Throwing a party for the midterm elections?
How brave. It’s a risky move, since parties on election nights aren’t always as fun as you imagine beforehand. You’re tempting fate here.
But you are confident and fearless. And while you’re a good citizen who knows that politics is a serious business that shapes our lives in obvious and invisible ways, you can’t help getting caught up in the spectacle of an election night.
Watching the results with friends, acquaintances and strangers is emotionally and socially complicated, however. Here’s some practical advice.
Serve appropriately themed joke food and cocktails
If you’re surrounded by Democrats, you could serve Beeto O’Rourke and wash it down with AlexSangria Ocasio-Cortez. If you’re partying with Republicans, you might prefer Dave Bratwurst.
Puns and specific dishes can and should be adjusted to your local district. For those with an unpunnable candidate, you could fall back on (Re)Publican Chicken or Democrab cakes.
There are a number of cocktails with donkey and elephant themes. And there’s also “The Undecided.” But we don’t expect that those voters have decided which party to attend.
Look at your phone more
Scolds at parties will often tell you to spend less time with your phone, experience the people around you and live in the moment. This is all unnecessary, if not damaging, at an election-watching party.
In this environment, you are forgiven for soaking up every last bit of information you can at the earliest possible moment. Did a dubious oddsmaker shift the odds by 0.2 percent in the Texas Senate race? You need to know, and you need to know now. You are surrounded by your people here, and no one will judge you.
Overdosing on information is half the fun of the party, if you want to call any of this “fun.”
Do read tweets aloud. Carefully.
“Did you see what Famous Political Reporter tweeted?”
Yes, everyone saw what Famous Political Reporter tweeted. You’re at an election-watching party with people who willingly went to an election-watching party. Everyone there follows Famous Political Reporter and 500 other political journalists who retweet one another.
If you’re going to read a tweet out loud — or hand your phone over so people can read the tweet themselves — you’ve got to zig where others zag. The bar for shutting down conversation should be high.
Also: If someone reads a tweet out loud that you’ve already seen, there’s no point in saying, “Yeah, I saw that.” It just makes the reader of the tweet feel bad. Instead, pretend they are delivering new information and grant them the satisfaction. We all make small sacrifices in the name of social graces.
Learn how to stop yourself from crying
Bad news: Your preferred candidate or political party lost and your vision of victory was an illusion. Crying is a good option at this point. It’s entirely normal and healthy. But if you feel a social obligation to keep the faucets turned off, here’s what you can do to fight your natural human response.
Learn how to improve your gloating
Congratulations! Your preferred candidate or political party won, and the tears of your opponents taste even better than the wine.
You could extend an olive branch to supporters of the other candidate, pledging to work together and find common ground, but that wouldn’t get many likes, and we all know you aren’t going to do that.
Instead, a fun group activity will be workshopping your over-the-top social media posts with your celebrating co-partiers. Run your jokes by them and recruit their help in choosing the perfect GIF.
A crucial rule to remember: If you make a joke at the party that gets a laugh, you are clear to repeat it on social media. But if you hear someone else’s joke and tweet it out as your own, that’s grounds for impeachment. Shame on you.
Make your offerings to the needle
Or don’t. The needle does not care about you. The needle cares only about the truth.
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