My friend Mitch Gaffer has coached debate at Huron High School for 32 years. He says Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both put in novice performances in Sunday’s “debate”:
“Right now we get all of this belief without any proof,” he said. “One of the most basic rules of debate is to prove what you say, to have a warrant to what you say.”
ABC fact checkers found dozens of occasions where both candidates made misleading or entirely false statements.
“For example when he said, ‘I never said go look at this former Miss Universe’s sex tape,’ alright play the tape, here’s the tweet, we see that, he lied about that,” Gaffer said [Bridget Bennett, “Huron Debate Coach Says Candidates Lack Facts,” KSFY, 2016.10.10].
Gaffer says that on the standard 30-point high school debate ballot, he’d give the two major-party nominees scores in the teens—ouch! Usually at tournaments, if I turn in a ballot with teens for speaker points, I’d better be reporting that someone dropped an f-bomb or threw a punch in the round. But then Trump and Clinton are grown-ups—they should know better.
Bonus Brilliant Coaching—Gaffer coaches kids who know how to use French:
“I’ve let my composure slip once or a twice in a round, I’ve raised my voice a little bit, and that’s when my argument started to slip as well,” [senior Trey] Litwiller said. “So the moment you start to disrespect your opponent, you don’t have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that my argument is right. So I feel like the presidential candidates could learn something from that” [Bennett, 2016.10.10].
Bien dit, Trey! Like all good South Dakota debaters and coaches, you sais your debate quoi very well.
False Equivalency Watch: Bennett says ABC found “dozens of occasions where both candidates made misleading or entirely false statements.” Yet the main ABC debate fact-check article displayed in Bennett’s article looks at only 17 debate claims, 16 by Trump and one by Clinton. ABC rated 10 of the 16 Trump claims False or Mostly False. Other fact-checks by MPR, USA Today, and Politifact find Trump setting off False flag far more often than Clinton.