spencer powers Paradigm

Last changed 26 May 2021 10:16 AM CDT

Hi y'all! I did four years of policy debate in highschool, 2 as the 2n, 2 as the 2a. I'm not debating in college now, so the extent of my connection to the activity is periodic judging and chatting with current debaters.

For the purposes of email chain: spencer.powers726@gmail.com

Please ask questions before round if you have them. I’m probably forgetting something.

Sparknotes/before round:

-Moderate experience with the topic

-Less is more—I’ll evaluate a lot of offcase arguments but I will be sad if i have to use a lot of sheets of paper that get tossed in the block

-I flow on paper--I can understand you speaking fast, but I can only write down so many arguments so quickly

-You can run generic arguments, but I'm generally not a fan of entirely plan inclusive counterplans

-I have no preconceived notions of topicality beyond a slight suspicion that immigration area affirmatives aren’t topical.

-K framework that takes away the plan is fine. Probably more receptive to it than most.

-I'll default to offense/defense framing, but you can persuade me out of that. Zero risk is hard but possible.

-Conditionality’s fine. 2 is probably a good limit, but I'm open to hearing both sides debate it out.

-Tech>truth, but if I can't explain the argument and its warrants it's not going into my consideration

-I don't take prep for flashing.

-I'll shout clear twice. For online debating, this is especially relevant. You are not going to be as clear as you are in an in person debate, so slow down.

Full thing:

In general, I try to be as much of a blank slate as possible. However, I would be remiss if I did not admit that I had many personal biases and arguments that appeal to me more than others, as well as arguments that I view unfavorably. It may be possible to persuade me away from these biases, or simply win these arguments on a technical level, but you should know that I have these biases.

Kritiks (neg):

As a 2n, I went for mainly security and capitalism kritiks. As a 2a, I was the partner for someone who went for psychoanalysis, gender, and nietzsche kritiks. I have a pretty good familiarity with psychoanalysis and gender, and less so with Nietzsche. Other than those, I understand the generic Ks pretty well, but you’ll have to spend more time on explanation for Ks like Baudrillard and Virillio. I have a fair understanding of pessimist kritiks, but not enough that I would feel comfortable going for one myself.

The weakest part of the kritik is usually the alternative. I think teams should address that by either A) having a robustly defended material alternative that addresses the links and impacts or B) focusing on the educational aspect of the kritik, emphasizing the framework debate and the education impacts rather than comparing solvency. I'm probably more receptive to negating the aff through framework than most, but I also think that aff solvency can be used as net benefits to their framework arguments.

Responding to Ks:

While I do like seeing affirmatives explain the permutation and compatibility, I think that impact turns are underutilized here. Certainly, explain why the perm solves the links. But if you can't, try to think of impact turns to those links. Explain why capitalism is good. Explain why the state is good. Challenge the thesis of the kritik. A lot of K teams aren't as versed in their literature as they might want you to think, and if you call them out on it you can often do very well. Soft left affs especially should use impact turns to their benefit, since it's often easy for K teams to get away with "our K solves+links destroy the aff."

Unconventional/kritikal affirmatives:

I'm good for K affs. The way they answer framework is usually what can trip me up. I think you should have a clear delineation of what affirmatives are allowed to exist and what affirmatives are excluded. Use that interpretation to neutralize neg framework offense. Running impact turns to T/FW without a clear counter interpretation is not very persuasive to me.

While I enjoy a good kritikal aff, I also think that aff should relate to the topic. If the affirmative has nothing to do with the topic, I'm not likely to view it very positively. If your aff is related to the topic but is clearly an aff that can be run in any year by switching out a single card, I will likely give the negative a lot of leeway in claims about topic education and limits.

See below on what I think makes a good neg framework argument.


Sure. Make sure there’s a reason the performance was there. If I’m not hearing about it in every speech you give from there on out, it didn’t need to be there.

Counter plans:

I prefer advantage counter plans and PICs that remove something from the plan. Not a fan of entirely plan inclusive counter plans, such as consult, reg neg, delay, or any other procedural counter plan. Agent counter plans only make sense to me when the aff has a clearly defined agent other than "the USfg". I haven’t made up my mind on 50 states. Not a fan of word pics that don't change the function of the counter plan (No "The" PICs please).

If you feel up to it, you can still run all those counter plans I don't view favorably. Just know that I'll probably align closer to aff theory arguments against them if the affirmative decides to go for theory against you.

I don’t default to judge kick, but I will if you tell me.


Judging DA and Case 2NRs is difficult when people don’t do impact calculus. Please do impact calculus.

I’m alright with generic politics DAs. I understand that you might not have a specific strategy for every affirmative. But please, try to get specific with the link if you can.


Cheap shots make me sad. If you want to go for one, shame me into voting for you because I will likely feel like I shouldn’t. I’ll default to reject the argument.


I went for topicality a lot, both in my 2NRs and my 1NRs. Predictability/precision standards are probably the most persuasive to me, followed by generic limits and generic ground. Remember to connect them to education (I mostly view fairness as an internal link to education) or I won’t know why to vote for it.

I default to competing interps, but I'm not very strong on that. Affs can win reasonability if they work to.

For the neg: I'm somewhat receptive to dubious T interps. Feel free to explain why your interpretation of the topic is so obviously true, even if the aff is also probably pretty easy to predict generally. It's about the interpretations, not the aff specifically.

Neg Framework:

I am more amenable to skills based/“State policymaking is really great actually” arguments than I am fairness based arguments.

I also think limits as necessary for effective topic education is a good argument. I like smaller topics.

LD Section:

Everything above is true. If you’re doing LD in front of me, you’ll have an easier time persuading me if you treat it like mini-policy. I have preliminary knowledge of Kant, Rawls, Hobbes, and some other weird philosophers but I don’t know anything about how they’re used in LD. LARPing is a good idea. I’m much more likely than any given LD judge to wave away theory arguments as a reason to reject the arg. RVIs are not my thing.

PF Section:

PF evidence standards are atrocious. Paraphrasing is technically allowed in my book but you need to be very careful about it. Don't say the evidence says something it doesn't, or your speaker points will be bad. You should have quick and easy mechanisms by which your opponent can read the evidence you bring up in your speech. Arguments supported by evidence your opponent can't read will be understood as made without evidence.


I haven’t judged enough to say something concrete on this. Clarity, using specific strategies, kindness, and strength of analysis are all likely to increase points for me. I’ll probably be too kind with them. I will also attempt to adapt my speaker point scale to the relative skill level of the tournament.

Full Judging Record

Tournament Lv Date Ev Rd Aff Neg Vote Result
TFA State HS 2021-03-10 CX Oct Coppell KC Winston Churchill AD Aff Aff 2-1
TFA State HS 2021-03-10 CX R2 Dulles DJ Elkins LJ Neg
TFA State HS 2021-03-10 CX R1 Dulles KP Midway PZ Neg
The Cougar Classic at the University of Houston HS 2021-01-14 Pol Double Dulles JD ArcMit KB Neg Neg 3-0
The Cougar Classic at the University of Houston HS 2021-01-14 NCX R5 LanCre DA Greenh DI Neg
The Cougar Classic at the University of Houston HS 2021-01-14 Pol R1 Dulles MV Reagan KR Neg
The 46th Winston Churchill Classic TOC and NIETOC Qualifier HS 2021-01-06 CX R5 LAAS Malhotra & Ritter-Snader CadMil Baxter & Press Aff
The 46th Winston Churchill Classic TOC and NIETOC Qualifier HS 2021-01-06 CX R4 Bander Sarazua & Koonce Westwo Ou & Prasanna Neg
The 46th Winston Churchill Classic TOC and NIETOC Qualifier HS 2021-01-06 CX R3 Reagan Lurtz & Schroeder LouD Balasquez & Maneewat Aff
The 46th Winston Churchill Classic TOC and NIETOC Qualifier HS 2021-01-06 NCX R1 Westwo Koduri & Sharma LC Hamilton & Margo Aff
Memorial Spring Woods Swing HS 2020-10-28 VLD Octo Elkins AB Clear Lake AA Neg
Memorial Spring Woods Swing HS 2020-10-28 VCX Round Dulles MV Clear Lake MK Aff
Memorial Spring Woods Swing HS 2020-10-28 VCX R1 North Kansas City DM Dulles LS Neg
Atascocita High School TFA HS 2020-10-11 CX R3 Dulles Pirani & Pirani Grain Valley Lytle & Powell NEG
Atascocita High School TFA HS 2020-10-11 CX R2 Barbers Hill Mairena & Boullion Heights Kuffner & Waters NEG
Atascocita High School TFA HS 2020-10-11 CX R1 Heights Ahmed & Jolivette Dulles Misra & Vaidya NEG