Charles Payne Policy Debate Judging Paradigm

General: I am a policy maker, but I am also stocks. I view policy and stocks as being more or less the same thing. An affirmative without inherency, solvency, or harms cannot possibly offer a policy advantage over the status quo, can it? Convince me that your side in the round offers me the best policy alternative.

I also find that the side that convinces me that they have a better understanding of the topic and the policy issues it presents tends to get my ballot. Unlike other judges and coaches, I have not spent the past 20 years studying debate theory and tactics, so you MUST explain your argument to me. Telling me the “story” of the argument will weigh more with me than the technical line-by-line. I am humble enough to be perfectly willing to write, “I did not understand this argument,” as part of my RFD on your ballot. It should go without saying that if I do not understand the argument, it is not going to weigh much in the round.

Speed: I do not like speed for two reasons: philosophical and practical. Philosophically, as a policy debater you should be trying to persuade me that your policy alternative is superior. Talking as fast as you can is annoying, not persuasive, and I believe is ultimately bad for the activity. From a practical standpoint, see my comments above about not spending the past 20 years studying debate theory. Talking as fast as you are able will probably be counter-productive to ensuring that I understand the reasoning of your argument. I will say “Clear” if I cannot understand the words you are saying, but if I do not understand the meaning of your argument, there is not much I can say without unfairly intervening in the round.

Topicality: I will definitely vote on T, but I get bored of technical T very quickly. Explain to me why the affirmative is abusive and unreasonably non-topical, and I will consider it.

Counter Plans: I like policy alternatives. CPs must be non-topical and mutually exclusive. I am probably not going to buy a PIC. I lean affirmative on conditionality arguments because I think the negative should present a coherent, non-conflicting policy.

Kritiks: You must offer me a policy alternative (more than just “reject the aff”). Most often, when a K loses with me, it is for lack of a decent alt. I also do not like “generic” arguments, so I want to hear a good, specific link to the affirmative. Also, make sure you explain the K to me. I have heard more than one round where I truthfully did not understand the K until sometime around the middle of the 2NR, which is way too late. See my comments above on conditionality under counter plans, and I am probably not going to buy a PIK.

DA’s: Most of my comments for K’s also apply to DA’s.

Burden of Proof: When I am in doubt over who won a particular argument, I will lean away from the team that originated the argument. Effectively, this means that, when in doubt, I am going to lean Negative on case, and Affirmative off case.

Split the Block: OK. Please do.

New in 2: Not OK. Please don’t.

Open CX: Preferably not, BUT: Debate is a communication event, and it is a team sport. Members of a team must communicate with each other, even during CX. DO NOT turn your partner into a puppet!

Closing Comment: Weigh the round and the competing policies for me (especially 2NR and 2AR)!