The Democratic primary is heating up as we near the end of 2019. A few candidates have dropped out, a few more (rich ones) have joined and campaigns are starting to openly attack one another. It’s a perfect time for the meaningless political theater of a debate.
Still, there are plenty of storylines to cover and narratives to question. Will Warren and Sanders finally go at one another? Will Mayor Pete stay cool under increased scrutiny? And how the hell is Biden still the frontrunner?
Pour up. Here are the drinking rules for debate number five.
Take a Drink If…
Anyone brings up Pete Buttigieg’s “High Hopes” dance. Debates love cringe, which makes this perfect fodder for a mention. The bizarre dance routine has been making the rounds on Twitter over the past few days. Finish your drink if Buttigieg makes any mention of those mocking his supporters doing the dance.
Buttigieg is asked about/attacked for his time with McKinsey. Buttigieg’s bump in national polls makes him a prime target for attack, and his time working with McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm with a history of unsavory connections, particularly involving clients like South Africa, Saudi Arabia and I.C.E. under the Trump administration, is ripe for the picking.
Bernie Sanders refers to Bolivia’s political uprising as a coup. This is an easy differentiation point for Sanders, and one his supporters love. It’s not a good sign for the Democratic Party that Sanders has been the only candidate to call a spade a spade, but we can expect him to remind us of it if he’s given the opportunity.
Impeachment proceedings are discussed. Okay listen, we’re just trying to lubricate you here. Obviously they’re going to bring up impeachment, it’s just a question of how often. We don’t expect you to drink each time it happens. But if one of the senators on stage mentions their role in the proceedings, finish your drink.
Amy Klobuchar attempts a terrible joke/bad pun. By now this is a staple rule. Klobuchar loves making jokes and we love making you drink. It’s probably the only benefit to having her on stage.
Joe Biden mentions Barack Obama. Another staple rule. You know he’s gonna. Just fucking drink.
A candidate is asked about wealth taxes. Expect this question to go to Elizabeth Warren, whose proposed wealth tax garnered a bunch of media attention over the past month. There’s a chance, though, it’s spun to a candidate like Biden or Buttigieg to gauge whether or not they think it’s right. Finish your drink if this happens.
Warren attempts to explain her further convoluted Medicare For All plan. Warren has backed away from M4A in recent weeks, extending the time frame she’d require to implement it. But really it’s just another watered down re-definition of the actual bill, akin to Mayor Pete’s “Medicare For All Who Want It.” Finish your drink if she uses the word “realistic” or “reasonable” while doing so.
Any candidates not on stage are mentioned. This includes both dropouts, new entries and those who missed the cut, from Beto O’Rourke to Michael Bloomberg to Julian Castro.
Tom Steyer mentions his pledge to fly commercially to campaign events. Steyer really doesn’t have any sticking points; he’s not even the lone billionaire in the race anymore. One might suspect his “fly commercial” pledge was a stunt to create enthusiasm, creating a spectacle of a billionaire sitting in coach on behalf of the environment. That’s really stupid, so just drink.
Trump tweets during the debate. Another rollover rule. Make it a double if he mentions a specific candidate.
Finish Your Drink If…
Any candidate says billionaires should exist/be celebrated. Unlike Warren and Sanders, the rest of the Democratic field is openly courting billionaire donations (if they aren’t billionaires already). The anti-billionaire discourse has risen to a fever pitch; at least one candidate will slide this into an answer.
Cory Booker does anything remotely memorable or interesting. This rule rolled over from the last debate, where he failed to do anything memorable or interesting. Are you awake, Cory? We’re thirsty.
Anyone farts. This debate is on MSNBC after all, mere days after Fartgate. Throw it back if anyone lets one slip.
MSNBC experiences (non-fart related) technical difficulties. Another staple rule. Farts don’t count. If the lights go out or the mics aren’t synced up, drink up.