The Instigator
Pro (for)
4 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
0 Points

Republican Presidential Era's Have Been Detrimental to the U.S.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 913 times Debate No: 45784
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)




Pro Contention -- Republican presidential era's from 1900 to the present day, on the whole, have been detrimental to the U.S. economy and social well-being by comparison to Democratic presidential era's during the same time period.

Here I define a "[party] presidential era" as an uninterrupted period of partisan tenure of the office of President of the United States. For example, the period of time from the election of Ronald Reagan through the departure of George H.W. Bush would represent one "Republican presidential era."

Round 1 will be used only as an agreement to the above debate conditions. Three additional debate rounds will follow.


I agree to your stated conditions, the floor is yours.
Debate Round No. 1


I. Unemployment

Without a single exception, Republican era's have always departed the presidency with a higher annual average unemployment rate than the previous Democratic era departed with*. By contrast, also without exception, Democratic era's have always departed the presidency with a lower unemployment rate than the previous Republican era departed with.

In short, historically, Republican era's have always increased unemployment while Democratic era's have always reduced unemployment.

There is no reason why the above graphs should be near mirror opposites of each other. If partisan presidential policies had no or limited impact we should expect occasional increases and decreases in unemployment for both parties. There is also no reason why two subsequent party era's can't BOTH lower or increase unemployment consecutively.

Net Republican Impact: +27.3%
Net Democrat Impact: -26.5%
Net Difference: 53.8%

(You might also notice that the annual average unemployment rate goes easy on Republican's such as George W. Bush who averaged 5.8% his final year, but left Obama with a 7.8% unemployment rate at the time of his inauguration with the malignant recession only just beginning. More on recessions in a bit...)

But, maybe Democrats just increase the duration of unemployment long enough to artificially reduce their numbers as the long-term unemployed are removed from the labor statistics... After all, how could social programs such as unemployment benefits (as one example), which are more common under Democrats than Republicans, possibly allow a decrease in the duration of unemployment by comparison to Republican policy? Shouldn't such safety nets reduce motivation and interest in job searching, and hence increase the duration of unemployment? A testable hypothesis. Thankfully, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has collected average weeks unemployed since 1948. Let's have a look:

Whether social programs impede job growth or not, Democratic economic policies have historically reduced unemployment and duration of unemployment 100% of the time anyway. In contrast, Republican economic policies have historically increased unemployment and duration of unemployment 100% of the time. Is this just a coincidence?

Net Republican Impact: +22.8 weeks
Net Democrat Impact: -13.6 weeks
Net Difference: 36.4 weeks

II. Recession Numbers (data from the National Bureau of Economic Research)

Months of Recessions from 1900 to 2010

Republicans -- 246
Democrats -- 86

Statistically, the probability of these results occurring by chance is 1 in 10,000. Even when we adjust for number of years in office (to account for the fact that Republicans have held office for more years than Democrats), Republicans still had 2.3 times as many months of recession.

Average Length of Recessions

Republicans -- 14.2
Democrats -- 9.8

Number or Recessions Caused by Party

Republicans -- 17
Democrats -- 6

Recessions Inherited by Other Party

Republicans -- 1
Democrats -- 4

Months Inherited by Other Party

Republicans -- 4
Democrats -- 27

Recession Observations:

  • Historically, recessions have occurred 3 times as often and have lasted 45% longer under Republicans, and led to 4 times as many years of recession as compared to Democrats (20 years vs. less than 5 -- with inherited months removed).

  • Republicans were 4 times as likely to pass a recession on to Democrats and these inherited months accounted for a whopping 27 out of the 86 total months of recession under Democratic rule (31% as opposed to the 1.6% of the Republican total inherited from Democrats).

  • When passed on, Republican recessions were harder to get out of than recessions started by Democrats.

    According to the same data source -- During Democratic rule, GDP grew 86% of the time. By comparison, during Republican rule, GDP grew only 66% of the time.

*BLS has only recorded unemployment statistics since 1948. Pre-1948 estimated unemployment figures are from “Why Some Politicians Are More Dangerous Than Others” by Dr. James Gilligan. Figures vary, but the following sources suggest they are in the ballpark, and for our purposes, entirely consistent: and (page 6)



riversj88 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


It's okay to change your mind. Just do it AFTER the debate, please!

I had plenty of other material I was hoping to cover, but I will forgo this round to compensate for the missed argument by Con in the previous round.


riversj88 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Very disappointing.


riversj88 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by progressivedem22 3 years ago
@saxman: How in the world is the Democratic party harming the economy? Did they play chicken with the debt limit continuously? Did they cause a credit rating downgrade? Did they shut down the government--wasting $24 billion--protesting a law that decreased the federal deficit? If anything, the problem with Democrats is that they're spineless, and defer to the right-wing deficit scolds far too much. That, and the false equivalencies and falsehoods that you're spouting are nearly identical to the media narrative. And, no, this isn't a matter of opinion, but of fact.
Posted by WesternGuy2 3 years ago
Would potential harms or benefits be taken into account?
Posted by VaLoR 3 years ago
It should be obvious that I am arguing that the Republican party has been MORE detrimental to the U.S. than the Democratic party. I did say "in comparison to."
Posted by saxman 3 years ago
Well, both parties have been "detrimental" to America in there own way. Right now, the democratic party is being extremely harmful to our economy. This debate is too controversial for me, as eventually it will fall into subjective opinions.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Zarroette 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's arguments were legitimate and went uncontested.