The Official 2020 Democratic National Convention Drinking Game

No one gets out of this thing sober

Imagine a four-day Zoom meeting in which the likes of John Kasich, Michael Bloomberg, and Nancy Pelosi warn you for the fifty through sixty millionth times about the “existential threat” of Donald Trump, and you come close to envisioning both hell on earth and what we’re all in for this week with the Democratic Party’s Biden/Harris virtual coronation.

The alternative is to start drinking early.

The 2020 DNC represents the culmination of one of the most exhausting, repetitive, and depressing primary races America has seen. It was extreme both by number of candidates – the official count seems to be 29 – and by sheer quantity of identical-sounding rhetoric. The race from the start was itself like a giant drinking game, in which candidates were rewarded in polls for delivering the most pleasing versions of oft-repeated terms like “kids in cages,” “fascist,” “white supremacy,” and “this is not who we are.”

The stretch run of the primary, a clash between centrist Joe Biden and reform-minded Bernie Sanders that ostensibly represented a serious ideological split within the party, essentially came down to a battle of talking points, i.e. “this president” versus “corporations.”

“This president” ended up winning, and the upcoming DNC will reflect the relentless Trump-centric strategy of the victors (the same strategy the party deployed four years ago). It will be light on policy and heavy on market-tested barbs about Trumpian perfidy. A year ago, we’d have been drinking most to terms like “Ukraine” or “rule of law”; this year, it’ll be “post office” and “birtherism” (take two shots for creative variations like “neo-birtherism” or “birtherism redux”).

One point makes me nervous. This convention could obliterate the boozing public with a single word, previewed in about a thousand headlines when Kamala Harris was named Biden’s running mate last week:

Trump re-election complicated by historic VP pick


Why Kamala Harris is a historic VP pick for Joe Biden

BBC News

My favorite:

Reese Witherspoon shares heartfelt story in wake of Kamala Harris’ historic VP selection

ABC News

Turn on your TV to CNN or MSNBC right now. The odds aren’t bad – I’d put them at 7-2 – that the word “historic” is in the chyron. You will hear this word five thousand times, at minimum, per day of convention coverage. Out of respect for human life, you’ll therefore be asked to drink to “history” or “historic” only when uttered by actual convention speakers. I hope readers understand, without it being included on the list, that any mention of “Malarkey” is an automatic drink.

To Substack subscribers who may not have signed up for this, I apologize. This reprisal of a Rolling Stone tradition won’t happen often, and I do have other content coming this week. A beer-based regime is recommended, as political drinking games tend to get out of hand quickly. Bong hits as substitutes allowed. Do not politics and drive. I’ll be on Twitter moderating the game beginning at 9 p.m.

For the first time, I’ll be experimenting with a Bingo version (see below).

Without further ado, drink EVERY TIME to:

  1. “Post office,” or any variation thereof (i.e. “postal service” or “mailbox”).

  2. “Soul of America.”

  3. “History” or “Historic.” Drink only when uttered by a convention speaker.

  4. “Existential threat.”

  5. “This president.”

  6. “Let me be clear.” Double shot if what comes after is not clear.

  7. “Access,” as in “access to affordable health care” or “access to a good education.” You may drink twice if this comes in conjunction with an argument about “opportunity.”

  8. “Systemic,” “systematic,” “structural,” “fundamental,” or “fundamentally.” Double-shot if the words are uttered by someone who has never voted for or supported a systemic reform.

  9. Someone speaks positively of a Clinton (h/t to @percandidate).

  10. “This is not who we are.”

  11. “Above the law.”

  12. (Something something) Mitch McConnell, (something something) is a human right.

  13. “Trump is (rehearsed witticism).” Also, “golf.”

  14. Russia.

  15. Birther.

  16. (Attempts to speak Spanish)

  17. Unity/civility.

  18. “Uncharted waters.” Drunk rum if you have it here, and yell “Aargh” like a pirate (h/t to @C00LDad77).

  19. “Democracy itself.”


  1. “Racist,” or “Black Lives.”

  2. “Lies.”

BONUS RULE: Drink every time someone blames Trump for coronavirus deaths. Make your own group judgment as to whether or not the blame is deserved.

WOKE MAD LIBS EXCEPTION: If an MSNBC commentator or a speaker uses any of the following terms, you may stop drinking for an hour to “reclaim” your sobriety: performative, white-adjacent, Latinx, decolonize, invisibilize, solidarity, interrogate, normalize, privilege (as a verb), dismantle, erase, lived experience, (anything)-splaining, heteronormative, habitus, cultural appropriation, essentialist, or trigger.

Genderfuck or melanated ends the game.  

For Bingo players:

I’ll tune in for the first and last nights of the convention only, and make MSNBC the official medium, updating with slightly tweaked rules for the Biden speech.

See you in hell.