By Alex Altman
November 4, 2014

It has all come down to this. After two years of sloganeering, more than $2 billion in ads, and all the phony umbrage the two parties could muster, it’s finally time for America to vote.

The truth is that Election Night can be kind of a bore, at least until the returns start rolling in. So: might we suggest a beverage? If you’re a Republican, you should have plenty to celebrate; if you’re a Democrat, the booze may help numb the pain. Either way, pour yourself a drink, and raise your glass to one of democracy’s great glorious rituals.

Here are TIME’s 2014 Election Night drinking game suggestions:

  • “Ground game.” The key is to pace yourself. Drink one sip.
  • An incumbent is described as “embattled.” Drink three sips.
  • A Taylor Swift reference. Drink three.
  • “It will all come down to turnout.” Finish your drink.
  • John King doodles on his Magic Wall. Drink one.
  • A network presents publicly available information as an exclusive. Drink three.
  • Hologram sighting. Finish your drink.
  • A Democratic dynasty candidate loses. This includes: Mark Begich, Jason Carter, Andrew Cuomo, Mary Landrieu, Michelle Nunn, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall. Drink one. Let’s not go crazy.
  • Democrats win a battleground state: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire or North Carolina. Finish your drink.
  • A winning candidate thanks God. Drink one.
  • A winning candidate thanks his or her big donors. Drink three.
  • A winning candidate thanks Barack Obama. Finish your drink.
  • An anchor or correspondent cites an obscure, “crucial” county that may determine the fate of a race. Drink one.
  • You’ve heard of the county. Drink three.
  • Because you’ve heard of the county, you know the person touting its importance just mangled its name. Finish your drink.
  • A Democratic pundit points to the history of midterm losses for a sitting president. Drink one.
  • A Republican describes a win as a “mandate.” Drink one.
  • Newt Gingrich uses an out-of-proportion superlative. Drink three.
  • A media pundit advises Obama to “hit the reset button” or fire people who were in no way responsible for anything that transpired on Election Night. Finish your drink.
  • A winning candidate praises an opponent that he or she has been brutally savaging for months. Drink one.
  • The number of American flags on stage at a candidate’s victory speech exceeds the number of Electoral College votes in that state. Drink three.
  • A winning candidate is not wearing a flag pin. Finish your drink.
  • The number of on-screen pundits discussing the political impact of the Ebola virus exceeds the number the Americans with the Ebola virus. Finish your drink.
  • Someone notes that there’s only 730 days until we do this again. It’s time to call it a night.

Feel free to add your own twists. Make sure to drink water. Don’t drink and drive. And remember: this is the greatest democracy on Earth, even though it can sometimes look like the silliest.

Write to Alex Altman at


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