You have gotten used to the spectacle. Now prepare for the sideshow. After two full-contact Republican debate-a-paloozas starring Donald Trump, a brain surgeon and a dozen more politicians, five Democrats will take the stage tonight in Vegas to show what they’ve got.
But don’t get too excited. Only two of the five—former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—were even Democrats 15 years ago. Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb was still a Reagan Republican. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was a “democratic socialist” who refused to join the Democratic Party until this spring. And former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chaffee voted for George H.W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. That’s not a typo. He voted for George H.W. Bush in the year George W. Bush was running for reelection.
Such is the state of the Democratic race. When CNN broadcast the last Republican debate, there were 15 candidates stretched over five hours of airtime. Tonight, CNN will only keep the lights on for two and a half hours, starting at 8:30 p.m. EST.
So we must change our drinking strategy. Think short bursts, not the long haul. Prepare to get excited about inequality statistics, not one-liner attacks. There will be no gruesome descriptions of abortion procedures or oppressed wedding cake bakers. You will have to make do with ideas for further Wall Street reform.
As always, the disclaimer: The following drinking game should not be attempted. It will make you ill, and cost way too much money. Also, if you do drink, make sure you are of legal age and don’t drive a car afterwards.
And away we go:
- Pair red wine with a cracker if someone praises Pope Francis.
- Chug a light beer if Clinton says Americans have been through tough economic times. If she says she understands the struggle or “empathizes with economic realities of my target voters,” head on down to the nearest dive bar to watch the NLDS. Root for the Mets. It’s Karma, Utley.
- Drink a Red Bull when O’Malley says “new leadership,” “proven leadership” or “progressive leadership.” If O’Malley says he is the “only” candidate with proven executive experience, pour one out in solidarity with Chafee.
- When you see the rippling edges of O’Malley’s enormous biceps flex under his suit jacket, shoot Jägermeister. If you are overcome with dizziness and feel faint, don’t drink. Just sit down and close your eyes. It will pass.
- Drink a glass of milk when Hillary Clinton mentions she is a grandmother. Spike the milk with two shots of Kahlúa if she says her granddaughter is the “greatest little thing.”
- Oink like a pig from George Orwell’s Animal Farm when Chafee repeats his campaign slogan, “Prosperity through Peace.”
- Enjoy some rice wine when Jim Webb mentions Vietnam. If you are a resident of Oregon, Washington or Colorado, feel free to light one up.
- Drink whiskey from the bottle when Webb says “Scots-Irish” or refers to his ancestors.
- Sip Chardonnay, preferably something infused with French oak, like Marimar Estate’s 2008 Don Miguel Vineyard Chardonnay (93 points), when Bernie Sanders accuses billionaires of hiding their money on the Cayman Islands.
- Sneak a drink from your friends’ glass when Sanders says income inequality is destroying America. Finish your friends’ drinks if Sanders says “so few have so much and so many have so little.”
- If Chafee mentions the superiority of the metric system, open the Ouzo. If Chafee says more Americans should drive mopeds, finish the bottle.
- If Webb asks any of the other candidates to test his stomach muscles by punching him, just take a moment to remember we are all blessed to live in this world. If he threatens to fight any of the other candidates, finish whatever is within arm’s reach.
- Mix a pink martini as soon as the candidates start discussing the “War on Women.” Drink each time someone says “Planned Parenthood.”
- Pour some of your drink on the floor if anyone mentions “mass incarceration.”
- Tap a new keg if a candidate promises to help with college debt. Keg stand if the offer is free college and a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.
Take a sip for each of the following:
- Clinton refuses to respond to a direct question.
- A CNN moderator tries to get another candidate to attack Clinton for her email habits.
- Any candidate says they opposed TPP or the Keystone Pipeline first.
- Someone mentions their vote on the Iraq war.
- Anyone says “hashtag” before “Black Lives Matter.”
- Every single time someone says “guns.”
- Webb criticizes President Obama.
- Clinton criticizes Jeb Bush.
- Someone mentions Donald Trump.
- Someone uses a Vegas cliché.
- Someone makes a joke about gambling.
- Anyone claims to admire and respect Vice President Joe Biden.
- The phrase “protect Social Security” is uttered.
- Bill Clinton’s name is dropped.
- “Immigrants” and “rape” appear in the same sentence.
With additional silly ideas from the rest of TIME’s DC Washington Bureau, especially Sam Frizell.
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