Alex johnson

Is it possible to win the upcoming presidential debate without wielding fallacy?

Trump relies on fallacy as as a weapon of attack and defense. Watch the H Clinton Trump debate Fallacious arguments cast opacity over his character that many find believable. I never hear or see any politicians calling out his sophistry. No political adversaries or mainstream media source I Ve witnessed have raised the issue. The lot of political debate seems to me dependable on deception .
Is it possible to win the upcoming presidential debate without wielding fallacy ?
asked on Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019 12:18:15 AM by Alex johnson

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Trump overloads the public with lies, to the point of sensory paralysis. To argue with him point by point is useless. He's all over the map and lacks any coherency that comes with a "normal" human adult.

You ask this question: " Is it possible to win the upcoming presidential debate without wielding fallacy ? "

I keep believing that the Truth ultimately wins. But then...we have Trump. I wrote a back some years ago titled Political Logic : Defeating Conservative Theories of Rationality. I thought you could easily win an argument with a conservative by applying logic. Surely everyone would see the weakness of their arguments. I was wrong. They don't care about logic. They care about emotion. No matter how logical you are and how strongly you make your case, they will rely on a bumper sticker phrase that will appeal to those that want a simple answer to every question.
answered on Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019 01:22:55 AM by Adagio4639


Jim Cliff
On the Fallacious Trump Podcast we specifically call out his sophistry every episode, but sadly we're not a mainstream media source just yet.

Is it possible to win the upcoming presidential debate without wielding fallacy? Absolutely (to the extent that it's possible to avoid the use of fallacies in general, which is pretty damn hard). Pretty much every major poll said that Hillary won all three of her debates against Trump (although she did also engage in some fallacies, but not in the same league as the Donald).

Rhetoric is every bit as important as logic when trying to persuade people of something, and in the absence of fact checking or an informed audience it can be much more important.

Fortunately, a large portion of the audience for the debates seems to be sufficiently informed as to not be convinced by Trump's particular type of bluster. Unfortunately, debate performance doesn't necessarily translate into election results.
answered on Wednesday, Aug 14, 2019 04:01:26 AM by Jim Cliff


David Blomstrom
Interesting question - kind of a trick question.

First, Trump is hardly the only politician who engages in fallacy. Are people like Obama and Hillary Clinton really any better? How many public officials on the national level can you name that can be considered truthful? I can' name one.

Second, presidential elections are rigged. Suppose you ran against Trump and ran a clean campaign, speaking the truth. You're also a dynamic speaker, and you really nail the issues. You kick Tump's ass.

Guess what? Trump isn't the one you need to beat. The media can easily destroy you. They can lie about you or simply ignore you. Someone could drum up false charges against you. Maybe a rumor that you have some kind of sex problem suddenly surfaces.

Another catch - if you run as anything but a Democrat, you're probably going nowhere. The only person who could beat Trump is a Democrat. And if you're a Democratic candidate who's 100% truthful, what are you going to do if people ask you questions about your party? What is the subject of Obama torturing people at Guantanamo 24/7 while murdering innocent civilians in Pakistan with unmanned drones comes up? If you courageously slap down Obama, then many Democrats might turn on you.

Politics can be tricky, even a little weird.

I've run for public office myself, by the way. I first ran for office in 1999, running for a lousy seat on the school board. I was utterly floored by the corruption I experienced. For all practical purposes, there was no election at all. The local chamber of commerce simply recruits some thugs it wants on the school board, and the media help make sure they get (s)elected. And I'm talking about progressive Seattle.

In summary, I'd answer your question like this:

Your question sounds like a fallacy, because there's really no election to win. A person who speaks the truth can beat Trump in a debate, but the people who control the government don't like people who speak the truth. Catch 22.
answered on Thursday, Aug 15, 2019 12:46:00 PM by David Blomstrom


It's not clear how the "debate" could be free of fallacy, when it's not a debate, and has not been one since Lincoln-Douglas.
I'd point out that the question itself is flawed by several fallacies, but that's no answer as it is itself the "tu quoque" fallacy.

The open-ended kind of debate of college days, whereby the proposition was stated and the debaters were on opposite sides would not work either, imo.

A way might be to present three or four critical topics that had to be covered by the candidates, with no words put in their mouths by fallacious questioning. Each makes his/her proposition on the topic, then each is entitled to counter the proposition, then each to rebut the counters, and finally, they summarize what they said/proposed. The moderator keeps them from going off into the worst of the fallacies, non-sequiturs, irrelevancies, off-topic "speechifying". Three topics, three debates; four, four.

With any luck, it will be thoughtful and revealing, maybe, but it could be dull. It will also not be fallacy free, but it will be clearer who used fallacy more and it won't be the moderator's loaded, tendentious questions, or their scripted segues and "gotchas".
answered on Friday, Aug 16, 2019 06:56:29 PM by DrBill


Steven Hobbs
All the above answers make valid points. Each distinguishes a different aspect of the question's framework, political context, and the potential outcome. The questioner would do well to define "win." As there are rhetorical perspectives and logical or reasoned perspectives which may diverge. Implicit in the question seems the idea a "win" would mean electoral superiority, which elides vote tally corruption.
answered on Saturday, Aug 17, 2019 01:06:01 AM by Steven Hobbs