Why Candidates Attend Political Debates Explained In Plain English


Debating is commonly carried out in many assemblies of various types to discuss matters and to make resolutions about action to be taken, often by a vote.

Political entities  such as parliaments, legislative assemblies, and meetings of all sorts engage in debates. In particular, in parliamentary democracies a legislature debates and decides on new laws. Formal debates between candidates for elected office, such as the leaders debates and the U.S. presidential election debates, are held in democracies. Debating is also carried out for educational and recreational purposes, usually associated with educational establishments.The major goal of the study of debate as a method or art is to develop the ability to debate rationally from either position with equal ease.

Debates allow political parties to develop support for a certain idea. In the early days of America, a politician could brand himself during debates. Debate was so forceful that a  style was developed from one such debate.

Lincoln-Douglas debate is primarily a form of United States high school debate (though it also has a college form called NFA LD) named after the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858. It is a one-on-one event focused mainly on applying philosophical theories to real world issues. Debaters normally alternate sides from round to round as either the “affirmative”, which upholds the resolution, or “negative”, which attacks it. The resolution, which changes bimonthly, asks whether a certain policy or action conforms to a specific value.

Though established as an alternative to policy debate, there has been a strong movement to embrace certain techniques that originated in policy debate (and, correspondingly, a strong backlash movement). Plans, counterplans, critical theory, postmodern theory, debate about the theoretical basis and rules of the activity itself, and critics have all reached more than occasional, if not yet universal, usage. Traditional L-D debate attempts to be free of policy debate “jargon”. Lincoln-Douglas speeches can range from a conversational pace to well over 300 words per minute (when trying to maximize the number of arguments and depth of each argument’s development). This technique is known as spreading. There is also a growing emphasis on carded evidence, though still much less than in policy debate. These trends have created a serious rift within the activity between the debaters, judges, and coaches who advocate or accept these changes, and those who vehemently oppose them.

Where does the name cone from? It comes from the fact that Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas took to neighboring areas to discuss their issues while running for the senate. In 1858, as the country moved ever closer to disunion, two politicians from Illinois attracted the attention of a nation. From August 21 until October 15, Stephen Douglas battled Abraham Lincoln in face to face  discussion of issues around the state. The prize they sought was a seat in the Senate. Lincoln challenged Douglas to a war of ideas. Douglas took the challenge. Henceforth the two  set the tone for debates. It was during one of these great debates that Lincoln gave the ‘House Divided’ speech.The format for each debate was: one candidate spoke for 60 minutes, then the other candidate spoke for 90 minutes, and then the first candidate was allowed a 30-minute “rejoinder.” The candidates alternated speaking first. As the incumbent, Douglas spoke first in four of the debates.

Henceforth, this is the spring board for debates.