Food & Drink

The Most Tremendous Debate Drinking Game In History

Patrick McMullan & Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On August 6, 2015, Donald Trump, flanked by nine other GOP presidential hopefuls on a stage in Cleveland, ushered in a new era of political debate, one in which the meetings between our potential leaders look less like Gore-Bush snoozefests and more like WWE bouts.

And by the time the evening was over, one thing was clear: this tangerine-colored, simulacrum of a human had induced a powerful thirst in this great nation of ours. His supporters popped victory bottles. His detractors nursed liquid courage cocktails. But while we may be experiencing the most mud-slingy election since Stephen Douglas’s supporters at the Charleston Mercury said Abe Lincoln looked like “a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper, and the nightman,” on the bright side, we’re also living through the golden age of drinking games.

That’s right, folks, a talking turnip has done more for competitive imbibing than the Solo Cup and Ping Pong Ball combined, including an amazing (drink!), classy (drink!), terrific (drink!) and tremendous (drink!) game he created himself. I’m gonna be honest with you, folks (drink!), many people are saying (drink!) it’s the best drinking game ever (drink!).

And Trump’s not the only heavyweight in the race when it comes to providing drinking game fodder. From the moment when Hillary Clinton donned her first pantsuit at age four, and declared she was running for President, the woman has been a wellspring of “drinkable moments.”

Was Hillary responsible for American deaths in Benghazi? (Drink!) Who knows? But the issue gets raised often enough to get millions of drinking gamers beschnockified every time she takes the debate stage. Ditto for her private email server (drink!), her philandering former president husband (drink!), the charitable foundation that bears her last name (drink!), the basket of deplorables (drink!) and whatever that life-threatening ailment is that she’s hiding (drink!). We need stamina! (Drink!)

Oh, jeez, I can’t resist popping some wheelies just for old time’s sake here... Ken Starr (drink!)... Travelgate (drink!)... Whitewater (drink!)... the blue dress (drink!)...

Vince Foster (drink twice!)...

In any other election, Hillary’s vast store of drinking buzzwords would make her the overwhelming favorite. But as her terrible (but consistent) luck would have it, when she finally hit the biggest stage in American politics, she did so up against a man who has not only been a high-profile reality TV star who not only created an entire category of self-aggrandizing name-brand chicanery, who not only offers the country a set of incoherent, unconstitutional proposals pursued with an insistent and bellicose nihilism, who not only kicked a baby out of one of his rallies, but a man who has single-handedly rewritten the rules of English usage.

We’re talking about the big guns: Win bigly. Braggadocious. The cyber. Department of Environmental. The Fed is doing political. If there is one word to describe Atlantic City, it’s “big business.” I have the best words.

Even someone as consistently dogged by scandal as Hillary Clinton can’t keep up with a gaffe factory working at Trump’s level. The heat on his game is so high, in fact, that drinking along to the debate in a typical, “spot the predictable verbal tic” way is actually dangerous. Even if you’re drinking Shirley Temples, you’ll be at risk of grenadine poisoning within the first 15 minutes.

Instead of following the words coming out of the candidates’ mouths, the only safe way to go about this is to titrate your drinking based on your own internal state. Which brings us to the ultimate Hillary/Trump Drinking Game. The rules are simple:

Take a drink any time you experience:

  • The urge to have 40 drinks.
  • A generalized sense of bewilderment and existential dread.
  • Inspiration that America’s best days are behind it.
  • Fear that the cyber is coming to get you.
  • An erection lasting more than four hours.
  • Worry that Trump might call upon his followers to assassinate one or both moderators.
  • Pantsuitaphobia
  • The sudden urge to paint yourself orange and strap a dead schnauzer to your head (It’s real! Pull it! I SAID PULL IT!)
  • Ivankasitis
  • Fighting with high school friends you never talk to on Facebook.
  • The lyrics to Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh” echoing over and over and over inside your head
  • Fear that America’s best days are ahead of it.
  • A certainty that black neighborhoods are blasted, post-apocalyptic Mad Max hellscapes populated solely by zombies and gasoline bandits.
  • An urge to “take the oil” from Chris Christie.
  • Intrusive thoughts about Anderson Cooper/Martha Raddatz fan fiction.
  • A desire to see Vladimir Putin on the next season of Celebrity Apprentice.
  • Mexiphilia
  • Fighting with high school friends you actually hang out with on Facebook.
  • The sneaking suspicion that the U.S. is Kevin from Home Alone and Syrian refugees are the Wet Bandits.
  • A conviction that you must be dreaming and really shouldn’t have eaten all those Trump Steaks before going to bed.
  • The words “President Trump.”
  • A sudden urge to move to a place where no one speaks English and there is no such thing as television.
  • Doubts about whether your spouse is really telling the truth about having been born in this country.
  • Wondering who would win in a fistfight, Donald Trump or an eight-year-old.
  • Wondering whether Hillary has the same tailor as Kim Jong Un.

Come to think of it, that game might not be so safe either.

A long, long time ago — the year 1621 to be exact — the great Wampanoag tribe leader Massasoit bounced a silver coin into a small wooden cup, pointed his elbow at the governor of the Massachusetts Colony, and demanded he chug the rest of his tankard of cider—marking the first drinking game ever played, in what would eventually become these United States of America.
We’ve come a long way since then. A black man was elected President not once, but twice. For the first time in our history the major party candidates for the highest office in the land are a woman and a person of color (orange).

No matter what happens when these two lock horns, we’re safe in the knowledge that even if Hillary wants to take our guns and Trump wants to take our basic human rights, there’s one thing they’ll never be able to take from us: our ability to drink them into the background and binge-watch Married At First Sight.