By FWx Editors
Updated March 25, 2014
© VikingIllustrations / Alamy

You just agreed to get drinks with someone, and then immediately discovered that on his Facebook profile he lists his favorite TV show as MSNBC. If you didn’t know it before, you know it now: You’re dealing with someone who fancies himself a political animal. You’ve been avoiding politics ever since your crazy uncle figured out how to forward emails, so here are some names to drop if you want to impress the guy over drinks, or at least avoid being talked down to all night.

Reince Priebus

Why you should know him:
If nothing else, his name will make for at least 35 minutes of good conversation. But once you’re done laughing about how Priebus probably spins straw into gold, you can note that he is the chairman of the Republican National Committee, making him the guy behind the guy. Most recently he’s been trying to encourage his candidates to avoid doing things like this. Good luck.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Why you should know her:
This congresswoman was appointed to take over Hillary Clinton’s vacant senate seat in 2009. Since then she has been regularly maligned by critics on the Right for helping to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and for sort of vaguely looking like a younger Hillary Clinton...sort the right light...if you’ve had a few. In any case, she definitely hates America.

Glenn Greenwald

Why you should know him:
He broke the story about the NSA spying scandal, which feels like it’s been going on since Reagan was in office. That makes him either one of the most heralded or the most hated journalists in the world, depending on your perspective. It also means Greenwald is responsible for putting into play one of the most powerful political footballs in years. Just knowing his name will make you seem like you have your nose buried in the political blogs all day.

Elizabeth Warren

Why you should know her:
The junior senator from Massachusetts is a darling of the Left who has made her name by publically browbeating representatives from America’s most powerful financial institutions. There is a healthy contingent that would like her to run for president. It likely won’t happen in 2016 if for no other reason than Hillary Clinton might off anyone who tries to screw this up for her again.

Ted Cruz

Why you should know him:
A junior senator from Texas and presumptive Republican presidential candidate, Cruz also led the government into shutdown this past fall. A somewhat controversial character, many people find Cruz to be a bit nasty, but he can make an excellent case that he is actually a nice guy. He is after all, still Canadian and there is nothing nicer than a Canadian.