The Democratic debates are useful benchmarks for candidate fundraising and polling. They’ve helped some candidates spread messages and raise their profiles. But mostly they’re opportunities for news junkies to treat politics like televised sporting events. That means more than just rooting for someone to win. It means getting drunk and yelling at the screen.
If you’re upset the last debate was was a little tame, don’t worry. This one’s essentially the same format with two extra candidates added onto the already crowded stage. That means even less substance buttressed by even more fanfare. Seriously, don’t watch this sober. We’ll help you get through it.
Here are our drinking rules for debate number four.
Take a Drink If…
A moderator asks Bernie Sanders about his health and/or energy. Sanders’ heart attack and recovery is one of the main topics of interest heading into the debate. Don’t expect a television event moderated by CNN and The New York Times to pass this up. There’s a fair chance Sanders brings it up on his own to address the elephant in the room—make it a double if he does that.
Elizabeth Warren jokingly mentions her fake affair. Conservative conspiracist/grifter/human hemorrhoid Jacob Wohl dropped a doozy of a fictional bombshell earlier this week, alleging the Massachusetts Senator was secretly canoodling with an ex-Marine. Turned out that accusing Warren of chasing after kinky thrills that only made her seem cooler. Don’t be surprised if she mines it for zingers.
Warren mentions her plan to stop taking big money donors. It’s a standout point for her, even if she’s not the first candidate to get there.
Joe Biden mentions Obama. He’s gonna. Just fucking drink.
Tom Steyer brings up impeachment. The California billionaire has finally reached the debate stage after years of building up his profile in YouTube advertisements calling for Trump’s impeachment. Like an aged reliever with a reliable slider, he’s got one pitch and we can expect him to throw it a lot. Expect him to jump in on the topic as often as possible.
Beto O’Rourke is asked about his plan to revoke religious tax exemptions. Taking on churches is an interesting play by O’Rourke, who’s been flailing in the middle of the Democratic primary field for some time. But his comments made news, so it could come up. Make it a double if anyone openly disagrees with him.
O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg go at it. This is petty, but it’s still the most entertaining candidate clash we have on stage that doesn’t involve someone whose own tongue trips him up with every sentence (Biden).
Trump tweets during the debate. You’ll have to monitor your phone, but this is a gimme. The man can’t resist himself. Make it a double if he names a specific candidate. Make it a triple if he awards a nickname (sleepy Joe; crazy Bernie, etc) or weighs in on whether he’s afraid of them,
A candidate’s mental fitness is questioned. We saw this in the last debate with Castro and Biden. And the former VP hasn’t helped quell the notion that he’s dipping into senility in the weeks since.
Amy Klobuchar attempts a terrible joke/bad pun. We’ve included this since the second debate and it never fails to deliver. Klobuchar will make a corny joke and you will cringe. And then you will drink.
Anderson Cooper cuts someone off. This isn’t a dig or anything. I’m just trying to help you enjoy the evening.
Finish Your Drink If…
Someone calls Kamala Harris a cop. They’re not gonna use those exact words, instead using her record as California’s attorney general to make the point. But that almost makes it even more satisfying.
Cory Booker does anything remotely memorable or interesting. Fat chance, but we’ll be ready.
CNN experiences any technical difficulties. Implemented after the first debated and rolled over again from the second and third.
Anyone says impeachment is a bad idea. Tulsi Gabbard said this a few weeks ago, and I’d bet she’s not the only Democratic candidate who actually agrees. But saying it on stage is a different thing entirely. In fact, it’s an occasion worthy of a new drink.