[eDebate] Coalition of the list-supporter

Ede Warner ewarner
Sat Jun 3 17:04:26 CDT 2006


Dear Debate Community,
 
When the final slate of topics was announced, it was apparent that first amendment would be what we debate in the fall for a couple of reasons:  1) some, perhaps many, feel that it is the only topic with enough limits; 2) many just don't like the use of "overrule" in the other topics; 3) it is the only area topic competing against 7 area topics, which means the most likely outcome is that a 1/3 to ? of the community votes for first amendment as their #1 choice, and no one list topic generates more than 1/5 of the vote.  Now, given the criticisms coming out, perhaps that is not the case, but the lone area topic is at a huge strategic advantage.  Ironically, as someone who supported areas, the process created strange bedfellows the way it played out.  I think the lists were made with broad strokes to allow for a lot of flexibility.  Ironically, this is the major criticism of the list topics.  I strongly feel that the committee created a series of lists that have much pedagogical value in terms of diversity of case options, than the free speech topic.  And finally, I don't agree that the stem for the lists are as open-ended as others do. But that is not here nor there.  If you are interested in voting for a list as your #1 topic, please continue.
 
The last three years, whatever topic had the overall most number of #1 votes, won.  93 total ballots cast last year with pressure getting 29 first round first place votes, with 21 the next highest.  The year before that, there were 95 total ballots, with the winning topic receiving 46 followed by 19, and in 2003-4, there were 75 ballots cast, and the winning Europe list had 31 first round first place ballots, with second place having 22. 
 
If your school is a list supporter, and I concede that for many it is too early to make that call (depending on how much investigation the school wants to do or the inclusiveness of the decision making process at the school), I call on those in favor of any list to participate in a coalition-building process to give a list topic a fighting chance to win.
 
I propose this:  If you support any of the lists, let's have a discussion on the blog until a deadline date, perhaps July 1st or even a little later.  The goal of the discussion is to create some consensus for what order we think the lists should be voted in.  From there let's have our own vote amongst the supporters of a list.  We each agree to support the results of that voting as a group and vote accordingly.  And we all cast our individual ballot as part of a collective voting block.
 
If we got 48 willing schools to participate, we could assure that a list topic was likely victorious.  I suspect we can't get that many, but we should strive to maximize our coalition.  Without any external effort on this, a relatively small minority of first amendment #1 votes will likely win.  
 
I will post this note to edebate, CEDA-L, and the Blog.  Please let me know if you are interested.  I will create and defend a rank order of the lists to start the discussion, only on the blog.  I hope people see the strategic necessity to think of this as one list versus one area, and not 8 separate topics.  Thanks for reading.
 
Ede "Doc" Warner
 
 
 
 
Ede Warner, Jr.
Director of Debate Society/Associate Professor of Communication
University of Louisville
308E Strickler Hall
502-852-3522
e0warn01 at gwise.louisville.edu
http://comm.louisville.edu/~debate

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