Archive | National Debate of the Month

Resolved, that the U.S. President be elected by the national popular vote, not the Electoral College

Resolved, that the U.S. President be elected by the national popular vote, not the Electoral College

Resolved, that the U.S. President be elected by the national popular vote, not the Electoral College.

Brief: When drafting the United States Constitution, the Framers of our government developed the Electoral College, the system by which we elect our Presidents. The Electoral College assigns each state a number of electoral votes based on its number of representatives and senators in Congress, and the Twenty-Third Amendment granted three to the District of Columbia. The electors are chosen by their respective state party and will only vote should their party’s candidate win their state. All but two states assign their votes on a winner-take-all basis to the candidate who received the most votes in their state. A candidate must receive at least 270 electoral votes to win a majority in the electoral college and be officially elected President. This system was designed to give each state an individual voice in the selection of the President but it does not consider who receives the most votes at a national level. Five separate times in America’s history, including in the most recent election, has the President won a majority of the Electoral College without winning the national popular vote, leading some some to argue the system by which we elect presidents should be more reflective of the voice of the American people as a whole, not as separated by the states. Is the Electoral College system too undemocratic for our current elections, or is it a necessary institution for the preservation of our republican system of governance?

 

Pro Arguments:

  • The President serves as President for the entire country, not the individual states or just those that voted for them, if we really live in a democracy then the President should be selected by the will of all of America’s voters.
  • By giving each state at least three votes, the Electoral College unfairly makes some people’s votes count more than others depending on the state they live in.
  • The Electoral College causes candidates to focus all of their attention to just a few “battleground states,” essentially rewarding candidates for ignoring most of the country and the issues important to them.

Con Arguments:

  • We are the Untied States of America, not the United State of America, the Electoral College recognizes our federalist system of governance and gives each state an individual voice.
  • Under a national popular vote candidates would only campaign in major population centers and ignore the issues important to Americans living in suburban and rural areas.
  • The Framers instituted the Electoral College because they understood the dangers of direct democracy, the electoral college prevents a “tyranny by the majority” from any one region or population of the country.

For more background on the formation and functions of the Electoral College click here. For more arguments in favor of this resolution click here. For more arguments against this resolution click here.

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SoCal JSA Debates in Spanish at Fall State LA

Students at the Spanish DebateAt Southern California JSA Fall State in Los Angeles, SoCal JSA was proud to introduce Spanish-language debates to the Junior State. A chapter presidents suggested the idea to the SoCal JSA’s Debate Department and they knew it was an important debate to have. Students from different schools in Southern California debated and discussed the effects of gentrification on urban communities. Over 130 high school students attended, and the post-convention feedback was overwhelmingly positive.

“We’re so thankful to everyone who participated in or otherwise contributed to the Spanish debate, and we look forward to continuing to hold them at future conventions!” says Patrick Aimone ’18, SoCal JSA Director of Debate.

To Ana Delgado ’17, Chapter President of Carpinteria High School, this debate had a personal meaning to her.
“Like many other students, English was not my first language. Growing up, I remember finding going back and forth between a Spanish-speaking household and an English-speaking school system difficult and confusing. I would occasionally speak Spanish to other Spanish-speaking peers, and being a part of a predominantly Hispanic school district, I didn’t see a problem with this. That is, until I was yelled at by a substitute teacher for translating English instructions to a student who only spoke Spanish. Being told “the classroom has no room for Spanish” and “we speak English here” left me scared. I stopped speaking Spanish in both the classroom and home. Since then, I have realized there is nothing wrong with embracing my two languages, and today I am proudly bilingual. When SoCal JSA held their first-ever Spanish debate– the whole thing was in Spanish! During the debate I felt empowered and reassured that Spanish does not disturb the learning environment. It isn’t a “handicap”. This Spanish debate opened a new window in which students, like myself, could express themselves. I look forward to more Spanish debates for the conventions to come.”

 

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Resolved, that the legal voting age in all American elections be lowered to sixteen

Resolved, that the legal voting age in all American elections be lowered to sixteen

Link for reporting chapter debate results:HERE

November Debate of the Month: Resolved, that the legal voting age in all American elections be lowered to sixteen

Brief: The 26th amendment, ratified as part of the Constitution in 1971, lowered the legal voting age of all U.S. citizens to eighteen years of age. At the time, the public saw a grave injustice in the fact that many of the thousands of young men who were dying for America in Vietnam were not even legally old enough to vote in their county’s elections. In the present day, some have begun a new movement to once again lower America’s voting age, this time to sixteen. Some localities like Takoma Park, Maryland have already lowered the voting age to sixteen for all local elections, and many states allow for seventeen year olds to vote in state and presidential primaries. With recent elections highlighting dramatic political apathy among America’s youth, our nation must ask itself if lowering the voting age will generate fresh enthusiasm among young people towards civic engagement, or will it simply increase the size of America’s large number of young eligible voters who never make it to the polls?

Pro Arguments:

  • Preventing sixteen and seventeen year olds from expressing their views inside the ballot box ignores the reality that millions of teenagers are just as politically informed as the rest of the voting population.

  • There are a plethora of issues, from education to climate change to the national debt, that will especially affect America’s future generations but are currently being ignored by politicians who have no incentive to address the concerns of the youth.

  • Our government trust sixteen year olds enough to allow them to drive 2 ton vehicles at many miles per hour. If these citizens are capable of doing something so complicated and dangerous as driving, surely they’re capable enough to know which candidates reflect their political beliefs.

Con Arguments:

  • Although many teenagers may be informed about political issues, the vast majority of them aren’t and couldn’t care less about them. It would be irresponsible for America to hand the reigns of power to such a politically apathetic demographic.

  • Most sixteen and seventeen year olds have not even finished high school, let alone taken a class in civics or government. We need to ensure our country’s voters have at least progressed to adulthood before we can assume they are capable of making informed decisions of such importance.

  • The American young people who are currently eligible to vote have some of the lowest turnout rates of any group in our democracy. Lowering the voting age even further will not address the issues of young voter apathy, it will merely extend it to millions of more teenagers.

For more background on the ratification of the 26th Amendment click here. For more information on where the voting age has already been lowered in the U.S. click here. For more information about the youth vote in the United States click here. For more arguments in favor of this resolution click here. For more arguments against this resolution click here.

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Resolved, that all Presidential candidates on enough state ballots to win a majority vote in the Electoral College be included in the Presidential Debates

Resolved, that all Presidential candidates on enough state ballots to win a majority vote in the Electoral College be included in the Presidential Debates

Link for reporting chapter debate results:HERE

October Debate of the Month: Resolved, that all Presidential candidates on enough state ballots to win a majority vote in the Electoral College be included in the Presidential Debates.

Brief: During the current Presidential Election we have seen the American public’s opinion of the two major-party candidates reach historic lows, while the support for alternative choices has never been higher. This leads many to question why the nationally-televised debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates do not include any of the presidential candidates besides Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The Commission states that third-party candidates like Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, despite being on enough state ballots to be elected President, do not meet their minimum requirements for public support and therefore are not invited unless they reach 15 percent support among the voters in a series of respected Presidential preference polls. But considering most Americans would like to see third-party candidates included, is it time for the Commission to lax its rules and add the extra podiums, or do the current third-party candidates not receive enough support to justify their inclusion in these potentially election-deciding debates?

Pro Arguments:

  • It is extremely unlikely that any third-party candidate could reach the Commission’s current polling threshold, because in order to get that level of support candidates would need to get their message out during a major televised event like a Presidential Debate where they could speak to tens of millions of voters who may not know who they are otherwise.

  • Both Jill Stein and Gary Johnson are on enough state ballots to be elected President of the United States via the Electoral College, therefore the Commission should allow the American people to hear from all the possibilities and not set an arbitrary threshold based on polling, which can often misrepresent the will of the voters.

  • The two-party system does not represent the broad spectrum of Americans’ political views, and considering both the current major-party candidates’ unpopularity, adding more points of view to the debates would better reflect the true ideological diversity of our democracy.

Con Arguments:

  • The Commission’s requirement that candidates reach 15 percent in 5 well-respected presidential preference polls is a totally acceptable qualifier because there is no possibility a candidate with less support could win the election.

  • The two current third-party candidates that this resolution would include, Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, do not deserve to participate in the Presidential Debates because they are not remotely qualified candidates for the office, especially considering the former has a warrant out for her arrest and the later doesn’t even know what Aleppo is.

  • Two more candidates on the stage would be a distraction from the two candidates who could actually win the election, thus wasting the time of the American voters who want to hear from the person who will be their next President.

For information regarding the Commission on Presidential Debate’s requirements for candidates to be included click here. To see the two major candidates’ aggregated support in national polls since June click here. For an analysis of how significantly the Presidential Debates affect the election click here. For Governor Gary Johnson’s Presidential campaign website click here. For Dr. Jill Stein’s Presidential campaign website click here.

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Fall State Pricing Guide

Pricing package details for all Fall State conventions are listed below.  Note that these prices apply only to chapters that register online using MyJSA. The paper registration fee is an additional $10 per student.  There is also a late fee of $15 per person for chapters that do not complete their registration by the registration deadline.

Fall State Pricing Package Details 2017

CONVENTIONEARLY REGISTRATION PRICESREGULAR REGISTRATION PRICES
Southern California
(Los Angeles)
Oct. 28 - 29, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Sept. 26

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $125.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $125.00
Southeast
Fort Lauderdale Marriott North
Oct. 28 - 29, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 16

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120.00
Northern California
Santa Clara Marriott
Nov. 11 - 12, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 13

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $120.00
Ohio River Valley
Sheraton Columbus
Nov. 11 - 12, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 30

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Pacific Northwest
Doubletree Seattle Hotel Airport
Nov. 11 - 12, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 3

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $200.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 30

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $225.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100.00
Mid-Atlantic
Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel
Nov. 18 - 19, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 10

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $200.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $220.00
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $225.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $220.00
Southern California
(Orange County)
Nov. 18 - 19, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 17

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $125.00
Standard Registration Period: Oct. 31

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $185.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $125.00
Texas
Sheraton Austin Hotel
Nov. 18 - 19, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 25

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $165.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $215.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160.00
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 6

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $200.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $250.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160.00
Midwest
Madison Concourse Hotel
Dec. 2 - 3, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 24

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $150.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $215.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $220.00
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $240.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $100.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $220.00
Arizona
Tucson Marriott University Park
Dec. 9 - 10, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Nov. 13

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $165.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 20

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $175.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $110.00
Northeast
Boston Park Plaza Hotel
Dec. 9 - 10, 2017
Early Bird Registration Period: Oct. 31

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $165.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $210.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $320.00
Standard Registration Period: Nov. 7

Student Package 1 - Registration Fee: $200.00
Student Package 2 - Registration Fee: $250.00

Teacher Package 1 - Shared Room: No Charge
Teacher Package 2 - Private Room: $160.00
Teacher Package 3 - Private Room: $320.00


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