Debating Myself On Trump And The Elites

15 September 2016
Ben Domenech

On Tuesday, Tim Carney and I won the Open to Debate formerly known as Intelligence Squared U.S. debate on the proposition “Blame The Elites For The Trump Phenomenon” by a significant margin. Undecideds broke for our side of the proposition by more than 4-to-1. You can watch the full unedited debate here. Jennifer Rubin and Bret Stephens had already been chosen as the Against debaters when the Intelligence Squared folks contacted me. Stephens in particular is an experienced debater, and so I expected a challenge. But the tactics they took in this debate surprised me for a number of reasons. Their primary approach was, essentially, Hillary Clinton’s to frame the negative economic plight of many millions of voters and their families and friends as an exaggeration or mere noise, and to instead focus on the “basket of deplorables” racism and misogyny as driving forces for Trump. I was particularly surprised that Stephens closed by reading an anti-Semitic tweet and Rubin closed by arguing our argument was fundamentally leftist these are not solid approaches to winning a debate. Blaming the voters for being racist or leftist is a weaker argument than others that could’ve been made.