America could be stumbling drunk pretty fast tonight just based on Rule #1 of the Official 2022 Midterm Election Drinking Game: drink at every mention of democracy itself. We’ve been told for months that’s what’s at stake, and it’s a safe bet you’ll be told it again tonight at least enough times to drain a bottle or two.
But what fun would a drinking game with one rule be? Especially at the end (we hope!) of a political season as infuriating as this one, we deserve to kick it a little. The quantity of terror-mongering this year has been unprecedented. Issues all but vanished. In their place the public was subjected to an endless parade of horror tales about democracy’s end, “attacks” on ballot integrity, intimidation, disenfranchisement, foreign influence, “election denial,” and three bears of the new Homeland Security Goldilocks tale: misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation.
All of which makes the prospect of watching returns tonight grimmer than usual, but we’re here to help, with drinking game rules for tonight’s broadcasts. I’m going to be watching MSNBC, purely for comedy value, but you can substitute any broadcast from Fox to CNN fairly easily. I’m on kid duty tonight and unfortunately won’t be on hand for the whole night. However, I plan on trying Substack’s new chat feature, opening a beer and a chat with subscribers at 8 p.m. You’ll need the Substack App to take part. I’ll also be joining Katie Halper on her show at around 10 p.m (click here to join).
No matter where you watch, coverage tonight should be packed with lunatic hyperbole, with warnings either about a blood-soaked New American Reich or a vast election-theft conspiracy, depending on which party succeeds. Of course the most likely end is the Beastie Boys No Sleep Till Brooklyn scenario, i.e. we don’t make it to an answer no matter how late we stay up, with panic continuing for weeks and people on all sides feeling more anxious and hating one another more as time progresses.
To which our answer is, Drink! But have fun doing it, at least tonight, perhaps according to these rules:
Drink EVERY TIME:
Anyone, from a candidate to a TV anchor, mentions that “democracy is on the ballot.” Double-shot for use of the phrase democracy itself, e,g, “democracy itself is on the ballot.”
You’re told this is the most important election of our lifetime, or the most critical moment of our lives, etc. You may drink an additional shot if you’re certain today is not any of those things.
Steve Kornacki draws a frenzied geometric shape around Pennsylvania.
John Fetterman’s shorts are visible in a video report.
Nate Silver reminds you he doesn’t do predictions, but rather publishes percentage-chance forecasts.
Liz Cheney is mentioned (i.e. as if mattering).
Elon Musk is blamed for something. Double-shot if the bad thing is “in the name of” or “under the guise of” free speech.
Anyone mentions “over a hundred election deniers on the ballot.” Also drink for permutations on the theme, e.g. “60% of Americans will have an election-denier on the ballot,” or “Over half of GOP candidates are election-deniers,” “election-denier JD Vance wants to ban books,” etc.
Anyone mentions the “specter of violence” or “conditions ripe for violence,” or reports votes are being counted “amid threats of violence.” Do an exclamation shot at the end of the night if no violence is ultimately observed.
A politician or a pundit warns that everything might come down to the “wild card” in Georgia, and with suspicious gleefulness reminds you we might all be waiting until December 6th to find out who’ll control the Senate. Call it the “No Sleep Till Georgia” rule.
SPECIAL MSNBC “DECISION 2022” ELECTION NIGHT RULES:
Tune in at 8 p.m. Guess which of Rachel Maddow, Nicolle Wallace, Joy Reid, Chris Hayes, Alex Wagner, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ari Melber, Stephanie Ruhle or the aforementioned Kornacki will be first to blame any Republican victory on disobedient or insufficiently centrist Democrats and/or third party “spoilers.” Drink the first time this happens anyway, and drink a double if you guess correctly.
Guess which contributor will be the first to make a cringe sports-related joke about Herschel Walker. Drink the first time this happens, and drink a double if you guess correctly or the person botches the terminology (e.g. “For once, Herschel Walker can’t pile the move”).
Guess which contributor will be first to convey warnings from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, US Capitol Police, or National Counterterrorism Center about threats, misinformation, or the impending end of civilization. Drink the first time this happens, and drink a double if you guess correctly or the contributor happens also to be a former government official.
Guess which contributor will be the first to invoke Nazis, fascists, or white supremacy, or suggests without irony that tonight might be the last time we ever have elections. Drink the first time this happens, drink a double if you guess correctly.
OPTIONAL: Keep a running count of how many times the word “Trump” is mentioned on the broadcast versus all mentions of all other issues (health care, education, the economy/inflation, etc.). If at the end of the night you have a “hot deck,” i.e. the number is +4 for Trump, you may drink that many times. If the deck is cold, drink coffee. Or whatever.
DRINK ONLY THE FIRST TIME YOU HEAR:
Russians/Putin want you to vote Republican (e.g. “a Republican majority in the Senate and the House of Representatives could help the Russian war effort”).
Remember, rules can be combined. Here’s a double-shot, for instance:
This is exactly what Putin wants. If we’d had Republicans like this in the 1980s, we would have lost the Cold War. pic.twitter.com/vPYmYuj6ME— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) November 4, 2022
As always, do not politics and drive. Hydrate before sleeping, hug your loved ones, and don’t wig out too much, no matter what the result. The sun will still come up tomorrow.
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