Category Archives: Disadvantages

Resources For Learning The Politics DA

For better or worse, Biden’s presidency is likely to revitalize the agenda politics DA, a type of generic negative disadvantage that emerged during the 1970s and became ubiquitous at the dawn of the electronic research age in the mid-1990s.

The “golden age” of the politics DA lasted from the late 1990s to the early 2010s, but it fell out of favor during the latter half of the Obama administration and was rarely a staple of negative strategies during the Trump administration. While it is unlikely to return its previous level of ubiquity, the politics DA seems poised for a post-Trump renaissance.

The current cohort of high school and college debaters is too young to have experienced the politics DA’s “golden age” first hand. That’s also true for many judges, a reflection of just how long it’s been since the politics DA was the dominant negative strategy in high school debate.

As a new generation of debaters begins to learn the politics DA for the first time, there are many resources from earlier eras that can help them get up to speed. In this post, I’ll provide some historical context for the politics DA and share some recommended resources.

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Debating Politics Impacts- Focus on Evidence/Bias

There are many reasons politics is a popular disad on every topic, one of them is that it is generally a quick way to get to nuke war. No matter what the issue is, if its on the presidents agenda its a safe bet there will be people making hyperbolic statements about it. While most disads/advantages are always exaggerations, the impact evidence selected to read for politics is generally some of the worst.

That the evidence is bad, and more specifically that it is often biased, is an issue frequently brought up, less frequently focused on, and even less frequently a round winning issue. It should be.

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Legitimate or Illegitimate? A Politics DA Hypothetical

Suppose that the 1NC presented the following politics disadvantage shell:

  1. Obama will get START ratified in the status quo.

  2. The plan kills Obama’s political capital so he can’t get START ratified.

  3. START ratification increases U.S.-Russia relations, decreases the risk of terrorism, and decreases proliferation.

  4. Proliferation causes war.

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Politics Post on Planet Debate

Stefan has posted a brief 411 on the politics disad for the start of the year.

I agree with his sentiment that if you are going to read an Obama good disad you should read healthcare so I won’t belabor that point. But I do think the article was a little light on where the disad will most likely get pushed- which is Obama bad disads. Nothing is gonna pass, there is way to much division in the democratic party. The amount of link cards written for a winners win style Obama needs to take command link is ridiculous.

Fiat, Math, and Political Process Disadvantages

There are a couple of interesting threads on that discuss the theoretical underpinnings of political process disadvantages. In particular, Ankur Sarodia has developed a mathematical model that seeks to demonstrate that certain political process disadvantages are not legitimate considerations when determining whether the affirmative plan should be enacted. In this guest post, Dylan Keenan—debate coach at Emory University and the Westminster Schools—provides a rebuttal to the Sarodia model.

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