If alcohol and politics don’t mix, why do so many of us have a hard time not getting political when the booze kicks in? The first presidential debate drew higher ratings than Monday Night Football and inspired a slew of watch parties and drinking games. One local group invited craft beer enthusiasts and amateur politicos to Waypoint Public (3794 30th St.) Monday to drink, laugh and ruminate on the size of Donald Trump’s hands.
Pints and Pols is a loose coalition of San Diego Twitter users who take turns hosting infrequent get-togethers during election season. Omar Passons, a local attorney-turned-civic activist, agreed to host the latest event.
“I thought it would be fun,” he said in an email. “The lack of structure can be a bit odd for some, but it keeps things loose.”
The back room at Waypoint Public was crammed with some three dozen people by Trump’s first sniffle. The crowd undeniably leaned left and cheered and jeered the candidates like it was a football game.
A collective groan went up the first time Trump dropped the phrase “law and order,” with more eye-rolls when he began to expound on the virtues of stop-and-frisk. Many cheered when moderator Lester Holt corrected Trump on his assertion stop-and-frisk had not been ruled unconstitutional (it has). Most applauded when Clinton, responding to Trump mocking her preparedness, said she had also prepared to be president.
Fascist tendencies aside, Trump was entertaining. By the second round of beers, he had hit his stride. The biggest laughs came when he bragged about his temperament, calling it his “strongest asset, by far.”
Attendee Mike Langley said he came in as a Clinton supporter and that the debate was entertaining. However, Trump’s arguments failed to sway him.
“There is only one real candidate running,” he said.
Jocelyn Maggard said she needed a place to watch because she does not have cable.
“I had a great dinner and local beer,” she said, “and it’s more fun to watch.”
“It was actually a very good debate,” said attendee Ben Katz as people began to shuffle out. “We saw the candidates for who they are.”
One benefit of hosting a public debate viewing party was how it brought beer enthusiasts and politically minded people together.
“It was cool that so few people knew each other at the start,” Passons said. “I met a neighbor, some old friends and made new ones.”
Langley said things were friendly and comfortable, and a way to bring politics into somewhere it might not always be welcome.
“It brings the community together,” he said.
“This should be what San Diego beer is about,” Katz said. “Beer people are good people.”
Passons said, as of now, there is no plan for the second debate. “They are generally a byproduct of San Diego Twitter (#SDTwitter), so anyone can host,” he said.
There are still two debates to come, and they are easier to stomach surrounded by friends. Trump is not much easier to swallow after a couple pints, but anything helps.