2016 Nationals – live stream Finals!

The front page for the 2016 National Speech & Debate Tournament can be found here.

Click here for the Watch Live schedule and links. There are two streams that start on Thursday, June 16th. The first stream handles finals for Interp events on Thursday afternoon and evening, and finals for Public Speaking events on Friday. The second stream has Congressional Debate all day Thursday, and finals for supplemental events on Friday.

I will regrettably be somewhere in Nebraska/Iowa/Illinois during the streaming sessions. I did get to go to Salt Lake City for Nationals in 2008; I still think that Judge HS should fund their program by selling shirts that simply say ‘Judge Debate’ – I’d buy one!

Want to jump-start your team’s Congress practices next fall? Go to the tournament’s home page, click on the Nationals Topics link, then scroll down and grab the Congress packets. Teach format/style and substance both from the bills included.


PF – 2016 Nationals – Primary Election Process

Resolved: On balance, a one-day national primary would be more beneficial for the United States than our current presidential primary process.

While the Extemp Files does have an Elections folder with articles about the current election cycle, most of the articles are about the candidates rather than the process. There are a number of articles about primaries buried in the folder, but with several hundred articles about the election each month, the ones on the primary process can be a bit hard to find.

For that reason I’m making available my full Government folder, originally put together for teachers. It’s both current and backfiles all in one – it has the complete Elections folder. Of interest to this topic are the Democrats and Republicans folders; I often file articles in multiple locations (if they’re all relevant to the folder’s topic), and these folders are likely to have the articles specific to the primary process with fewer other articles cluttering up the search.

While this article isn’t necessarily quotable as evidence, the discussion brings up valid points that can still be used in a round.

A Debate Over Hillary vs Bernie – The Atlantic – caucus v primary discussion

A necessary historical perspective on why have our current system:

Pildes – Two myths about the unruly American primary system

The point about state-level party autonomy is worth considering:

Drezner – The good, the bad and the ugly of John Oliver’s rant against the nomination process

Republican issues:

George Will – The GOP needs new rules for picking its nominee

Reeling From 2016 Chaos, GOP Mulls Overhaul of Primaries

Lane – If the GOP had superdelegates, we might not be in this Trump mess

Democrat issues:

Is the Democratic Primary Really Rigged – The Atlantic

Democratic superdelegates – The villains of a ‘rigged’ system, according to Sanders’s supporters

Blow – The (Un)Democratic Party – Dem superdelegates

Roller – The Not So Super Delegates

What would happen if superdelegates had to vote for the candidate who won their state

Social choice theory:

Wolfers – Unusual Flavor of GOP Primary Illustrates a Famous Paradox – social choice theory and Condorcet’s paradox

Letter – The Merits of Approval Voting – social choice theory

To some extent, you can analyze this topic by playing the tape backwards – and seeing the parallels with the Electoral College. We don’t directly vote for the President – that office is filled by the person who gets the most votes in the Electoral College, based on a winner-take-all allocation by state. For primaries, the choice of a candidate doesn’t occur at the ballot box, but at the convention – and the PR value of that convention means that neither party is going to give it up as a platform for publicizing/glorifying that party’s candidate. So primary votes determine the delegate allocation for each state, and those delegates select the nominee (which is why some NeverTrump Republicans talked about the possibility of nominating someone who wasn’t in the primaries should their convention be contested).

So the question becomes one of the best way to select convention delegates. Primary? Caucus? State party convention? Key to delegate selection is how the votes are counted – proportional (see California’s Clinton/Sanders split), or winner-take-all by state (like the Electoral College)? If you have a huge field (17 Republican candidates at one point), could anyone get a majority regardless of counting method? If not (and relevant to a large field in a single-day primary), would you need to tally voter preferences past their primary choice so that a candidate could be determined without runoff votes?

LD – 2016 Nationals – Immigration and human rights

Resolved: Immigration ought to be recognized as a human right.

Check the Extemp Files for the latest articles; most of the recent news on the topic has concerned the deaths of migrants attempting to cross from Africa to Europe (mostly Libya to Italy, though there are still some deaths from the Turkey to Greece crossings). The most likely articles to be of use are probably in the EU folder, talking about their failure to deal with the crisis. Also check the Afghanistan folder; there are two articles in the 0616 folder about the number of displaced persons there, plus the 0516 Jeong article in that folder.

If you haven’t already read them see my earlier posts on this resolution on May 14th and June 3rd. The Evans article in the May 14th post is still the best I’ve read for this resolution.

FX/NX/LD/PF/CX – Extemp Files updates – Nationals Edition

The Extemp Files just finished updating, with articles through last night (Saturday, June 11th). This includes the Elections and Supreme Court folders. Nationals starts today, so this update is designed to get the latest info to those there that might be using these files.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is gradually being populated, with part of 2011 still to go. (2012-2014 are there, though there are gaps where life got in the way.)

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 33,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

LD – 2016 Nationals – Immigration and human rights

Resolved: Immigration ought to be recognized as a human right.

Be sure to see my previous post on this resolution, which can be found here.

New articles:

Rawlence – Refugees Shouldn’t Be Bargaining Chips

Lalwani et al – Europeans might be willing to take refugees – but only if they help the economy

Don’t blame smugglers for migrants’ deaths on the Mediterranean – the blood is on Europe’s hands – Quartz

Ponder the following article about the persuasive power of the word “moral” – so critical to LD in so many ways.

The magic word this researcher says can get people to agree with you

So, would concluding your speech(es) with something about voting for Aff/Neg “because it’s the moral thing to do” help you win a round?

Debate in the News – College-Level

Anyone doing debate in high school will recognize the issues and themes in the following story:


I missed this one when Radiolab first aired it, but a former student I’d coached a bit (didn’t go to my high school, but I’d coached her uncle a generation earlier) caught it and passed it on. The comments section after the story is worth reading, too – you can tell pretty quickly who the insiders/outsiders to the activity are.

While I had offers to debate in college, I chose not to, and was coaching at the high school level by my sophomore year. This story represents many of the reasons why I voted with my actions the way I did (though race wasn’t as much of an issue then). The rhetorical question that comes from this, and other similar disputes over the years, is whether (to put it on a personal level) I’m being too much of a purist to expect a round to be on the subject area of the resolution, or has (in HS terms) CX become so delimited that any round can be about anything at any time? (If so, what role does the resolution play in matters; is it  simply a limit to Aff teams and irrelevant to Neg teams?)

As you watch CX rounds at Nationals, or go to summer debate camps, ask yourself what your position is on the limiting/delimiting question – and why.

Debate in the News – the rest of the Virginia story

I originally posted about the Virginia state tournament boycott here – before the tournament.

Here’s how the rest of the story played out:

Why an undefeated high school debate team refuses to compete at Liberty University this weekend – Virginia

Falwell responds:

Jerry Falwell Jr – Liberty University debate boycott is based on false assumptions – Virginia HS state tournament

The non-forensics grownups get involved:

Spurred by student boycotters, school board members urge Virginia High School League to move championships from Liberty University