CEDA 2023 Topic Paper Ballot

This post is to inform you that the ballot for the 2023-2024 CEDA controversy is now available at cedadebate.org. One ballot per member school. The deadline to vote is due May 20th @ 11:59PM CST. Thank you to all topic authors for turning out a great slate of topic papers in a difficult time in the semester!

The ballot features all five submitted topic area papers: Carbon Pricing, Defense Cooperation, Middle East, Nuclear Weapons, Sanctions. The ballot is rank order 1 through 5.

Below are the notes of the topic committee’s meeting to finalize the controversy ballot. It includes the vote count for each of the six total votes and the concerns of committee members regarding how we would form a set of balanced resolution options from each topic area paper. The topic committee elected to include the notes of our meeting to signal what our concerns are for each paper and how we might use the paper as a starting off point for resolution development. Additionally, we included comments addressing the completeness of two of the papers as suggestions for future topic paper authors regarding what the committee typically looks for in a topic area paper.

The topic committee would also like to use this post to stimulate further discussion. Community members are welcome to ask for additional clarity. Committee members are available to provide additional context for our feedback. Advocates of particular papers are welcome to coordinate and post additional evidence to the College Policy Debate Topic Discussion Facebook group to further demonstrate the viability of their favorite controversy. Any supplemental evidence should also be emailed to the committee member acting as the point person for each paper. That information is included in the last bullet point of each reviewed paper.

Carbon Pricing – 9-0 vote to make final ballot

Committee Concerns:

-concerns about including the term “policy” in final list of optional resolutions

-lacks evidence post-IRA/renewables increases – relatedly, and as proposed by the paper, wordings may include the ability for the aff to deviate from carbon pricing to do other mechanisms, such as for example command-and-control measures, in order to better accord with the current state of the lit (carbon tax being an issue still sometimes discussed, but a literature bubble in the 2010s, and oil co.’s now broadly in favor of some kind of carbon pricing)

-the committee would welcome input regarding:

1) additional post-IRA proof-of-concept of carbon tax as a lively policy debate, and/or

2) additional vetting and proof-of-concept regarding the state of the literature re: what non-carbon tax mechanism debates are currently active and how that topic language might best be scoped

-Coordinator for supplemental work – Brett Bricker – bricker312[at]gmail.com

Nukes – 9-0 vote to make final ballot

Committee Concerns:

–should the aff be limited to exclusively reductions, the topic paper is unclear on the question of if the aff is allowed to improve the nuclear arsenal while also reducing its roles

-the committee would welcome input regarding:

1) is ‘role’ alone the best choice for the ‘purposes’ component?

2) scope of the ‘arsenal change’ component: should the aff be able to include a decrease in ‘strategic’ systems other than nuclear weapons (bmd? cpgs?); what about an increase in non-nuclear (and/or non-strategic) systems, or a change or increase in nuclear systems to compensate for a role reduction (or for, e.g., elimination of the triad, if a wording like the narrow list is selected)

-Coordinator for supplemental work – Brandon Kelley – bwk9[at]georgetown.edu

Sanctions – 9-0 vote to make final ballot

Committee Concerns:

-seems thin on solvency advocates, and much of the lit seems to not be about ‘comprehensive’

-no great unifying topic da, and concerns about dollar da as a neg generic

-neg ground v Cuba?

-QPQ competitive yes/no?; which countries?

-the committee would welcome input regarding:

1) proof of concept for ‘comprehensive’ Affs, or a viable pitch and definitions for a topic mech that doesn’t require ‘comprehensiveness’;

2) proof of concept for core topic DA(s);

3) proof of concept that QPQ is a core debate with ev on both sides

-Coordinator for supplemental work – David Cram-Helwich – cramhelwich[at]gmail.com

MIddle East – 9-0 vote to make final ballot

Committee Concerns:

-Are solvency advocates still writing about constructive engagement? It seems the paper solvency advocates don’t match the language of the resolution.

-What is the division of ground for financial assistance? Is security guarantees a sufficient floor without financial assistance?

-Is there link uniqueness for engagement with Israel and Iraq

-the committee would welcome input regarding:

1) alternate words for the resolution mechanism / potential other forms of engagement (is ‘constructive engagement’ still a useful term, and is it well-defined? Financial assistance? Specifying particular sub-types of engagement that should be included?)

2) are there DAs to these types of engagement (at least done via some mechanism that should be topically-mandated, or for some subset of countries which warrant inclusion?)

3) is QPQ (i.e. do the aid unconditionally yes/no) an active debate in the literature with ev on both sides, and if so what terms are available which would render it conclusively competitive and conclusively not competitive?

-Coordinator for supplemental work – Brendon Bankey – brendonbankey[at]gmail.com

Defense Coop – 7-2 vote to make final ballot

Committee Concerns:

-serious questions about viability of DCA mechanism (doesn’t align well with a core controversy nor establish a clear limit or ground, “defense cooperation agreement” evidence is from one author, etc.)

-“military presence” is a tough floor

-serious concerns about disad link uniqueness for Arctic, North Europe, and India; thus, final resolution slate would be based on alternative terms/mechanisms which will look different than the TAP authors’ vision

-the committee would welcome input regarding:

1) potential alternatives for core topic mechanism, subject areas and/or countries to include

2) proof of a two-sided debate for that mechanism and/or those area(s)/countri(es), etc.

-Coordinator for supplemental work – Caitlin Walrath – caitlinp96[at]gmail.com

9-0 vote to ratify the final ballot

Additional Commentary Regarding Paper Construction and the TAP Guidelines

Carbon Pricing – We thought the carbon pricing paper, while thin on evidence overall, did a good job of sourcing recent lit-review style evidence regarding the central questions of the controversy. The committee would like to remind people that lists of outside sources, while helpful for topic committee preparation, do not on their own constitute evidence sufficient to warrant inclusion on the ballot. Wiki entries and conjecture regarding previous topics are not considered when evaluating papers.

Defense Cooperation Agreements – We thought the defense cooperation agreements paper, while lengthy and well-researched, would have benefited greatly from inclusion of recent lit-review style evidence crystallizing and surveying the central questions of a controversy. We strongly recommend that future topic papers prioritize establishing that a two-sided debate exists with respect to a core topic mechanism before moving to considering other questions of scope (e.g. surveying potential geographic regions). Additionally, we advise including a diversity of sources in the definitions section, to help provide greater certainty that the central mechanism is defined consistently by a variety of sources.


The 2023 CEDA Topic Committee



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