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

Resolved: Bernie Sanders would be a better president than Martin O' Malley

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Post Voting Period
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after 1 vote the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/22/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 11 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 404 times Debate No: 81329
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)




Hello soccerisfun.

Today I am here to challenge you to a debate on whether Bernie Sanders would be a better president than Martin O' Malley. No Structure except that 1st round is acceptance


Just making sure we are debating in the setting of contemporary US. Good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for his acceptance and I look forward to today's debate.

Contention 1: Bernie Sanders opposes NSA spying

NSA spying is a program which violates the autonomy of many individuals. On that basis alone it should be shut down. It a clear violation of the 4th amendment. Lack of effectiveness: Recent public policy review said that it had not discernible impact on stopping terrorism. [3]

O' Malley has called Snowden a traitor [1] and he has often talked vaguely about the NSA program:

"The Maryland governor hasn't yet weighed in on the court decision, but said last month he hopes the debate over reauthorizing the PATRIOT Act creates an opportunity to "have a conversation about whether or not we've struck the right balance here."

"I don't think that we should sacrifice our privacy for our security. We have to find a way to protect them both." he said then." [4]

On the other hand, Sanders is committed to shutting down the spying. [4][2]

In the end, Sanders is more concerned about the autonomy of the American people.

Contention 2: Military Spending

We have a military spending problem. America spends more money than the next 7 countries COMBINED on the military.[6] 54% of our discretionary spending GOES to the military. [7] THsi large amount of spending is unnecessary.

Bernie is opposed to expanding the military. O' Malley wants to expand the military. [5] Therefore, Sanders is better with spending the US's money.

Contention 3: American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism is an ideology which is used to justify bad decisions by the US. Ex: Iraq Invasion.

Bernie: Against O' Malley: Hasn't cared enough to adress this issue.

Contention 4: College Education

Education is a right that is important for the US to advance in the world. Today's bachelor's degree is an equivalent of a high school degree back in the day.

Bernie Sanders: FREE COLLEGE O'Malley: Refinance loans

Sanders said that the college loans will be funded by military spending cuts.

Contention 5: Money in Politics

Our democracy is under attack by corporations. They are buying our elections. The disastrous Citizen's United ruling has turned our country into an oligarchy.

O'Malley: In favor in campaign finance reforn, BUT has a SUPER PAC WHICH HE FUNDS HIS CAMPAIGN WITH. Pure Hypocrisy

Sanders: No Super PAC and opposes Citizen's United

Contention 6: The Congress factor

One must understand that in such a partisan congress, the candidate's initial policy plans may not become a reality. They will have to move some to the right. So, if O'Malley's "soft liberal" rhetoric is put to test in congress, it will be pushed to the center or even center right, while Bernie's "hard-core liberal" rhetoric will be moved to a "soft liberal" position. This is exactly what happened with the Republicans and the Tea Party. The Tea party moved the debate to the right.

Look forward to Con's response.




My opponent does not address framework, so extend these arguments across the flow.
I value morality. Morality is action guiding, categories like "goodness" must account for their action guiding properties. We can only understand moral actions as action guiding if we adopt a principle of moral substitutability. Sinnot Armstrong 1:
I have a moral reason to feed my child tonight(...). I can't feed my child tonight without going home soon, and going home soon will enable me to feed her tonight. Therefore, there is a moral reason for me to go home soon. (...)This argument assumes a special case of substitutability. If there is a moral reason for A to do X, and if A cannot do X without doing Y, and if doing Y will enable A to do X, then there is a moral reason for A to do Y. I will call this (...)'moral substitutability.
Deontological theories locate moral good in the property of an act, but properties do not substitute to necessary enablers. Only consequentialism can account for substitution, because an action and its necessary enablers are united by consequences. Sinnot Armstrong 2:
It is the very nature of deontological reasons that makes deontological theories unable to explain moral substitutability. This comes out clearly if we start from the other side and ask which properties create the moral reasons that are derived by moral substitutability. What gives me a moral reason to start the mower is the consequences of starting the mower. (...)This reason cannot derive from the same property as my moral reason to mow the lawn unless what gives me a moral reason to mow the lawn is its consequences Thus, any non-consequentialist moral theory will have to posit two distinct kinds of moral reasons: one for starting the mower and another for mowing the grass. Once these kinds of reasons are separated, we need to understand the connection between them. But this connection cannot be explained by the substantive principles of the theory.
Thus, the standard is consequentialism. And lives come first because life is a prerequisite to having anything else, but that doesn't mean you torture ten people to save one life - it just means saving one life is more important than giving one person autonomy.
Contention 1: $15 wage
Sanders wishes to raise the minimum wage to $15, but this will have disastrous consequences. O'Malley may have said he wants it at $15, but this is just to contrast with Clinton. In office, he set it to $10.10, so prefer that number as O'Malley's preference. Public Prefers 10.10 (
Sixty-three percent of Americans support raising the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour but there is far less support for a $15-an-hour wage(...). The proposed $10.10 wage, backed by President Obama, garners support from low-paid workers, well-paid workers, and "even Republicans and Tea Party supporters are close to break even on the issue," said Bill McInturff, a Republican pollster who was co-conductor of the survey. But the falloff in support above $10.10 is striking. (...) only 28 percent of those surveyed would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. (...) the $10.10 wage is backed by 77 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Independents, 47 percent of Republicans and even 45 percent of Tea Party supporters.
So a $10.10 wage will pass through Congress, whlie $15 won't. And, employers prefer 10.10 as well.(
Fifty-five percent of the nearly 2,200 human resource managers interviewed, for their employers, say the minimum wage should be at least $10, but only seven percent say it should be $15 or more.
Raising the wage too high will cause excess unemployment and kill the economy. 10.10 finds a compromise, reducing poverty and making businesses happy, while 15 makes the unemployment disadvantages outweigh. (
For they are recommending that the minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour: a truly absurd notion. (...) this is simply an absurd demand. There would be very large unemployment effects from such a raise meaning that many people would simply lose their jobs. (...) It is absolutely true that modest increases in the minimum wage have small effects on employment. (...) But economics (...) the fact that a small change has small effects does not mean that a large change will still have small effects. So what we"d like to know is what is the level of a minimum wage where it starts to have large effects? (...) 45 to 50% of the average wage: go above that level and we"re harming low paid workers (...) the median hourly wage for the US is $16.71. The proposal for a $15 an hour minimum wage will make the minimum wage 90%(...) which point we know very well that we"ll be harming low income workers, not aiding them.
When you weigh this against other arguments, remember killing the economy comes above most other arguments since it will kill the economy, which eventually harms other things too. A 10.10 wage is 60%, but after taking the increased wages into account, it will be in the range.
Contention 2: Age.
The president ages twice as fast while in office, according to a theory advanced by Dr. Michael Roizen, a chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic. "The typical person who lives one year ages one year," he said. "The typical president ages two years for every year they are in office." Using public information, Roizen looked through medical records of previous presidents back to Theodore Roosevelt. Assessing factors such as diet, blood pressure, physical activity and lifestyle habits, he calculated that the leader of the free world ages more quickly.
Sanders is already 73, and given that the average male death age is 81, if he ages at double speed, there is a pretty high risk, not only for a death in office, but for serious health problems that could hinder his ability to govern. If you want a senile president, vote aff. For a proven leader - former mayor and governor - vote neg.
Speaking of proven leader, contention 3 is experience in government. Sanders is a former senator. He's just a politician. The American people need a true leader, one who has been in this position before, not another politician. With the current gridlock in congress, Sanders is also waaaaay too far left. No change will happen, while O'Malley is more centrist, like Bill Clinton, who had a great tenure besides his scandal.
So for all these reason - a better economy, a more productive Congress, someone who will live throughout the term - vote neg.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his timely response.

I concede to the opposition's framework.

However, as Dworkin points out, life without autonomy (liberty) has a morally drab structure. Therefore, autonomy and liberty are both relevant in this debate as they make life worth living.

Refutations to Contention 1: $15 Wage:

1. (
This shows that in Seattle, when they implemented a $15 minimum wage, employment INCREASED.

Con provided analytical evidence of the $15 minimum wage. However analytics are inferior to empirics because analytics are just predictions while empirics are what actually happened.

2. Cross apply my contention 6.

"Sanders wishes to raise the minimum wage to $15, but this will have disastrous consequences. O'Malley may have said he wants it at $15, but this is just to contrast with Clinton. In office, he set it to $10.10, so prefer that number as O'Malley's preference. "

In Congress, Sanders also pushed for a $10.10 wage. SO how are you excusing O'Malley, but not Sanders?

Contention 2: Age


1. This is an unsupported assumption. Not all old people are senile.

2. His VP will probably be a progressive as well. So death is irrelevant, policies will still be passed.

Contention 3: Experience in government


This contention falls on itself. It says that we need a true leader who has been in this position before and not a politician(?). Con is saying that O'Malley isn't a politician?! He was a governor. Also, Sanders has proven his leadership and has voted for progressive policies throughout his entire tenure in congress.

I look forward to Con's response.


soccerisfun forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I have talked to Con and found out that he was extremely busy. Do not count this forfeit against him. Extend


Thanks for the extra round. I'm not just dodging, you can ask my opponent for the Nov Beginner tourney - I was gone for two days. So this is going to be pretty brief.
First, turns to the aff contentions. I will address my opponent's responses to my points afterwards.
For contention 1, there's no impact- O'Malley's stance is solid. O'Malley, unlike Sanders, understands that we need to find a balance between privacy and security. Sanders may care about our rights, but O'Malley understands our safety is important too. In fact, I prefer O'Malley's response, as he at least understands that we have to make sacrifices for protection. So certainly my opponent isn't winning this point, and I'd even say O'Malley's stance is better.
For contention 2, the US stance on terrorism is key to preventing extinction.
A single nuclear terrorist attack causes arms races, global nuclear war, nuclear winter, and economic collapse.
Toon, et al. http://www.atmos...
We assess the potential damage and smoke production associated with the detonation of small nuclear weapons in modern megacities. (...) Eight countries are known to have nuclear weapons, 2 are constructing them, and an additional 32 nations already have the fissile material needed to build substantial arsenals (...) A single "small" nuclear detonation in an urban center could lead to more fatalities, in some cases by orders of magnitude, than have occurred in the major historical conflicts of many countries. (...) We also anticipate substantial perturbations of global ozone. While there are many uncertainties in the predictions we make here, the principal unknowns are the type and scale of conflict that might occur. The scope and severity of the hazards identified pose a significant threat to the global community.
And, terrorists are close to nukes.
ISIS says it has already seized "tanks, rocket launchers, missile systems, anti-aircraft systems" " and is now setting its sights on the ultimate dirty bomb. (") "The Islamic State has billions of dollars in the bank, so they call on their wil?yah [powerful friends] in Pakistan to purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region. It"s the sum of all fears for Western intelligence agencies and it"s infinitely more possible today than it was just one year ago. And if not a nuke, what about a few thousand tons of ammonium nitrate explosive? That"s easy enough to make."
So keeping a strong military is crucial. Extinction comes before all other impacts.
Even if we use the most conservative of these estimates, ("), we find that the expected loss of an existential catastrophe is greater than the value of 10^16 human lives. This implies that the expected value of reducing existential risk by a mere one millionth of one percentage point is at least a hundred times the value of a million human lives. (..) One might consequently argue that even the tiniest reduction of existential risk has an expected value greater than that of the definite provision of any ordinary good, such as the direct benefit of saving 1 billion lives.
Contention 3 has minimal impact and O'Malley isn't even for exceptionalism - just neutral. No impact on contention 4 either. Plus, most jobs don't need a college - or even a high school degree.
only 57 percent of graduates think college adequately prepared them for work in the real world (...) Of those graduates who say their current job doesn"t require a college degree, 36 percent say they are currently pursuing an advanced degree, and 22 percent say they plan to in the next year.
College is good to learn, but it isn't necessary and shouldn't be made free. People won't pay attention if it's useless.
For Contention 5, this is an Ad Hominem attack on O'Malley. He still opposes the ruling. Plus Sanders now has a super PAC and has started his own advertising. Just because these two do what it takes to win doesn't mean they don't acknowledge the ruling is wrong. And Contention 6 has no warrant.
And to clarify, when I say O'Malley isn't a politician, I mean he emphasize #actionnotwords. That is what his campaign has been about. That is what he has done as governor - pass gun control policies, raise the wage to $10.10 (not 15), repeal the death penalty, and other great things. For all those reasons, I urge you to vote O'Malley, and vote neg. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 4


Thanks for the response. My opponent did not respond to my refutations to his contentions, so they still stand.


Contention 1

"there's no impact- O'Malley's stance is solid. O'Malley, unlike Sanders, understands that we need to find a balance between privacy and security. Sanders may care about our rights, but O'Malley understands our safety is important too. In fact, I prefer O'Malley's response, as he at least understands that we have to make sacrifices for protection."

Firstly, I have provided evidence that shows that NSA surveillance is unsuccessful and does not protect us. Therefore the Con's attempt to outweigh this point with safety fails. As for impacts, the Pro must realize that I won't spell things out for him. The impact of this contention is obviously that the privacy of the people are being infringed on for no reason.

Contention 2

My opponent misrepresents my point. Bernie is NOT a non-interventionist. He just knows that military spending goes to the corrupt military industrial complex. ( Bernie feels that it IS necessary to go after ISIS, but we must have a coalition. Unlike O'Malley who is going to try to tank the world's problems, Bernie is going to get our Middle Eastern Allies involved. ( The US is spending unnecessary money and is wasteful (

Contention 3

Again, the impact is implied. It is obviously that by not leaving such an idea discredited, it will continue to fester and may cause a catastrophe like Iraq again. This myth has been undressed for too long and O'Malley won't do anything to change that.

Contention 4

I don't know where the blog which my opponent cites gets their facts from, but here is a better source. It cites a Pew research poll with different, and probably more reliable results ( However, as this article points out, college provides you with with maturity and intellectual growth. A majority also said that it was helpful for helping them with a job or a career. Overall 86% were satisfied with their investment.

Contention 5

Firstly, I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of O'Malley to oppose the ruling and still have an affiliated superPAC. Scondly, Bernie does not have an affiliated superPAC and you did not cite any evidence that he did. Here are the real facts:

Contention 6

Common sense and history is my warrant. See what happened to the public option when Obama proposed it.

Overall, Bernie Sanders has stronger policy positions than Martin O'Malley. Vote Pro!


This round is going to be pretty simple to evaluate. Both sides make good arguments, but some arguments matter more than others. First let me quickly cover the contentions, then weigh them against each other.
For his first contention, O'Malley cares about security and safety. He will restrict the NSA too, but also understands how bad terrorism can be. Like I showed in the response to my opponent's war contention, terrorism threatens to destroy the world, and extinction is infinitely worse than any other impact, so O'Malley's is infinitely better. He has no response to this weighing, and the weight of the arguments each side makes is ultimately what will decide the round.
For contention 2 what has the UN done so far? Finally Russia is on its own initiative to end terrorism, but working with other nations hasn't worked. I showed that IS is about to get a nuke - we need as much of an effort as possible. The point stands.
For contention 3 once again, the impact is minimal. Iraq was caused by the military lying about the presence of weapons, it was just justified afterwards by Republicans by exceptionalism.
On contention 4, I'm not saying kids shouldn't go college, just that it will kill the economy since it costs money and reaps no benefits.
For contention 5, once again, just because O'Malley has a SuperPac doesn't change his position.
And on contention 6, there's still no impact. Under util, being "further left" isn't good and there's no explanation.
Now to my contentions. I read the article posted in response to my first one, and it backs up my side! People in the comments disagreed with the author, but the author maintains the position. See this post ( for even more of the authors thoughts - raising the wage is bad.
And for my second contention, the refutation is non-topical. Having a VP has nothing to do with how good of a president one is, which is what the topic states. Sanders dying would make him the worst president since william henry harrison. It would mean he accomplished nothing in offense.
But unfortunately for Sanders, passing no policies would be better than raising the minimum wage. Economists agree that raising the wage is a horrible idea. It would cause an economic collapse, and a US economic collapse would lead to extinction. My opponent never responds to this argument. Because of how bad the consequences of this are, and how the refutations to this contention just back it up, it is sufficient to win the debate. But even more, I refute the opponent's contentions, and even show that O'Malley's response is better in a lot of these cases. Because of just how bad the wage rise would be, negative is easily winning today's debate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Midnight1131 10 months ago
In the end, if you tally up the result of each separate contention category, the win goes to Pro, 5-1. Good job to both debaters on a well done debate.
Posted by Midnight1131 10 months ago
Con's arguments

Minimum Wage
Con states that although O'Malley mentioned he favours a $15 minimum wage, it was only to appear to be left of Clinton. I don't know why Con would point this out, because it only shows that O'Malley is willing to lie to left wing supporters to get into office. Con does however show that a $15 minimum wage would kill the economy.
To counter, Pro showed that in seattle, a $15 minimum wage increased employment. This trumps Con's arguments, because these are actual results, not just speculation. Con also points out that Sanders also pushed for a $10.10 minimum wage, just like O'Malley did. However this entire argument is worth nothing to me at the moment, because since both candidates said they are going for a $15 minimum wage, there is nothing to argue about.

Here Con notes that presidents "age faster." And that since Sanders is already 73, there's a high risk he'll experience health issues while in office.
Pro states that this is a generalization without support, and that not all old people are incapable of governing. He also states that Sanders VP will also be a progressive, who will continue Sanders work in case of death. This point is successfully refuted.

Con says that Sanders is just another senator, and not a true leader, as he hasn't been in that position before. He notes that Sanders is too far left for any change to occur, while O'Malley is more to the centre, which allows for compromise.
Pro states that Sanders has had years of experience in the senate, and that O'Malley is also "just another politician" like Sanders. This point goes to Con, because while both candidates have experience, O'Malley clearly has had more time in a leadership position.
Posted by Midnight1131 10 months ago
American Exceptionalism
Pro hasn't really made it clear what his argument is here, however he does mention the Iraq invasion, which Sanders was strongly against. This point counts for nothing, because it has no real impact on anything.

College Education
Pro points out that Sanders wants college to be free to students, whereas O'Malley only wants to refinance loans.
Con pretty much drops this point by saying "no impact," and that "college isn't that important." The education system has a huge impact on the country. This point goes to Pro.

Money in Politics
Pro notes that while both candidates are in favor of campaign finance reform, O'Malley still funds his campaign with a super pac, whereas Sanders doesn't.
Con refutes this point by saying that Sanders also has a super pac and has started advertising, and that both candidates are just doing what it takes to win.
Pro points out that Sanders doesn't actually have a super PAC, and gives us a source. Pro's source wins out against Con's no source, so this point goes to Pro.

Congress Factor
Pro assumes that in congress, a democrat president would shift to the right, and states that O'Malley's "soft liberalism" would push him to the centre or even center right, whereas Sanders, a very far left liberal, would only move to the centre left, still making him relatable to left wing voters.
Con drops this point by saying it has no warrant, but he doesn't even explain why. This point goes to Pro.
Posted by Midnight1131 10 months ago
Pro's arguments"

NSA Spying
Pro states that the spying conducted by the NSA violates the constitution, and he also cites a source that states it's not effective either. He notes that O'Malley has only vaguely talked about the NSA program and has called Snowden a traitor. He points out that O'Malley said wants to "protect both" security and privacy, whereas Sanders is fully committed on shutting down spying. Pro ends this point stating that Sanders is more concerned that O'Malley when it comes to privacy.

To counter this Con states that it is more important to save a life than protect one person's privacy.

However Pro refutes this oddly, by saying that life and liberty are on equal grounds, this pretty much supports Con's claim that O'Malley's idea for a balance between the two is a good idea.

Con again restates that O'Malley cares for a balance and understands security is important. However, in their rebuttal, Pro pointed out that he showed already that NSA surveillance isn't effective, which refutes all of which Con was saying. This point goes to Pro.

Military Spending
Pro points out that America spends much more on the military than the rest of the world, and that this is unnecessary. He states that since Sanders is opposed to expanding the military whereas O'Malley isn't, Sanders is better with handling money.
Con tries to refute this by giving a threat of nuclear warfare, however there is no real threat at the moment. He is only speculating, and telling us what would happen *if* anything actually happened. He does however make a good point that terrorism needs to be stopped, and this can happen with a strong military.
Pro states that Bernie is in favour of an international coalition, whereas O'Malley wants to go it alone. A coalition would be more effective, and spending money so that the US can put in more individual efforts is unnecessary. This point goes to Pro.
Posted by Midnight1131 10 months ago
Voting now...
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 10 months ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD IN COMMENTS - Both sides can feel free to message me if there are any issues with this vote.