Resolved: On balance, the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission harms the election process.

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Resolved: On balance, the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission harms the election process.

This topic is awful, so much so that I didn’t even feel like finding a witty cartoon to put in this post. The topic doesn’t even ask you to assess the merits of of the ruling, but the impact it has had on the election process. Enough time hasn’t passed for you to have adequate evidence to address the impact, nor is it possible to draw any sort of reasonable causal distinction. This is going to lead to terrible off topic debates. To everyone who voted for this topic, wtf were you thinking?

Ok, with that ranting introduction over, let’s actually talk about this nonsense.

Definitions

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission – This is the only important definition in this resolution. Everything else is straightforward. What did the ruling do? There’s actually a lot to it, but the gist is that it allows for corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money toward convincing people to vote for a particular candidate. My advice to you is to actually read the entire opinion available here.

Potential Case Positions

Pro

1. Increased Block Voting – Unions have spent a noticeably greater amount of money since the ruling, and union members have voted more homogeneously. This demonstrates the advent of voting blocks rather than independent thoughtful voting. The results of this is increased political divisiveness as people increasingly vote on partisan lines as opposed to voting on the merits of the candidates’ positions and ideas.

2. Increased Non-Voter Influence – Interest groups like unions and corporations do not vote. While election decisions affect them, candidates are supposed to represent the people. Since the ruling, a number of non-voter interests have enacted initiatives which can be characterized as “buying votes” for the candidate of their choice. This has negatively impacted the election process by not only decreasing its legitimacy but also removing the representation of the people.

Con

1. Nothing Has Changed – There is no evidence to suggest that the election process is different in any noticeable way. Unions and corporations aren’t doing anything differently than they have done in the past, and voter allegiances have not dramatically shifted.

2. More Political Activity – Avenues for political education and awareness have become more effective since the removal of funding limits. The ruling has enable previously silent interests to become more active, which has allowed for a more vibrant political landscape, which is always a good thing.

I hope this helps give you some kind of start for this horrendous topic. Good luck finding evidence and analyzing it.

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2 responses to “Resolved: On balance, the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission harms the election process.

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