Many, many teams are having some 2AC trouble in the debates I am judging. Some of this relates to poorly written 1AC’s, some to poorly written 2AC blocks, and a lot to misunderstanding where cards need to be read. There are definitely other problems, but those are for another post, perhaps by Roy if he ever gets out of his coma.
In order to highlight some of the issues related to these problems, I am going to go through some simple examples that come up most frequently, but the general idea is applicable everywhere.
1. An argument consists of at least 10 words. That’s a rule. Saying “economic decline causes war, extend Mead” is not an argument. You can occasionally gamble and blow off arguments you think the neg isn’t going to extend by making such short, rapid fire arguments and not explaining them. For the most part, you should make sure that you are extending the claim and the warrant for whatever argument you are extending. This leads us to
2. Don’t make up arguments and claim they were in a piece of evidence where they were not. If you read a bad impact to bio terror in the 1AC, you can’t answer 3 or 4 impact defense cards by just extending that card and claiming it says all kinds of things that it doesn’t say. This is one of the problems with bad impact cards like Alexander or Ochs, they require you to read a lot of extension evidence if you are pressed on them. If I am judging you, (and having spoke to some other judges about this recently my view seems pretty mainstream) if you read one of these generic impact cards and the other team reads impact defense like “no motive” or “no capabilities” and you just extend your 1AC card, you get zero risk of your advantage. You do not have an internal link, because terrorists have no motive. I can’t stress this enough, you have to read a piece of evidence that responds to the negatives defense. Similarly, if the neg reads a piece of evidence that says hegemonic collapse doesn’t cause war because international institutions will fill in, if you did not read a piece of evidence that indicts the solvency of international institutions in the 1AC- thats a new card you have to read. If not-zero risk. This is a standard judges implicitly hold disads to, but don’t seem to be very diligent in holding aff arguments up to it.
3. People are spending way too much time on “terminal impact uniqueness”. I don’t really know where this style of argument came from or when it got so popular, but as far as I’m concerned these are a last line of defense, not a strategic focal point. Climate causing economic collapse 100 years from now is about as useful vs a short term econ DA as Roy. If the negative says time w/255 frame it is over. If you are winning substantial defense on the disad this can be a tie breaker, but teams are spending sooo much time on this in the 2AC and all following speeches that they aren’t winning any defense on the disad. “Hegemony contains all impacts” is another example- useful in a small set of instances, but you can’t just drop the politics disad and expect to win on hegemony solves the impact. This is ESPECIALLY TRUE when the neg has a counterplan, and double especially when the counterplan is entirely plan inclusive. There is just no rational justification for risking the DA based on the belief that hegemony might solve it, when there is an alternate policy that also solves the case (thus capturing the hegemony benefit) but doesn’t risk the disad.
4. Pick and chose case advantages- if the neg has an advantage counterplan that solves one of your advantages, and a mix of offense and defense vs that advantage that is a good time to kick that adv vs one of your other advantages. The neg has a CP and the possibility of generating offense on it. Even if the net number of answers to your other advantage is bigger, strategically your other advantage is more useful. Similarly if the neg has a CP that possibly solves some/all of your advantages, you should pick and chose based on which one you think has the strongest solvency deficit not which one had the worst neg answers. Kicking advantages lets you spend more time conclusively winning one advantage, and winning that the CP doesn’t solve it well. This leads to
5. To win a solvency deficit, and this is especially true the more egregious theoretically the CP is, requires more and more framing work by the aff. This should start in the 2AC. It can start in the 1AR, but that is time consuming and most 1AR’s aren’t up to the challenge. If you are going to go for a “delay” argument for example, you need to start in the 2AC setting up
A. what specific advantage internal link is time sensitive
B. how does the judge quantify the impact of the solvency deficit
Most teams just say delay means the cp doesn’t solve “the whole case” (which is almost always false) or say “delay means they solve none of the case” (again, false). A more reasonable and well explained specific argument will win you 100X more debates than this hyperbole. To set this up in the 2AC you want to do the following
A. The CP doesn’t solve X internal link because
B. X internal link is crucial to Y impact because
C. Solving partially for Y is insufficient , we still get Z risk of this because
Part A- this should be more than explaining WHAT your internal link is, it needs to explain why you think the CP does’nt solve it
Part B- this is crucial when you have like 3 internal links to hegemony. You need to explain why the internal link the CP doesn’t solve is particularly meaningful/important. This can be hard if you have written your 1AC with over the top internal link cards to everything as distinguishing one as important becomes difficult. Sometimes you may need to read an add on impact for B/C, such as an impact external to hegemony for why overstretch is bad.
Part C- how do you quantify what the impact is to 60% greater solvency than the CP? Judges often have a hard time figuring this out, so they vote on the disad because it is more clear what the impact to the link differential is. This leads to
6. Conceptualize “cp links” arguments as the equivalent (strategically) to arguments that the CP solves the case. They serve the same function. If the CP links to the disad 90% the same as the plan does, then the impact should be just as hard to quantify as the 10% solvency deficit. Putting arguments into this frame and combining it with some meta level arguments about side bias or presumption will make judges see the round in a much more favorable light for the aff.