The first night of the second Democratic presidential primary debate proved itself worthy of a drinking game. But don’t count tonight out just yet. There may not be any progressives for moderate candidates and CNN moderators to attack, but banal centrism should be out in full force, which means we should all be drinking heavily. Here are our rules for Night Two.
Take A Drink If…
Kamala Harris is asked to explain her inane student debt relief plan. We all wanna hear it, and we’re all gonna need to drink to get through it.
Julian Castro (or any candidate) speaks Spanish. Based on how CNN discussed immigrants last night, this would probably send the moderators into a conniption fit, which would be most welcome.
Any candidate spouts an obviously-rehearsed catch phrase. Between Harris, Castro, Biden and Booker, focus group-tested dreck should be flying across the stage all night. Make it a double for anything worse than Harris’ “food fight” line from the first debate. I trust your judgement.
Joe Biden mentions his credentials on climate change. Voting record and actual policy positions be damned, Biden has been fighting the climate fight since the 1980s and he’s gonna tell us about it, dammit. What he won’t say is who he’s been fighting it for.
The audience erupts into laughter. This is related to the previous rule and guaranteed to happen several times, so we have to capitalize. The cornier the joke, the longer you drink.
Andrew Yang is asked about his Universal Basic Income plan. You know they’re gonna do it. Make it a double if the moderator asking the question uses the word “handout” in any context.
Bill de Blasio manages to get the last word on anything. He doesn’t care about his actual job anymore, but he’s pretty good at debates and teeing up a few zingers.
Cameras show the side of Biden’s head. Not to get too petty here, but if there were ever a case for a man to choose bald, this would be it. Biden’s follicular situation is a disaster. And if CNN reminds us of that, drink.
A moderator asks a candidate about something another candidate said about them/their policy. This was a big tactic during night one, mostly used against Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. With no progressive outliers to zero in on tonight, Tapper et. al. mat stray from the attacks veiled as long-winded questions. But don’t discount them turning that format around. For example: “Vice President Biden, Senator Sanders said you were lying about Americans losing coverage during the transition to Medicare For All. What would you say to him if he were here instead of a bunch of other moderates?” (Finish your drink if he asks some iteration of that question, btw.)
Finish Your Drink If…
Joe Biden waxes about his friendship with another segregationist we’ve never heard of. Odds are Biden’s learned from his mistakes. But he’s also Joe Biden, so anything is possible.
CNN experiences any major technical difficulties. MSNBC’s technical difficulties added a good bit of fun to the last debate, and made Chuck Todd look like more of a dork than he already is.
Anyone uses the word “electable” or the term “too far left.” This wound up being big last night. Without Sanders or Warren it might fade, but make no mistake the CNN moderators will bring up their two progressive boogeymen when the opportunity strikes.