Kirsten Gillibrand plays beer pong with water

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand at an April campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa.
Photo: Scott Olson (Getty Images)

You know what I hate? Critiquing people’s innocuous food and beverage choices. You know what I hate more? When that person is a woman, and the beverage in question is beer, and the internet comes to pile on her for some perceived lack of cred or sophistication. It’s icky. And yet, and yet, and yet—I am going to do this very thing myself, right now, because this situation demands it: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand plays beer pong with water, and that is whack as hell.

In a fundraising tweet yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate and New York Senator Gillibrand posted a video of herself playing what looks to be beer pong, but with cups obviously full of water. The text overlaying the video reads: “If Kirsten makes this shot… will you donate $1 to guarantee her a spot on the Democratic debate stage?” Candidates must reach a fundraising threshold to appear at official Democratic National Committee debates, and with a crowded field of candidates this year, most are in hyper-fundraising mode.

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The reason I’m calling Gillibrand out here is not because she drinks beer or doesn’t drink beer, but the premise of the video is on-face ridiculous. If you’re playing beer pong in a staged video—presumably to be cool and relatable to fellow kids—then you’d better actually play with beer. And if you’re not playing with beer, then… do something else in your video?

It’s too bad there’s not another metaphor (basketball) in which a person attempts makes a shot… (like with a basketball). Ideally, it would be something cool (like basketball), and popular among kids (maybe basketball?)… if only.

Gillibrand now has the dubious distinction of joining another crowded field of candidates: Those who have made headlines for their questionable booze-related choices. Already inducted into that elite society are Senator Elizabeth Warren, Michelob Ultra-drinker; and Senator Cory Booker, who thinks a margarita contains fruit, ice, and vodka. I’m noticing these candidates are all from either New York or New Jersey—can some of the campaign staffers out East please explain drinking to them? Or perhaps suggest they leave the booze out of their campaigns entirely.

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Addendum: An astute commenter points out that Gillibrand might be following the more sanitary practice of using water cups as vessels so that the dirty pong ball doesn’t get in the actual beer. When someone makes a shot, the team then drinks a beer that’s off to the side of the table. I can’t definitely spot a beer in the video, though, so this seems to be up for debate.

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About the author

Kate Bernot

Kate Bernot is managing editor at The Takeout and a certified beer judge.