Benjamin Sauer ParadigmLast changed 9/18 4:43P CDT
Background: In college I debated on the national circuit for parliamentary debate. I formerly coached collegiate parliamentary and policy debate. I currently serve as the Ronald Reagan College Prep head coach, I was an assistant coach for Solorio Academy High School for the past few years, I sit on the Board of Directors of the Milwaukee Urban Debate League, and I am the President-Elect of the Wisconsin Debate Coaches' Association.
E-Mail Chain: Yes. Send to email@example.com. (Note: asking me if I want to be on the e-mail chain is usually a sign that you didn't read my paradigm before the round. It is right here at the top...)
Quick Philosophy: I strongly favor a policy making philosophy. Ideally the AFF should advocate a policy topical to the resolution, and the NEG should explain why I should reject the specific policy case made by AFF.
- Speak clearly. If I can't understand you, I can't flow you.
- Do not argue a tagline. Argue the logic and evidence.
- Maintain clash. Line by line is good.
- Identify voting issues.
- Take advantage of the cross examination to force concessions and formulate your arguments.
- Do not be rude. Be witty. (Wit = speaker point bumps)
- Have fun.
- Planless Aff: If the AFF isn't affirming any specific plan, advocacy or course of action, then the status quo doesn't change, and NEG wins on presumption regardless of what else the AFF says.
- Tech v Truth: I will prefer tech to truth. Like all judges I attempt to avoid intervention, and a dropped argument is a true argument.
- Links: I do not think enough scrutiny is usually given to link arguments or link chains. I am a big fan of strategies that attack internal links or the link of a disadvantage/K/etc.
- Advantages and Disadvantages: You need to perform an impact calculus. Significance arguments should have fleshed out impact assessments with relative risk analysis supported by evidence. Politics DAs are great.
- Speed: Keep your speed reasonable. While I can handle a speedy round, I think teams who slow down perform better - they understand their round better, and I understand the arguments better. Clarity in the round matters. Make sure you articulate and enunciate your words. Speaking exceptionally quickly to try to read more cards or have more, and less developed arguments, isn't effective (and will hurt your speaks). I will let you know if I have a problem keeping up with (or understanding) you, and I'll give two warnings before I stop flowing. I will not use your cards to fill in what I miss because you are going too quickly (or if I stop flowing because I warned you twice).
If you are doing more than 7 off case arguments, you're not giving enough attention or time to all of the arguments, and you're likely relying on speed. I would far rather have fewer arguments with a deeper dive into the issues than more arguments and cursory explanations with an attempt to win simply by having the other team drop an argument that hasn't been developed much at all. I will weigh how well developed and impacted an argument is that the other team dropped when 8+ off-case are run.
- Cross Examination: I flow CX. Cross examination is an extremely important and undervalued tool in current policy debate. I recommend flowing those developments into your speeches. Do not be elusive in response to questions. A simple "I don't know" is an acceptable response if you do not know the answer. I do not prefer tag teaming on CX for varsity or open rounds. I award higher speaker points for individuals who do not rely on verbal assistance from a partner in asking or answering questions or making speeches.
- Topicality: I will vote on topicality, but my threshold for topicality is rather high. Topicality arguments that are well developed and given time during the 1NC/2NC are more likely to be successful, and the NEG should explain either how the AFF violated a reasonable and fair framework or why NEG's interpretation is better (I enjoy debates about what the proper meaning of a word should be and how that impacts the plan or the debate). If you are going to argue topicality and the AFF asks what a topical plan would look like under your framework for topicality, you need to be able to give an answer. If you cannot provide an example of topicality under your own framework, you have a problem, and your argument is very unlikely to persuade.
- Performance or Meta-Debate: I am not your judge, and you should strike me. My threshold for theory / topicality arguments against performance debate is low.
- Counterplans: I am a huge fan of counterplans, and I strongly look to functional competition. I enjoy a well run process counterplan. Process does matter in the real world and has real policy implications. I am not a fan of consult counterplans, but I have and will grudgingly vote for them.
- Theory: I am fine with theory arguments and debates. For conditionality, I am fine with multiple CPs and kritiks, but keep your conditionality within reasonable constraints (i.e. six or more worlds is not very reasonable). I default to reject the argument not the team for theory arguments. If I am to reject the team, not the argument, have a very good explanation as to why.
- Kritiks: I am not opposed to a K, but I am only well versed in K literature that is based in law and economics. For almost any other K you're going to need to SLOW DOWN, explain your buzzwords / jargon and explain the concepts. If you don't explain the buzzword / jargon, I'm not searching your cards for what a term means.
I strongly dislike K taglines that are paragraphs. That is not a tagline - it's a mini-speech.
The K needs to link to the specific policy case made and engage with the substance of the Aff's plan. If there is no link to the specific policy or no engagement with the substance of the plan, then there is no reason for me to vote for the K. A successful K will (1) link to the specific policy being argued; and (2) have an alt that (A) is a conditional policy option; (B) competes with the Aff's plan; and (C) you have explained how it functions in the real world. If, at the end of the debate, I am left thinking "So what?" I am going to vote for the Aff. The Aff actually solves for something, and the K does not.
For a K-Aff, the alt in the K-Aff needs to meet the same standards as the alt for any other K - the alt still needs to be topical, create change and solve for some harm.
- Off-Limits Arguments: No argument is out of bounds or off-limits in the debate round. Your team can make any argument it wants. If a team thinks an argument is objectionable or morally wrong, then the burden is on that team to explain why and why I should not vote for it. Merely claiming that something is offensive, immoral or "-ist" isn't enough. Why is it immoral or "-ist"? Why is it unfair or wrong? If your team can't explain why, I won't intervene to do the work for you. Run whatever argument(s) you want.
Note: The above should not be interpreted as carte blanche to engage in ad hominem attacks or other personal attacks in the round. You must be respectful to each other.
- Court or Legal Plans/Arguments: I am the general counsel of a multinational company. I really enjoy listening to plans/counterplans/etc that involve the courts or a legal strategy. That said, I will know if you do not understand how the judicial branch functions, and I will know if your plan/CP actually functions or solves the way that you claim. I will not intervene to vote on these issues if the other team does not call you on it, but my threshold for them to call you on these issues is low.