.
Biden calls Medicare for All or any of Sanders’ plans “unrealistic.” This is a go-to line for Biden, so expect him to hit it at least a few times. Finish your drink if he uses the phrase “pie in the sky.”
Either candidate says the other would be better than Trump at handling the coronavirus outbreak. Again, these guys are friends, so the compliments are sure to be flying.
Either candidate begins presenting their plan to deal with the outbreak. Both candidates did this following Trump’s less-than-inspiring speech earlier this week.
Sanders mentions Biden’s history of trying to cut social security. This one of the better and clearest arguments Sanders has against Biden. Given the circumstances surrounding this debate, it may not come up. But if it does, we drink.
Anyone mentions the absence of a studio audience. It’s not clear if the lack of a studio audience will help either candidate more, but it’ll be a focal point of the broadcast (and probably surreal to see).
A moderator asks a candidate about his struggles with a certain age voting demographic. For Biden, it’s young voters. For Bernie, it’s older voters. We don’t know who’s getting the question, so we’re covering our bases. Finish your drink if this is presented in a back-to-back fashion.
Sanders brings up his positive polling against Trump. Bernie’s done this in the last few debates to portray himself as electable, and it’s fair to expect he’ll do it again.
Finish Your Drink If …
Sanders mentions Biden’s lies about being arrested in South Africa or marching with Dr. Martin Luther King. This is unlikely, given the aforementioned friendliness between these two. But this could be Bernie’s last chance to draw major contrast between himself and Biden, which means he might swing for the fences.
Biden talks about Sanders’ online supporters. The Bernie Bro narrative is alive and well, and Biden hinted at this becoming a line of attack against Sanders going forward. If it turns out to be, pour up.
Sanders is asked if he’ll endorse Biden against Trump. This is a slightly modified staple rule, and if it’s asked to anyone, it’ll be Bernie.
A moderator asks Sanders why he’s still in the race. Most corporate media and moderate Democrats want to pack this thing up. Don’t be shocked if someone actually asks why Bernie is bothering to continue running.
Chug The Entire Bottle If …
Biden unexpectedly announces that Medicare for All is the solution to America’s healthcare problems. Yeah, we’d need at least a full bottle to deal with this news.
Sanders says screw it, drops out on stage, and endorses Biden. Better known as a moderate’s wet dream.