Just one state down in the Democratic primary and everything’s gone to hell. The Democratic Party’s slow drip release of caucus results has left everyone wondering about the legitimacy of the numbers and the party itself. And just as that doubt fully sets, it’s time for another primary and another debate to go with it.
Seven candidates qualified for the New Hampshire debate. It’ll be the eighth since the race began, and comes just twelve days before the next one in Nevada on Feb. 19. The Iowa chaos will be front and center, as will President Trump’s recent acquittal. This is certain to be a shitshow on par with previous debates—mostly empty political theater showcasing the depravity of the horse race. But at least it’s on a Friday night so your drinking will feel a little less guilty.
Here are the drinking rules for debate number eight.
Take a Drink If …
Every time the word “Iowa” is uttered. We’re getting this one out of the way early. We don’t want you to get alcohol poisoning, so we’re not asking you to take a big swig. Just a little sip for each time you hear it.
A question involves Trump’s State of the Union. Trump’s speech was Tuesday night, which feels like a few months ago. But there were plenty of noteworthy moments in the speech for moderators to build off of and candidates to contrast themselves with, from his attack on single payer healthcare plans to stringent border security.
Anytime a candidate calls Trump guilty. We don’t know who, but someone’s gonna say this in the wake of Trump’s Senate acquittal. The only trouble you run into is if Bernie Sanders starts listing off all the other things Trump is guilty of—we can’t save you from Bernie’s wrath here. Finish your drink if this is framed as a question.
Joe Biden is asked about his poor showing in Iowa. Maybe the biggest story in Iowa (besides, you know, the ratfucking) was Biden’s abysmal performance. He’s kicked off his time in New Hampshire on the offensive, trying to assure his donors and whatever’s left of his base that everything’s fine. But it’s probably not, so he’ll probably get this question and you’ll probably drink.
Elizabeth Warren mentions her caucus numbers. Another storyline lost in the Iowa wash was Warren’s decent performance. She came in third but outperformed projections and eclipsed supposed frontrunner Joe Biden easily. But with all the drama at the top of the polls, no one really cared. Good chance she takes a second to mention it.
Amy Klobuchar attempts a terrible joke/bad pun. Probably the best staple rule we have. Klobuchar’s sure to come out swinging after that strong fifth place finish Iowa. Her jokes suck, but by god, she’s gonna make ’em—and you’re gonna drink.
Biden says “malarkey.”
Sanders says “working class coalition.”
Moderators ask any candidate if they’ll support X in the general election. This question is made for Sanders. There’s been a lot of this worry lately, and it makes sense—moderates feel their grip slipping on the party as Bernie’s momentum surges. A last gasp attempt is to hold him (and his supporters) to the hollow “Vote Blue No Matter Who” pledge and snap if any of them hesitate. Finish your drink if this is asked to the entire stage and answered by each candidate one at a time.
Finish Your Drink If …
Pete Buttigieg says he won the Iowa caucus. Buttigieg’s victory speech Monday night set the narrative that he won the state. As the results slowly rolled in, however, that became less and less clear. It’d be odd to hear Buttigieg double down on his false victory claim, but it’s not out of the question.
Trump tweets during the debate. This is a staple rule, and one that requires you to follow along with Twitter just in case. It’s Friday night, so he might be on.
Tom Steyer does anything remotely memorable. Rolled over from our last debate. Cory Booker used to be the poster boy for this staple rule, but since he dropped out the buck passes to Steyer, who despite spending more on advertising that every candidate on stage combined has yet to have any real impact on the discourse.
Any candidate questions the Iowa caucus results. Discussing Iowa is an almost certainty, and nearly all the candidates onstage have expressed their frustration with the process. We’re just trying to get you good and drunk here, folks.
Chug The Entire Bottle If …
Buttigieg shouts out his homies at Shadow and ACRONYM. Two bottles and a bump if he namechecks ACRONYM founder Tara McGowan, wife of Buttigieg campaign senior strategist Michael Halle, and says something like “it takes teamwork to make the dream work.”
Klobuchar challenges George Stephanopoulos to an arm wrestling contest to prove her midwestern strength.
Biden leaves the stage to take a jailhouse call from his son Hunter. The former Burisma Holdings board member allegedly likes to go hard at strip clubs and you never know when he needs his dad to pull some strings.
ABC realizes there’s nothing in the rules that says a dog can’t moderate the debate and brings Air Bud onstage.