Answering impact calc in the 1ar 2- the basics- The DA does not turn the case

The most important impact argument you have to answer is “turns the case”. This is something a lot of judges latch onto when deciding close debates and it always goes badly for the aff. Basically once they can see there is not a clear aff ballot they kind of go “eh, disad turns the case, neg” without needing to put in much more thought. Not that this judging approach is entirely without merit mind you- often turns the case will be the only actual comparative impact assessment given by either side.

So in the 1AR the first then you need to do when prepping impact calc is answering DA turns the case. Generally you should always have two stock arguments to rely on- that the aff controls uniqueness, and that there is a speed differential between the case solvency and the impact to the da turning the case.

Lets look at uniqueness first. The idea here is the same as link turning the politics DA- if fast track is already going to pass, you can’t make it pass anymore. Now with most affirmative advantages the issue is not in reality as black and white as will pass won’t pass- hegemony for example is more aptly measured on a spectrum than a binary. While this undercuts your “control uniqueness” claim, most of the time the neg won’t heavily be contesting that part of the case (and if they are you obviously have more balls in the air than just impact calc and will have to adapt accordingly).  Nevertheless, the fact that your advantage is not black and white should not prevent you from asserting it is. A simple argument like “ the disad can’t turn the case- the economy is collapsing now” is usually sufficient to get some ink on the flow and allow the 2AR to elaborate. That’s an important point to consider for this issue- the 1AR doesn’t need to do a lot of explaining here- they only need to provide the 2Ar with the tools necessary to win. A more flushed out argument could include the warrants from your 1AC for why economic collapse was coming, but is probably unnecessary.  This allows the 2Ar to say something like “ the disad may result in economic decline- i.e. less GDP- but its irrelevant because the economy is already in a tailspin now- there is no meaningful distinction between negative 7% growth and negative 8% growth- they are both enough to trigger the impact”. This is also the logical basis for most “Try or die” style arguments that you here with more critical impacts like patriarchy is the root cause of X or dehumanization is the source of all violence. The number of debates won on these simplistic arguments is pretty shocking.

Speed differential is also important- it’s a way of explaining why your solvency outweighs the turn aspect of the DA. So for example you read a healthcare case with a bioterror advantage. The negative reads a free trade disad and in the 2NC reads a card that says free trade solves the root cause of terrorism, therefore said disad turns aforementioned case advantage. Here in the 1AR you would want to say something like “ The case solves faster than the disad turns it- it will take free trade decades to eradicate poverty”. This allows the 2AR to fill in the blanks like “there is a risk of a bioterror attack now and only improving healthcare can limit the death toll and prevent US retaliation. While trade may get at the root cause by eliminating poverty it certainly doesn’t do that overnight- it’s a long drawn out process. The likelihood of an attack in the interim is extremely high so even if the disad turns the case 20-30 years from now its irrelevant because the impact is short term.”

Now if the neg invests a lot of time in turns the case you may need to do more than this. When I say invests a lot of time I don’t mean you have 6 advantages and they read 6 short cards that the DA turns each advantage. I mean more along the lines that you read hegemony, they have an econ DA and in the 2NC they read 6 cards why the economy is the most important factor for hegemony. The distinction here is that these are also “case doesn’t solve” arguments in addition to disad turns case. Many people miss this crucial difference and allow the neg a cheap win when they kick the disad by conceding uniqueness arguments for example, and then argue that the economy is inevitably going to decline and that takes out solvency for hegemony (an effective tactic a lot of times when you are negative for the record). In this instance you will need to make more arguments and hopefully read some cards. The kind of arguments you want to add to the above arguments are things like

-link comparison- why is your internal link into hegemony a stronger one than the economy or why is the economy link more long term than your solvency etc- the above example kind of demonstrates this.

-link distinctions- maybe your internal link was military readiness and their cards say the disad turns the case because economic decline causes isolationism- in that case you can draw a distinction as to why their argument doesn’t access your case, but maybe only accesses a separate external impact.

-specific responses- arguments that directly refute their claim- so if they say economic decline erodes public support for engagement you would say it doesn’t – and read a card or give an empirical example.

4 thoughts on “Answering impact calc in the 1ar 2- the basics- The DA does not turn the case

  1. Layne Kirshon

    it seems this can be more complicated if the DA both turns and "solves" the case i.e. neg is like cap and and trade good w/warming – you read econ adv – neg says both warming turns econ and cap and trade solves econ – how do u deal w/UQ

  2. Scott Phillips


    In the case where the da “solves” the case you need to argue that your internal link into the advantage is stronger/more important than the disads internal link. Not any real magic/trick to that.

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