The Handbook
The Handbook

It’s Morning In America, but soon it’ll be election night. And assuming you passed up the opportunity to celebrate Halloween this year, here’s your chance to live in your own personal horror film and have the fright of your life.

While shops across the US capital continue to board up their windows, citizens mull the risks of voting lines and COVID and militias clean their assault weapons, on this side of the Atlantic we can enjoy election night with fewer immediate repercussions. Sadly, like most of Europe, we’re locked in our homes,  socially distanced and bubbled up, but nevertheless: here’s some tips….

Stars and Stripes-es

You’ll need to star spangle your sitting room for the full US Election party effect. Sure you’ve left it late, but you can still pop into central London and pick up a few from Stanfords in Covent Garden, who are still open.

Alternatively, and with the proviso that the Americans are remarkably obsessive about their flag (sure, it’s a relatively pretty one) you could always just screw up a Union Flag or a French Tricolour for the same red-white-and-blue effect.

Junk Food

America has given plenty to the world, from Tupperware to thermo nuclear weapons, but one of the biggest impacts of this multi-cultural experiment is the array of junk food.

If the thought of warming a Frankfurter or Hamburger is a little too daunting, then order in some genuine US fodder from one of these restaurants.

Distracting Telly

Given the time difference and the fact that any meaningful information isn’t likely to happen until after 3am UK time, you’re in this for the marathon.

We’ve put together a list of potential distractions to take you into the small hours. Whatever your stripe (or star) there should be something to take your mind of things…

Polling Data

It’s not an election party without reems of data and predictions. So make sure you’re across all the polling, safe in the knowledge that last time around (well, 2016 (2018 not so much)) the polls were wildly wrong.

There’s added uncertainty in 2020 with the fact that we’re witnessing a vote in the midst of a pandemic, with unprecedented early voting, vote-by-mail and massive turn-out all making the predictions game a tricky one.

Check out people like Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight, who are pretty good when it comes to polls. They have given Trump a 10% chance of legitimately winning the presidency.

Rolling News

The ultimate 24/7 news event, watch talking heads say very little of substance for a straight 12 hours. Here’s the main UK coverage:

BBC One: US Election 2020 – 11.30pm-1pm
ITV: Trump Vs Biden: The Results – 11pm-6am
CNN: Election Night in America – 5am-9pm
Sky News: America Decides – 9pm-7am

Or you can use more nefarious means to watch US TV live. Google it.

Bad Beer And Hard Liquor

American beer isn’t much cop, but that’s okay because you can wash down the Budweiser with American whisky, which isn’t that great either, but after a few glasses of Jack Daniels and Coke, who cares?

Given how close it really might be, the only way to enjoy the night might involve copious amounts of bad beer and hard liquor.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Most US voters won’t be able to make a difference to the results of the election and they’re voting. As Brits watching from across the so-called pond we have zero agency – what will be will be.

So why are you even considering staying up to watch what will be, regardless of the result, a slow-mo car crash. Maybe you’d be better off just, y’know, getting a good night’s sleep and seeing what you wake up to tomorrow?


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