Let’s Play Democratic Debate B-I-N-G-O Tonight! (No, We’re Serious)

Image: iStock

Nobody won Wednesday night’s first 2020 Democratic presidential debate, but a couple of people lost. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) looked confused for half the night and somehow managed to make Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) look like a foreign policy expert. Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA), despite having more executive experience than anybody on the stage (except maybe New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio), nevertheless faded into the Pacific Northwest. Most shockingly, the battle of Texas ended before it started because former HUD Secretary Julian Castro decided to snatch former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke’s homework, soul and rhetoric and turn it into the teacher before O’Rourke knew what was going on.

All of this happened on a night where conventional wisdom said there were only one or two real contenders on the stage. However, if Wednesday’s debate was the first day of school, Thursday’s debate with four of the top five polling Democrats (South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris) is senior exams played out during The Hunger Games.


For many Americans, these debates will be their first time seeing former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. Across the nation, people will be tweeting, texting and asking other folks on the couch: “Who is that person? What are they talking about? What do these people stand for?”

That’s where The Root steps in. Why relegate your debate-watching experience to just digital snark or watching your “woke” friend Karen scream at the screen in her “#RESIST” t-shirt and pink pussy hat—or worse, yelling “drink” whenever someone mentions Donald Trump? To liven up your debate watch party experience, The Root has official 2020 Democratic Debate Bingo Cards. Now, in addition to our 2020 Candidate Black Power Rankings, you and five of your politically fancy friends can figure out who from the debates deserves an invite to the barbecue (or cookout, depending on where you live) and who is doing the best talking while going full analog during the two-hour gabfest.

For those of you who never played Bingo as a kid (look, I don’t know how to play Spades, so no judgment here) or have no grandparents living in a Florida retirement home, here’s how you play:

Print out the bingo cards below. Then, grab a pencil and paper and mark off each square whenever you hear a candidate utter that word or phrase (trust me, they’ve all said these at least once, we tested it). The first person to get four consecutive squares wins dinner with Andrew Yang! (Not actually, but his main campaign proposal is a $1,000 a month universal basic income, so I think he can spring for Ruth’s Chris.)


It’s fun! Millions of summer camps and senior homes can’t be wrong, and you’ll have a debate souvenir to last until the end of our democracy (which is probably another 18 months).

Enjoy the debates!


Bingo card art by Jim Cooke, G/O Media

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