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Chaos

Race and the Race for the White House: On Social Research in the Age of Trump

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I dislike Trump immensely, but people sometimes make overly hasty assertions about what the 2016 elections "proved" about America. This PDF offers a different take than the standard narrative, and happens to include in its introduction one of the most well put together arguments for ideological diversity I've ever seen. Feel free to discuss or argue about it.

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I'm thinking about whether policy debate is good for the kind of bias reduction this paper calls for. Because, on the one hand, most judges think any argument is potentially true and people were still making "Trump wins now" arguments against the elections DA in 2016. On the other hand, the main Trump arguments in debate right now are "wag the dog" impacts, scenarios about impeachment and midterms, and the straight-up "you use the USFG and Trump is so evil that you should lose for it" K.

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A lot of that, though maybe not most of it, might be the consequence of literature skew. Some of it is also strategic. It generally doesn't make sense to try to defend Trump's presidency against an impeachment impact, even a badly written one, because there are so many different arguments impeachment is good that responding to one will just result in the other team reading off a different one. It commonly takes more time to refute assertions about Trump than to make them.

For example, there was a minor brouhaha before the election where some people claimed that Trump was a danger to the planet because he was cagey about refusing to specify the exact conditions under which he might be willing to nuke ISIS. That sounds like a legitimate argument at first, but the US's default nuclear posture is one of strategic ambiguity, and his cageiness was consistent with a willingness to continue that policy. Explaining exactly what strategic ambiguity is and why it's maybe a good thing takes a lot longer to do than planting the initial seed of doubt in the judge's mind.

Given these incentives, I don't really think there's much of a problem with the prevalence of strategies predicated on Trump being bad. Instead, bias is having a negative influence mainly through the low quality of warrants that make up such arguments. People get sloppier when trying to prove Trump bad than when trying to prove other claims, and more reckless in characterizing exactly what's bad about him, or what the implications of his badness are. Additionally, when making claims on other flows, they feel uninhibited in making assertions about what Trump's policy is doing in certain areas, even without appealing to evidence. There's a common mutual assumption that everyone sensible is willing to default to the belief that Trump is bad, and any team hoping to prove otherwise is the one carrying the burden of proof, which is resulting in lower quality debate. Even strongly disliking Trump, the presumptuousness of debaters assuming that I must dislike him (in every conceivable way) is grating.

Edited by Chaos
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