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RFD for GOP Nomination Debate

whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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10/1/2015 5:22:52 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This debate is here: http://www.debate.org...

There"s not a lot to go through here, but I do want to spend some time going through each of the arguments, as I feel that there were a lot of strange pieces of several arguments and rebuttals that just didn"t seem to get much attention. I"ll make clear where I do so that they didn"t play a role in my decision.

Btw, just a note to start: Pro didn"t define "little to no" in the opening round. He leaves us hanging off the bat, and that makes it a little difficult to include people like Ted Cruz in his argument, since many could see 2 years of experience as significant. Still, it"s not an issue that ends up being addressed by Con, so it falls out of the debate.

1) Who holds the majority now

This was the most straightforward point Pro could make, and (no surprise) he made it. The argument goes that candidates with the most support now are the ones who are most likely to take the whole thing later. Seems straightforward enough.

Trouble is it"s not really linked to the resolution, which also makes this Pro"s weakest point. The logic goes that these candidates have the most support today, so they will take the election roughly a year + a month from now. Con effectively challenges that logic by presenting past examples of polls similar to these that were wrong about the coming election.

"And that"s pretty much all he says on the matter. Con doesn"t talk about any of the reasons why people drop in the polls with time. I actually thought this was an opportunity for Con to capitalize, examining past candidates and why so many of them failed to become the party"s nominee: because the limelight exposes weaknesses very prominently. It gives more opportunities for people to say something damaging, which was the case for virtually every candidate in 2012.

The response that he does give, that the shrinking of the pool increases name recognition for many of the lower polling candidates, just doesn"t seem that potent. Whose name recognition would increase? Con doesn"t point to any specific candidates who simply go unrecognized. While I buy that Jim Gilmore and George Pataki, perhaps even John Kasich, are relative unknowns who could benefit from more name recognition, I don"t really get an argument for how that"s going to happen, especially when the first 2 are going to be polled out of the race, as Pro later argued (more on that shortly). Kasich might stay in and benefit, but it"s difficult to say how that will work, and I"m not able to put the pieces together for Con"s benefit. It"s a nebulous argument without any explanation for how it applies to this situation. The rest of the experienced candidates already have name recognition " I don"t see how they"re going to benefit from more people leaving the pack.

What would have made more sense as an argument (and I view this as a missed opportunity for Con) would have been to argue that these people will get more time in front of a microphone and be more distinguished for what they say. They won"t be part of a general mass of candidates all fighting for speaking time by saying the most over the top line. They will have a voice that stands out because there won"t be a need to shove aside 15 other people to be heard. It would also have been a means for explaining why people like Donald Trump are floating to the top: they"re bombastic, and they say things that get peoples" attention.

Nonetheless, this isn"t the argument Con was making. So while I"m buying that Pro"s argument is flawed, Con doesn"t generate any offense here.

2) Experience level vs. support

This is just another way of saying the same thing as the first contention with only one bit of value added. What Pro"s trying to argue is that there"s something inherent to the number of years in public office that is turning people off to these candidates. I think this contention"s begging the question (that question being: what is it that"s turning people off about these candidates?), but the point pretty much goes through unopposed. Doesn"t mean I"m giving much to Pro for simply stating that the correlation exists without explaining why it is likely to persist, but it is a point for Pro nonetheless.

3) Dropping out correlates with experience

I can"t believe I"m saying this, but" this is probably Pro"s strongest point. Honestly, I didn"t think it was good at all to start, and I"ve still got so many problems with it, but it"s one of the points that Con basically ignores completely, and Pro"s analysis is good enough to make that a potent mistake.

The argument starts off as a simple correlation: people are leaving the race, and they have much experience; people who are likeliest to leave the race also have a lot of experience; ergo, highly experienced candidates don"t have a chance. I think that conclusion is a logical leap " there"s no reason to believe that simply because SOME candidates are leaving the race who happen to have more experience that ALL candidates with more experience will leave the race.

But Con does expand on it, linking this point back to his first contention. He argues that polls are indicative of who will leave and who"s likely to stay, focusing on the view that those who will stay with more experience will be fewer than those who will stay with less experience. He then states that all those votes that would have gone to the candidates who left are now up in the air, and that there"s at least an increased chance following their exit that candidates with less experience will garner those votes.

It"s not a great point, but it"s a point, and it matters. The argument essentially functions on two assumptions: a) that all of the votes currently going towards inexperienced candidates will basically remain in their camp, and b) that some portion of voters who would otherwise vote for Graham, Jindal, Santorum, etc. are going to shift their votes to inexperienced candidates. I find both of those assumptions problematic, particularly the former since Pro kind of conceded that the polls won"t hold up in the long term. This is really all Con had to do to win: point out that that total is ALSO up in the air, regardless of whether those candidates back out or not. Many people will change their minds between now and then, and they"re not so locked into choosing an anti-establishment candidate that they will just ignore anyone who is in the establishment. It"s as though his view is that voters will only walk away from a candidate or block of candidates if the leave the race, but that"s absolutely not true.

I felt the latter assumption was arguable as well. It seems like Pro was trying to argue that people can make the shift from pro-establishment to anti-establishment, but not the other way around. It seems pretty unlikely for these people who are so clearly siding with a candidate they feel could do the best for the country against the general consensus to suddenly join the general consensus after their candidate leaves, but maybe that's just me.

In any case, neither of these assumptions are directly challenged, so I have to accept both.

4) The Party Decides

Con stuck all of his eggs into this basket from the outset, requiring that he prove that the party establishment is the chief determinanet in who becomes the nominee. The argument starts off pretty strong, with a good deal of information regarding how candidates get to become nominees.

However, there are multiple problems with it, some of which are exploited by Pro. I'll focus on the two major ones.
whiteflame
Posts: 1,378
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10/1/2015 5:23:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
The first is that the majority of Con's argument for why this matters is sourced from 2008. While I can see the argument for why this source is effective, Con really had to do more to support it than just appealing to authority and stating that it's still somewhat recent. Pro points out that several things have changed since 2008. The argument still does some damage to Pro's claim that Trump can fund himself (that was available as an opportunity by that as well), but that point stands as a means for some of these candidates to at least supplement their campaigns. The concern about Super PACs, particularly with regards to changes to campaign finance reforms, stands strong, as does the shift to an anti-establishment viewpoint. Pro could have talked about grassroots support and its importance in elections, but he does mention that these people can write checks and contribute a lot of funds to these campagins.

This all wouldn't be so bad if a lot of Con's contention wasn't focused on funds being essential to the process of becoming a nominee. That's a major problem here because it's the only really solid benefit Pro cites for being supported by the party directly.

The second problem is the view that the party has a group of "deciders" that somehow sway public opinion. I can actually see this one working out if Con had explained it better. If he'd talked about getting support from party members in the House and Senate, former presidents, and all number of public figures that owe a lot to the Republican Party, that would have had more gravitas. He starts to explore this, but never gets into whose backing is important and why, merely stating that support is important and then asserting that they're not going to get it for some reason. Getting on the ballot in certain states can be a problem, but Pro presents a good reason why it won't stop them (if a little flippant). A better response would have been that it makes these candidates look embattled, and that's likely to give them more, not less, support (not to mention that they can always write in a candidate's name). Still, Pro gives enough of a response that I'm not convinced it's a huge issue. The same's true for the Fox News coverage, which Con asserts is important, but Pro dismisses with an equally valid assertion.

Nonetheless, this would stand as at least some reason why Pro's candidates might be at a disadvantage, albeit a surmountable one, if Pro's analysis of the importance of debates wasn't so blatantly dropped. It's not something he can easily ignore because the main thing that makes this contention strong is the view that candidates need the kingmakers behind them, that other avenues are limited or non-existent and that they can't easily garner the necessary support through other means. But this analysis shows that they can. Again, I don't think it's particularly good, and an easy response would have been to look back at examples of how debates are double-edged swords that just as easily lead to falls from grace as rises, but none of that appears in Con's arguments.

There are a number of smaller issues I'll quickly address.

I suppose what I'm really asking myself (and what Con should have been asking and answering) is: why do we have political parties in the first place? Pro's argument seems to support the notion that independents do just fine, even citing Ross Perot (who is honestly not a great example for this...), but it's pretty clear that no third party, let alone an independent, has ever won a presidential race. Admittedly, this debate isn't about winning a presidential race, but rather a nomination. However, that just makes me more suspect. Pro is essentially arguing that an independent candidate will win the right to be nominated under a Republican banner. That seems even less likely, and there are plenty of reasons why that I won't go into. But Con's not giving me these arguments, nor does he appear to be focused on that frame of mind.

Conclusion: At the end of the day, I think both debaters drop the ball in quite a few places. This debate could have turned out much more clearly for the winning side or very differently for the losing side if these had been exploited. Nonetheless, I think it becomes clear by the end that Pro has the advantage, mainly due to lack of rebuttal. Con focuses on the wrong areas and makes too little effort in rebuttal in the final two rounds, leaving much of Pro's stronger argument dropped. Hence, I vote Con.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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10/1/2015 6:02:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This sucks. I mean I know Jeb Bush is going to win the nomination, and I'm still going to lose that debate.
Raisor
Posts: 4,460
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10/1/2015 12:58:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/1/2015 6:02:12 AM, Wylted wrote:
This sucks. I mean I know Jeb Bush is going to win the nomination, and I'm still going to lose that debate.

Could be Rubio bro
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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10/1/2015 3:04:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/1/2015 12:58:23 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 10/1/2015 6:02:12 AM, Wylted wrote:
This sucks. I mean I know Jeb Bush is going to win the nomination, and I'm still going to lose that debate.

Could be Rubio bro

My money is on Jeb. I don't know where to make that bet or with who though.
Raisor
Posts: 4,460
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10/1/2015 4:06:31 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/1/2015 3:04:29 PM, Wylted wrote:
At 10/1/2015 12:58:23 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 10/1/2015 6:02:12 AM, Wylted wrote:
This sucks. I mean I know Jeb Bush is going to win the nomination, and I'm still going to lose that debate.

Could be Rubio bro

My money is on Jeb. I don't know where to make that bet or with who though.

https://www.predictit.org...
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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10/1/2015 4:30:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/1/2015 4:06:31 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 10/1/2015 3:04:29 PM, Wylted wrote:
At 10/1/2015 12:58:23 PM, Raisor wrote:
At 10/1/2015 6:02:12 AM, Wylted wrote:
This sucks. I mean I know Jeb Bush is going to win the nomination, and I'm still going to lose that debate.

Could be Rubio bro

My money is on Jeb. I don't know where to make that bet or with who though.

https://www.predictit.org...

Nice, thanks.