The third Democratic primary debate is upon us, and not a moment too soon. The field has been whittled down a bit, but we’ve still got ten candidates on stage vying for airtime. And unlike the first two debates, this one is taking place on a single night instead of two. We can all count that as a win. But there will still be plenty of shouting, talking over time and badly framed questions to go around. Plus, with a three-hour runtime, you’ll probably need a fair amount of alcohol to get through it.
Here are the drinking rules for debate number three.
Take a Drink If…
Anyone mentions 9/11. This debate was scheduled for 9/12, presumably out of respect for the 18th anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11th, 2001. But that makes it an absolutely certainty 9/11 becomes a talking point. Make it a double if it’s used as part of a moderator’s question.
A candidate goes over time. ABC News is making a big deal of giving candidates more time to talk this time around, but no amount of time is enough for professional talkers.
A candidate curses. Apparently there’s a strict no cursing policy at this debate. But in recent weeks Beto O’Rourke in particular has been unafraid of cussing to show his passion about a given topic, particularly mass shootings/gun control. (Note: “damn” counts, so keep the liquor handy for Bernie Sanders.)
Beto talks about his (failed) Senate campaign in Texas. The third debate is taking place in Houston, so O’Rourke could find himself in the spotlight on a number of questions. At the very least, he’ll force in the local angle with bits like this one.
Elizabeth Warren goes after Biden on banking policy or campaign fundraising. The two have longstanding policy disagreements and this is the first time they’ll appear on stage together. With Biden literally positioned between Warren and Sanders, ABC could easily take the CNN conflict route and pit the frontrunner against his two foremost challengers.
Finish Your Drink If…
ABC experiences any technical difficulties. Implemented after the first debated and rolled over again from the second. This rule might be a staple from now on.
Some form of the term “mental fitness” is used. This would be a major subtweet at Joe Biden and his continued verbal gaffes, so it’s bound to come up at some point. Make it a double if it comes from a moderator, and finish your drink if Biden brings it up himself.
Amy Klobuchar attempts a terrible joke/bad pun. Also rolled over from the second debate. Hopefully Klobuchar spares us, but she likely won’t. Drink up.
Anyone uses the word “electable.” Yup, bringing this one back too. Especially if a candidate uses it to describe themselves or denigrate someone else. This word should be banned from use forever. But until then, if you hear it, drink.