Debate Tricks

D L Henderson
2 min readJul 28, 2019

Twist what your opponent is saying.

For example, some Democrats pointed out that a small group of Border Patrolmen were behaving very badly. On this first example, the opposing Republicans are saying the Democrats are attacking the patriotic men and women of the Border Patrol, not just the Leadership of the Departments responsible. Instead of doing something to prevent such bad behavior, they are only seeking political advantage in the debate.

Another example, many Democrats highlighted the terrible conditions on the southern border at many holding facilities. The opposing Republicans blame it on the Democrats refusal to legislate.

That brings us to the second debate trick: Label the issue as something more palatable. And a third, blame the other guy.

Hence, “child separation,” which has in many cases turned out to be permanent and which; in any other case would be called “kidnapping,” not “child separation.”

Most parents would be horrified if their children were taken away from them, and that for any reason whatsoever. On this second example, Republicans are saying the Democrats are to blame, again as above, because they aren’t voting with them to change those conditions. Folks might not have been paying attention at the time, but early on, Congress had a bipartisan bill to solve the issues. First, the President agreed to sign on, but then reversed and said he would veto any bill without Total funding for a physical wall the full length of the border. Then, made policies to make the situation worse with the purpose of discouraging immigration.

And that brings me to this debate trick: Change the group affected to “the others,” “them” not “you.”

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” In my mind, both will always be my enemy. What? You can trade one for another? Putin is our friend because he opposed Hillary?

A bully is not a bully, if you don’t like the other kid either. You don’t particularly like the “others,” so maybe they deserve to get their butts kicked. You agree?

Please, think, not just reacting emotionally. High emotions whether nervousness, fear, anger, whatever, all such things put the brain into fight or flight mode with responses perhaps regrettable in hindsight. It was designed to save our lives, like from a pack of wolves. Like when you’re in a class and know the answer, but when the teacher calls on you, your mind goes blank. Reasoned contemplation and discussion come from our brains higher functions when we are confident and at peace, which we see as developing civilized behavior.



D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between