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

Bernie Sanders versus Rand Paul

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: Select Winner
Started: 7/6/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,300 times Debate No: 58639
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (10)
Votes (3)




Who should be the next president of the United States -- Bernie Sanders or Rand Paul?

Pro will argue that Bernie Sanders should be the next president, whilst Con will argue that Rand Paul should be the next president.

Pro and Con will bear equal burdens of proof.

The criterion, or the way in which "should" will apply in this debate, will be the betterment of society. For example, Pro will argue that society would be better off with Bernie Sanders as president than with Rand Paul as president. Con will argue that society would be better off with Rand Paul as presdent than with Bernie Sanders as president.

Bernie Sanders: "American politician and the junior United States Senator from Vermont. Before serving in the Senate, he represented Vermont's at-large district in the United States and served as mayor of Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. Sanders is a self-described democratic socialist, and has praised Scandinavian-style socal democracy." [1.]

Rand Paul: "the junior United States Senator for Kentucky. He is a member of the Republican Party and the son of former U.S. Representative and presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas. He first received national attention in 2008 when making political speeches on behalf of his father, who was campaigning for the Republican Party's nomination for president. During his father's final term in the house, he was the first United States senator to have served simultaneously with a parent in the United States House of Represenatives." [2.]


Round 1
Pro will provide the rules, structure, and resolution
Con will offer his opening contentions

Round 2
Pro will offer his opening arguments and will have the chance to rebut
Con will offer his first rebuttal

Round 3
Pro will offer his first rebuttal
Con will offer his final rebuttal and closing remarks

Round 4
Pro will offer his final rebuttal and closing remarks
Con will post "Pass" so that both debaters have an even number of rounds

1. The rules, stipulations, structure, etc. cannot be changed after the point of acceptance.

2. Any deviation from the rules will merit a loss. This is particularly applicable to the rule that Con must pass Round 4 to even out the rounds.

3. Any forfeit will merit a loss.

4. Any definition not found in this opening piece will be taken from a reputable source -- e.g., Merriam Webster [3.]



I gladly accept this debate. I will be arguing that Rand Paul should be the next United States president instead of Bernie Sanders. I think that one of the best things about both of these people is that they are very close to third parties. Sanders in considered an Independent, and Rand Paul is pretty close to Libertarian. I think that our government under both Bush and Obama, has gotten a little too left or right.

Here is where Rand Paul stands on some issues.
- He is for budget cuts. He believes that the government in Washington spends much more than they should. Libertarians believe in limited government. That's where he is on this issue.
- He believes that the government should intervene less on education.
- He thinks that we should look for solutions to energy right here in America. We should stop spending money in other countries such as Iceland, that have effective alternate energy sources.
-He is for military action when it is justified.
- He is against Obamacare.
- He fully supports legal immigrants who have come here and made a decent life for themselves. However, he is for more strict border security. Almost twelve million people are living in the United States illegally. Why should they be able to stay here illegally when other hard working people come here legally?
- He is against gun control. Proposed gun control laws only restrict on responsible gun ownership. Criminals will still be able to obtain guns.
- Paul thinks that our Tax Code needs to be reformed.
- He is absolutely for helping our veterans.

I agree with Paul on most, if not all of his stances. I think that if he helps enforce his opinions as a president, the country will thrive more a lot more than it has under Obama or Bush.

Let me know some of Bernie Sanders's stances, as well as provide rebuttals.
Debate Round No. 1


I'm going to mostly spend this round to build my own case, largely because I run low on characters and CON hasn't offered any arguments, but has merely stated several of Paul's positions. On top of that there is hardly any specifity or explicit sourcing, so I would ask CON to flesh out his contentions. I'm not responsible for pouring through his sources to discover the contentions he intended to offer. Merely stating that Paul supported X position doesn't mean that Paul should be president; CON needs to tell us how X position would benefit the country and how Paul would be preferable to Sanders.

I. Experience
Experence is obviously a critical factor for any presidential hopeful. Congressional gridlock is worse than it has ever been, and the current Congress has been deemed the "least productive Congress ever," passing fewer bills than any Congress that preceded it (1). Therefore, a presidential candidate must not only be firm and steadfast in what he stands for, but willing to communicate effectively with members of the opposition party. This requires congressional experience. In much the same way that you would hire a gardener to do gardening work and a plumber to do plumbing work, you would want a politician to do political work. The majority of Senator Paul's career is not as a Senator, but as an optamalogist (2).

Bernie Sanders served 14 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 (3). This means that he has served in the U.S. Congress for about 24 years, in addition to four terms as Mayor of Burlington (3). Compare this to Rand Paul, who was only elected in 2010 to the U.S. Senate, meaning that he only has 4 years of experience (4). Bernie also serves on five congressional committees -- Budget; Veterans; Energy; Environment; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions -- and chairs the Veterans committee (3).

II. Policy Priorities
We should have a president whose prioritizes the issues most critical to the country's survival. Sander's stated priorities are as follows: "the shrinking middle class and widening income gap in America that is greater than at any time since the Great Depression. Other priorities include reversing global warming, universal health care, fair trade policies, supporting veterans and preserving family farms" (3). By contrast, Rand Paul's priorities are "term limits, a balanced-budget amendment, a Read the Bills Act, and an audit of the Federal Reserve" (4).

Why hasn't he mentioned climate change, income inequality, healthcare, veterans, etc.? The reason, by and large, is that Rand Paul doesn't believe the government ought to intervene in these issues; he's a "free market" ideologue who believes that, if government steps out of the way, everything will be beautiful and miraculous. We know from history that this isn't the case: that markets, left to their own devices, are not perfectly efficient, omnibenevolent, omniscient creatures, and this is largely because people are not rational actors, nor do they have perfect information. In fact, we had much larger government from 1945 to 1980, with tax rates between 71 and 94 percent (5), and the economy boomed to the benefit of everyone, not just the very affluent. Sanders has cited this time as his inspiration, whereas Paul chooses to simply ignore it or to deny reality.

Paul's priorities, however, are embarassing. Term limits are hardly a relevant issue, especially when initiatives to place them on the ballot have been largely funded by the billionaire Koch brothers (6), oil moguls set on funding misinformation campaigns on climate change (because green enrgy would invite competition to the oil industry), to fighting the minimum wage, the Affordable Care Act, etc. (7). Conveniently, many Koch-funded industries as well as large corporations have contributed to Rand Paul's campaigns over the years (8). The reason they want term limits? The people who would be effected are mostly Democrats. We have term limits: they're called elections. Why in the world would we want to prevent politicians from gaining experience and allow people to make their own decisions? Term limits simply wouldn't fix any problems, especially when we consider the revolving door exists, anyway, and this hardly addresses it, as politicians would simply become lobbyists after their time in office is up.

He is also ignorant of monetary policy, which tells me that his nomination for Fed Chairman -- who would wield an immense amount of power and could literally propel the economy in a permanent slump by following Paul's hawkish rhetoric and raising interest rates -- would be disastrous. He's expressed a fervor that Fed is raising the cost of goods and hurting poor people (9). In supporting and campaigning for his father, who wanted to end the Fed (10), he endorsed a policy that is utterly absurd. It would bring us back to the panics of the 1800s and early 1900s which occured roughly every 20 years, before we had a central bank committed to financial stability (11). His policy of auditing is also misguided. Not only is he dead wrong on inflation -- inflation is only about 2 percent right now, and has consistently been below the Fed's targets in recent years (12), largely because banks have accumulated about $2.5 trillion in excess reserves (13), and his statement that the Fed affects food and gas prices is mendacious (14) -- but the policy he supports (auditing the Fed) would actually cause MORE inflation. There's a wide body of academic literature showing a negative correlation between central bank independence and inflation, most notably from Alesina and Summers (15).

A balanced budget amendment is also a joke, as it would force the federal government to adhere to a dogmatic standard at all times -- not factoring in that during a downturn, due to a lack of aggregate demand, the government needs to prime the pump -- which would force through austerity. The negative impacts of austerity on the European periphery are widely known and profound (16), and have even been linked to about 500 suicides in Greece (17). In Greece, austerity actually INCREASED the debt: G.D.P. ratio because as GDP contracted, tax revenues fell which led to an unrelenting cycle of deleveraging and unemployment. An exceptional case against the BBA comes from Paul Krugman, who argues that setting a GDP cap for the federal budget is ludicrous (18). As the economy enters recession and GDP contracts, tax revenues fall. Not only are we taking in less revenue, but now we're taking the same percentage out of a smaller GDP figure. This would impose massive austerity that would have the same effect on the U.S. as it did in Greece: higher debt to G.D.P. ratios and more unemployment. John Maynard Keynes was vindicated after the military buildup for WWII ended the Great Depression (19): spend more during a downturn and cut back during a recession. Sanders believes in this principle, which is part of the reason that he would be an exceptional president economically speaking.

III. Paul is Ignorant of Science

Climate change is one of the most severe threats to the future of the planet, and has broader economic implications, particularly on food security. There is no debate over whether this is caused by humans: 97.1% of scientific papers on this subject support the fact that it is caused by humans (20). The U.S. military recognizes the danger of climate change (21), arguing that it impacts military readiness and creates missions overseas.

Paul, however, is a climate-change denier (22). Though even many conservative economists such as Greg Mankiw and Scott Sumner support a carbon tax, acknowledging the perils of climate change, Paul like the ideologus he is, writes it off because it would require government intervention. Paul said he wants the U.S. to drill in "every, possible conceivable place" (23). Not only would this ludicrous idea have dire environmental ramifications, but the U.S. is already the world's largest oil producer (24), so Paul isn't even properly diagnosing the problem.

Sanders, on the other hand, has considered climate change to be one of our top threats and has been a leader on addressing this issue (25).

IV. Economics

I've already explained why Sanders is good economically speaking: he understands the threat of income inequality and how it impacts middle- and lower-income families. Paul's proposals, however, will merely exacerbate it. I run low on characters so I can't get into this as much as I would like, though it's a central issue to my case so I will expand on it in later rounds. We know that Paul's proposals of even more austeirty and even more tax cuts will merely widen this gap and expand the influence of the rich in politics. Is it not curious that Paul is against abolishing corporate personhood (26) (and is working with Citizens United to abolish the IRS (27) which is corrupting politics, while Sanders has been a leader in ending the Citizens United decision and restoring democracy (28)? Research shows us that the U.S. is becoming an oligarchy (29), and Paul's policies merely exacerbate that.

25. Video


I am too busy this week for a long debate like this. I keep my opinion, but I forfeit.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank CON for his gracious concession. Hopefully we can debate this at some time on the future; I had a stockpile of sources piling up in a Word file and was on the brink of running out of characters lol. And I have Rand Paul's budget numbers in an Excel document as well.

Would you mind posting a few more times so we can move this to the voting period?


Ok. Thanks. I'll keep posting.
Debate Round No. 3


No problem.
Debate Round No. 4
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by texans14 7 years ago
Posted by JohnMaynardKeynes 7 years ago
No worries haha. Let's do this again at some point, though!
Posted by texans14 7 years ago
I apologize to my opponent and the voters for my concession. I have a very busy week.
Posted by JohnMaynardKeynes 7 years ago
Posted by JohnMaynardKeynes 7 years ago
I don't disagree with that -- though saying they'd allow Jim Crow laws is going a bit far. I see that as a bit of a reductio-ad-absurdum extrapolation from state rights.

Good catch the Glass Steaggall.
Posted by discomfiting 7 years ago
The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. There's very minute differences regarding their platform. They're both against same-sex marriage, in favor of privatizing education and allowing jim crow laws, repealing all gun control laws, pro-birth, etc. And Ron Paul actually didn't vote against or for the Repeal of Glass Steagall Act of 1933, he didn't vote on it. Bernie Sanders actually voted and say "nay".
Posted by JohnMaynardKeynes 7 years ago
@discomfiting: I agree with pretty much everything you said except for a few things. We're debating Rand not Ron Paul. So I think the Prop 8 argument you made applies to Ron -- I do think he said that, if he lived in California, he would've voted no on prop 8. Then again, Rand said, in response to Obama supporting gay marriage, "I didn't think his position could get any gayer." And I've seen a source showing that he at one point supported banning gays in the military and passing a FMA, though I've never seen him say it on the record -- so it's safe to assume that Rand is also against gay marriage.

Also, Ron voted against repealing Glass Steaggall. I don't know where Rand stands on it.
Posted by discomfiting 7 years ago
Bernie Sanders is probably one of the greatest politicians since Theodore Roosevelt. Economically, his ideas of social democracy are exactly what we need and proved to work which is why the Scandinavian countries have such superior economies. He understands the reality of economics to not just be able numbers of the short term effects but the long term effects; which is why he supports progressive taxation and not flat tax. He gives very good speeches about why you can't have flat tax and spend trillions of dollars for wars and expect not to fall into a giant whole of debt. Aside from his knowledge about long term vs. short term taxation systems, you also have his support for economic regulations like Glass Steagall Act of 1933 which he supports and the repeal opened up the gateway for the economic crisis to happen a decade later. He believes we should prosecute and charge the people who put us into this economic mess. He isn't a friend or owned of/by the big businesses in America unlike nearly every other politician, most of his political campaign is funded by individuals, not corporations. Compared to Ron Paul who is owned and heavily supported by big money interests and companies. He supports bodily integrity which is a corner stone of person responsibility which is why Paul is against things like abortion and same-sex marriage that has nothing to do with him. Ron Paul uses "states rights" as a way of acting like he's for liberty and justice when he's asking about things that are controversial. But sometimes if you batter him enough, he finally slips up and says his real opinion; "Well, I believe marriage is between one man and one woman" his response while talking about California's Prop 8 and bills to ban same-sex couple adoption. The best thing about Bernie Sanders is his pro-transparency agenda. Bernie Sanders has a large and consistent advocate and success with implementing and creating laws that create a very transparent government.
Posted by JohnMaynardKeynes 7 years ago
Lol, why's that?
Posted by discomfiting 7 years ago
This should be a very easy win for "pro".
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by ChosenWolff 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Concession, says the two people below me
Vote Placed by Ragnar 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Concession... Credit to con for manning up to his inability to finish.
Vote Placed by whiteflame 7 years ago
Who won the debate:Vote Checkmark-
Reasons for voting decision: Concession. Too bad really, it looked like it'd be interesting.

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