Can you engage in a thoughtful discussion on the 2020 presidential election with your dad, a nuanced man who finds Trump disdainful — but not nearly as disdainful as possibly voting for an abortion-loving Democrat? One way or another, you’re about to find out…

Page 1

You’re finishing up dinner at your parents’ house when your mom turns on CNN. The anchors are discussing Howard Schultz and the 2020 presidential race. “Oh, God, they’re at it again with this guy,” your dad says. “He’s like chum for the media.”

Wait a second. It sounds like… your dad might not like Howard Schultz? Could it be? You…

  • assume your dad isn’t a fan of Howard Schultz. Say, “He’s just going to get Trump re-elected. Seriously, he needs to stand with the Democrats against Trump.” (Go to page 8.)
  • assume your dad mistrusts anything on CNN. Say, “I’m not his biggest fan, but I’m curious about his plan for reducing student debt. Did you know I have $42,000 in student debt?” (Go to page 2.)
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Page 2

“You wanna talk plans? Howard Schultz’s plan is for all Americans to win,” your dad says, rolling up the sleeves of a shirt he bought at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. “Even if he’s a pro-choice liberal, he’s pro-America. That’s more than I can say for the Democrats. If your debt’s that bad, why do you have a cell phone? You shouldn’t have a cell phone.”

Your mom gives you a look that says, “Please let him have the last word.” You…

  • let him have the last word. (Go to page 3.)
  • throw gas on the fire. Say, “If I didn’t have a cell phone, I couldn’t watch Beto O’Rourke make slime on Instagram.” (Go
    to page 6
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Page 3

“All these new Democrats walk around like they own the place,” your dad says, speaking in a way that suggests he’s actually been to the U.S. Capitol building. “Now, you know who doesn’t have a hoity-toity air about him? John Kasich. He should run. Heck, I should run! I haven’t jogged in sixteen years.”

Your dad looks ready for a conversation about two things close to his heart: fiscal libertarianism and social conservatism. He’s about to do laps around you. You…

  • toss a grenade by saying, “What do you think about Kamala Harris?” (Go to page 4.)
  • throw a Molotov cocktail by saying, “What do you think about Cory Booker?” (Go to page 5.)
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Page 4

“Is this a test? Am I allowed to criticize a woman without being sexist?” your dad asks. “Look. If you think she’s any less corrupt than the guy sittin’ in the Oval Office, I’ve got news for you: you’re wrong. I’m not afraid to say it. In fact,” he says, laughing, “maybe that makes me more of a feminist than you.”

With that, your dad’s ready to head into the living room; Hacksaw Ridge is on TV. You say…

  • “I’m guessing Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have your vote.” (Go to page 4.)
  • “God, that sounds like the kind of joke Ted Cruz would make.” (Go to page 5.)
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Page 5

“Something about that guy doesn’t sit right,” your dad says. “Always hogging the camera. Only a psychopath loves himself that much! And no, he doesn’t scare me because of his… ‘physical appearance,’ to put it in your P.C. terms. He’s just creepy.”

He pulls his phone off his belt clip. “Did you read this Bari Weiss column I emailed you?” he says. “It’ll only take a few minutes to read.” You…

  • panic and blurt out, “Pete Buttigeig?!” (Go to page 7.)
  • panic and change the subject. Say, “What do you think about Kirsten Gillibrand?” (Go to page 4.)
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Page 6

“You think Reagan became the world’s greatest president by being good at Twitter?” your dad says. “Too many people vote for whoever they saw on Jimmy Kimmel. Well, while you’re looking at photos of Beto on his skateboard, guys like me will be making sure our next President doesn’t want to legalize heroin and wear women’s dresses.”

He stands up from the kitchen table. You haven’t broken through to him. Fear-mongering pundits and being traumatized by 2016’s Ghostbusters will forever define his world view. You…

  • say, “You know who isn’t huge on Instagram? Joe Biden.” (Go to page 7.)
  • try to find common ground. Say, “Surely, you can’t hate Beto as much as you hate Bernie Sanders, though, right?” (Go to page 8.)
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Page 7

“I sure as hell don’t agree with his politics, but he seems like a nice enough guy,” your dad says, picking at the low-sodium-salt seasoned potatoes on his plate. “Now, do I want any details about his life in the bedroom? Not a chance. And, honestly, I can’t see him wiping the smile off his face and standing up to ISIS. Call me offensive, but that’s just me keeping it real!”

He mutters, “These potatoes need a little more flavor,” and grabs the pepper shaker. “You wanna talk about a guy who tells it like it is? Ben Sasse. He’s young, he’s fresh — hell, that’s a guy we should both be getting behind!” You…

  • resign with the grace of Terry Gross. Say, “Mmmhmm,” and pray he drops the subject. (Go to page 3.)
  • avoid disclosing how much Ben Sasse nauseates you by changing the subject. Say, “You know whose name is fun to say? John Hickenlooper.” (Go to page 8.)
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Page 8

“The only white guy the Democrats are more afraid of than Trump is that guy,” your dad says, kicking off the New Balance sneakers he bought in 2002. “They’re going to do everything they can to keep him from disturbing their master plan. Hell, I’ll say it: he connects with the working class! Nobody has it harder today than white guys. I should know — I’m a white guy who hasn’t been promoted in eight years!”

Your dad’s dangerously close to bringing up a subject from which there is no return: white oppression. You…

  • resign with the grace of Michelle Obama. Say, “Mmhmm,” and pray he drops the subject. (Go to page 9.)
  • speak in a calm, soothing voice and say, “Even if we don’t agree on everything, I’m really glad we’re talking about this. Dad, what’s the major issue that gets you so fired up about politics?” (Go to page 10.)
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Page 9

“All right, all right, enough about politics,” your dad says. “Hey, before I forget, no more using our HBO Go account. You always queue up that Insecurity show when we’re trying to watch Band of Brothers. We’re going to change our password, and—”

You feel the early signs of a panic attack. You…

  • distract him with an ego-stroking softball. Say, “Dad, what’s the single biggest issue you have with my politics?” (Go to page 10.)
  • distract him with a softball that’ll send him toward political fervor. Say, “I wonder if Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez uses her parents’ HBO Go account.” (Go to page 11.)
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Page 10

“I can only pick one issue?” he says. “Gosh, I don’t know if I can do that. I just want the world to be as best as it can be for you. I’m sorry if I get too fired up sometimes. Even though we disagree about politics, I love you.”

He stands up. “Want to watch Hacksaw Ridge? It’s got a great message on religious liberty. I think you’d like it.” You…

  • don’t waste your dad’s good mood. Look for common ground by saying, “I love you, too. And I know you love no-nonsense politicians. Have you seen anything about Amy Klobuchar? I think you might like her!” (Go to page 4.)
  • say, “Sure, Dad. I’d love to.” (Go to page ∞.)
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Page 11

Oh, no! By saying the words “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” your adventure ends. To top it off, you also lose access to the family’s HBO Go account. Your dad’s already in the living room watching Hacksaw Ridge. (Turn to page 9.)

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Page ∞

Congratulations! You successfully navigated a conversation with your dad about the 2020 presidential election. You didn’t challenge his viewpoints, encourage him to embrace empathy, or advocate for any one group of people more marginalized than you, though. Like the vast majority of players who reach this point, you lost the game! Enjoy Hacksaw Ridge!

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Click to replay.