Chapter 3

The First Affirmative Constructive


Is the 1AC speech difficult?

In many ways, the First Affirmative Constructive (1AC) speech is the easiest one in the debate. As the Affirmative team, you get to define the specific issues that will be discussed — that’s an advantage that the Negative team lacks. More importantly, you can map out the 1AC speech in detail before the debate even begins. All other speeches in the round will be improvised on the spot; the 1AC should be well polished and easily delivered.


How does the resolution affect the content of the 1AC speech?

We will assume that you’ve done a lot of background reading on the topic, and have started accumulating evidence. You can’t expect to write a case without knowing the issues of the topic.

Look at the resolution. Resolutions can be divided between process resolutions (sometimes called means resolutions) and result resolutions (sometimes called effects or ends resolutions). Process topics require that the Affirmative team support a particular plan, although the exact details are left to be fleshed out. Resolutions that call for federal financing of all education, or for structural changes in the jury system, or for increased employment opportunities for the poor, are all process resolutions. Note that although these topics tell the Affirmative in general terms what must be accomplished, they still allow a great deal of freedom in selecting the mechanisms involved.

Result resolutions specify the goal desired, rather than the means to accomplish that goal. Such proposals may call for programs to guarantee retirement security for the elderly, or to increase political stability in Latin America, or to improve medical care for U.S. citizens. The exact mechanism is completely left to the discretion of the Affirmative — only the result matters.

Your first concern in developing the 1AC speech is to discuss with your partner just what the resolution requires you to do. Lately, many resolutions have been result, rather than process, topics, but either type can occur.


How do I begin writing a First Affirmative Constructive?

We will first discuss a case structure known as the Traditional Needs case. As the name implies, this format has been around for a while — since the mid-1930s. It puts primary focus on where the Affirmative is strongest: the need stock issue.

Decide, with your partner, what harms under the topic are the most important. Develop a structure of harms. Let us suppose, for example, that this year’s topic requires the Affirmative to provide a program to guarantee employment for all U.S. citizens now in poverty. You might consider all of the many problems associated with poverty: homelessness, malnutrition, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, poor education, and even suicide.

Structure the major harms into an outline form:

1. Poverty breeds significant harms in American society.


A. Poverty implies inadequate shelter.


B. Poverty leads to malnutrition and starvation.


C. Poverty leads to psychological harms.



1. Substance abuse.



2. Mental illness



3. Domestic violence.



4. Suicide.

The main point, "Poverty breeds...," is called your first contention, since it is a claim that the Affirmative contends to be true. It is supported by three subpoints, and the last of these three is supported by four subpoints of its own.

Next, we must add supporting evidence. You will need at least six pieces of evidence to prove this harm contention. Points A and B each need one quotation; each of the four points under C needs evidence as well. Taken as a whole, each of the A/B/C subpoints proves your main argument, so you don’t need direct evidence under contention 1 itself.

The next step is to develop an inherency contention: locate the causes of the harms, and show how the harms are direct outcomes of current laws and policies. What causes poverty? Lack of jobs, for a start. But what about people who have low productivity, and thus are earning low wages? Such people often have large families, so that their tiny paychecks can’t stretch far enough. And what about federal programs to relieve poverty? They function, but they don’t reach all the poor, and they don’t usually give enough money to end poverty. The inherency contention might put this all together.

2. Poverty is ingrained in the status quo.


A. Millions of people are poor.



1. The unemployed live in poverty.



2. Those working for low wages are often poor.


B. Government poverty-relief programs have failed.



1. Rules exclude many of the working poor.



2. Benefits are inadequate.

This is a sketchy analysis, but the kernel of an inherency argument is there. Point A Establishes structural inherency: poverty exists because of economic conditions. Point B is gap inherency: solutions have been tried, but they fall short of working.

You should have also noted that the points and subpoints are all complete ideas — usually complete sentences — written in a compressed headline format. This is known as labeling the argument, and is a vital skill for the successful debater.


Does the plan come next?

It certainly does. The material you have so far proves a significant harm is rooted in the system. You’ve covered two of the three stock issues needed for a prima facie case. The last issue, solvency, deals with the effectiveness of the plan at combating the problem. But until you have a plan written, you cannot decide whether it will work or not.

Like the case arguments, the plan is structured into an outline form. Instead of contentions, the main points of a plan are traditionally called planks. Unlike the contentions, the plan never includes evidence. A little thought shows us why: evidence that the plan would work fits into the solvency part of debate; evidence that the plan would or would not have harmful side-effects would fit into the disadvantage arguments presented by the Negative; evidence that the plan is or isn’t needed fits into the harm and inherency points.

The plan is a series of commands that will be made into law. Within the limits of law, though, the Affirmative can do absolutely anything it likes in the plan. Anything. It doesn’t matter if the proposal is germane to the resolution or not. The Affirmative has the power of fiat (FEE-ott), the ability to "wish" their plan into existence; "fiat" is a Latin word meaning "let it be done!" Of course, if the Affirmative uses their fiat power to do foolish things, the Negative will certainly point out these disadvantages. Other than that, there are very few restrictions on fiat power (but see the section on solvency attacks in the Second Negative Constructive and the chapter on Topicality to learn what some of these limits are.)

There are six types of planks that most Affirmative plans have: mandates, administration, funding, enforcement, spikes, and intent. Not all plans will have each. Not all Affirmative teams will use these labels. But the terms are common enough that you should learn what they mean.

Mandates are the basic provisions of what the plan should accomplish. Every plan will have mandates. They are the reforms that the Affirmative team is proposing; they are the actions that will put the Affirmative resolution into effect. Often the mandates are very complex, with many subpoints and details.

Administration planks define who is to operate the Affirmative plan. Often, the Affirmative will want to set up a special federal office or governmental agency, and will offer an Administration plank to specify how many people will be elected or appointed, the length of their terms, and so forth. In many cases, the Affirmative is content to rely on a status quo agency; this plank could be omitted.

Enforcement provisions say what the penalty will be for violating any laws proposed by the Affirmative’s mandates; these planks may also specify what agencies will prosecute cases. In many cases, it’s sufficient to say "Enforcement will be by civil and criminal penalties."

Funding. Often funding is the most controversial plank of the plan. Not all plans need funding, but most need some source of money to put the mandates into effect. Funding planks are controversial because Negative teams will argue that any means the Affirmative uses to raise money is going to be counterproductive. Of course, Affirmatives are always free to spend money without raising funds elsewhere, thereby increasing the federal debt. But the hazards of such action are known widely, and Negatives will be prepared to crush any Affirmative that deficit-spends. So most Affirmative teams opt to offset their new spending plans with some form of revenue-raising.

The Affirmative is generally limited to three methods to finance their plan: (1) raising taxes, (2) redistributing money from current government programs, and (3) relying on gifts. Taxes are the most commonly used approach — you can choose to raise the rate on an existing tax, or concoct some new system of taxation. You may also choose to cut back on one or more existing governmental programs, and funnel the savings into your plan. Gifts are unreliable as sources of steady income, but two methods have been successfully defended by debaters in the past: rewarding corporations and businesses with tax incentives to contribute money, and instituting a national lottery system (technically, a gift, since nobody is obliged to participate).

You need not stick to only one method. You can use any or all of these to finance your plan. It is important that you have available an estimate of the cost of your plan, and an estimate of the money raised — Negatives and the judge will certainly be interested in that information.

Spikes. Spikes are plan components which serve to avoid a disadvantage that the rest of the plan would otherwise cause. They are parts of the plan that do not implement the resolution directly, but rather make the rest of the plan function better. While you cannot claim an advantage from a plan spike, it can prevent you from losing the debate to a persistent Negative team. For example, a plan to provide free food for the hungry might lead to dramatic inflation; a plan spike to counter this might impose wage and price controls on the U.S. economy. Instead of merely proving that the Affirmative plan would be inflationary, the Negative would also have to prove that the price controls would be ineffective or undesirable; the Affirmative, of course, would have evidence on hand to show that price controls are just great.

Plan spikes are seldom labeled as such — usually they are hidden in the plank with mandates. If you’re debating Negative, watch out for parts of the plan which seem to have no real function; it may be a spike trying to protect a vulnerable part of the plan. If you’re on the Affirmative, and you consistently lose to a particular disadvantage, consider adding a spike to offset the disadvantage.

Intent. "The Affirmative team reserves the right to establish legislative intent based on speeches presented in this round." That phrase, or a close variation of it, is now fairly standard as the final part of every plan.

When a legal case — especially a case testing the validity of a new law — is brought to trial, the judge will frequently consult the debate in congress to gain insight as to what any disputed words or phrases mean. The judge is seeking to interpret the phrases based on what the legislators intended them to mean.

The intent plank of the plan is designed to give the Affirmative team the right to interpret their plan as they see fit, if a dispute arises about the meaning of the provisions. It’s an attempt to discourage Negatives from twisting the Affirmative’s words to their own advantage. Usually, the intent plank makes no difference in the debate; Negatives find enough to attack in the plan without misinterpreting it.

Some judges reject the whole concept of Affirmative intent and require that the plan stand or fall on its own common-sense merits. And, in some cases, Affirmative teams have abused their intent, claiming that a particular clause means contradictory things depending on the attacks presented in a particular round. The best solution is to avoid an ambiguous plan: explain your proposal in clear language.


What does a finished plan look like?

Here’s an example, based on the harm and inherency contentions presented earlier:

Plank One: MANDATES. The U.S. Department of Labor, using minimal increases in staff, will oversee the following reforms.


SUBPOINT A: A national computer system for all available jobs will be instituted to link all state employment bureaus and work referral agencies.


SUBPOINT B: A comprehensive program of job training will be established to provide career skills to any adult citizen desiring to participate.


SUBPOINT C: The federal government will serve as employer of last resort for any citizen unable to find a job; wages will be sufficient to raise the employee above the poverty line.


SUBPOINT D: A program of income supplements to any employed person below the poverty line will provide sufficient money to raise his income to $1 above the poverty level. Supplements will be in the form of a monthly check.

Plank Two: FINANCE. Funding for the Affirmative plan will come from the following five sources:


SUBPOINT A: A five percent increase in the corporate income tax.


SUBPOINT B: Institution of a three-percent national sales tax on any luxury items, with any single item costing $500 or more subject to the tax.


SUBPOINT C: User fees will be imposed on any person enrolling in the federal training program if the enrollee’s income is 10% or more over the poverty level, with such fees equal to 1% of the enrollee’s gross annual income.


SUBPOINT D: All federal funds currently devoted to subsidizing the tobacco industry will be rechanneled into the Affirmative plan.


SUBPOINT E: Institution of a national lottery, with 50% of the proceeds used for prizes and the remainder devoted to lottery administration and the Affirmative plan.

Plank Three: ENFORCEMENT. Civil and criminal penalties will be imposed for fraud and misuse of funds, following normal statutory means.

Plank Four: INTENT. Affirmative speeches will serve as legislative history for this proposal.

As you can see, the mandates section can be quite complex. Note that there is no separate administration plank — it’s been merged with mandates, since the U.S. Department of Labor is handling the job. Plank 2/Point B defines what a "luxury tax" entails, which is more desirable than saying only "a luxury tax will be imposed" and assuming that the judge and Negative team know what you mean.


Does a plan have to be that complicated?

No. Recent trends in debate practice have tended to favor simplified plans in the form of a brief paragraph explaining what the Affirmative intends to do. In line with our example above, you would end up with something like:

PLAN: Establishment of a national job-listing database; comprehensive job training; federal role as employer of last resort; and income supplements for employed workers below the poverty line. Oversight by the U.S. Labor Department, with funding and enforcement through normal means. Affirmative speeches demonstrate legislative intent.

Much simpler and faster to read, right? But notice how much of the detail has been lost in the transition. The mandates have been streamlined. Funding, in particular, has been greatly altered — "normal means" in this instance suggests that the government will just spend money, and not worry about where it comes from. The hazard of the simplified plan is that it gives a license to the Negative team to reinterpret what might be intended by the plan’s wording. Sure, the Affirmative reserves the right to clarify what they intended, but there’s no guarantee that the judge will accept that clarification instead of the Negative’s interpretation. So there is a bit of a risk for Affirmative teams when they opt for discarding the details of the plan.

Indeed, some Affirmative teams go too far in simplifying their plans: they may say something like "The plan will enact Senate Bill 973," and leave the matter at that. Such an approach shows dubious ethics. The Negatives and the judge are entitled to know, on the face of it, exactly what the plan will do, and merely making a reference to a piece of legislation does not satisfy the Affirmatives’ obligation.


Can we do Solvency now?

Yes indeed, now that we have the plan. The solvency contention has the same structure as the harm and inherency contentions — but the purpose is to show that the specific actions taken in the plan will relieve the harms. You will need to find evidence from experts that the programs you propose will be effective. The solvency contention for the poverty case might look like this:

3. The Affirmative plan relieves the burdens of poverty.


A. Job training is the key to adequate income.


B. Computer-linked placement assures employment.


C. Adequate income relieves the harms of poverty.

It’s worth stressing again: solvency evidence is not the same as inherency evidence. For example, to support point 3C, you might need to produce evidence that alcoholism and drug addiction are put aside if an individual escapes from poverty; this would be difficult evidence to find. At the very least, you would need to show that, if fewer people were poor, fewer would take refuge in drugs and booze. This is not the same as inherency evidence, which shows that poverty now is leading to harms now.

Too often, Affirmative teams give scant attention to solvency — yet that stock issue is the key to winning debate rounds. It is necessary that the solvency evidence match the specific details of the plan to the specific harm arguments already given. If the Affirmative gets creative in inventing their plan, finding solvency evidence in support of the plan’s provisions will be a challenge. That’s why it’s often best for the plan to mimic a real-world proposal that has been discussed by political leaders and public-policy experts. If you use such a proposal as the model for your plan, the statements these experts have made in support of their proposal can become evidence for the solvency issue in your Affirmative case.


What if my plan can cure a number of different harms?

In these examples, we’ve shown only one set of harm/inherency/solvency contentions. But if you will have time in the speech, you may wish to propose other harms that the plan can solve. Every particle of harm that the Affirmative plan cures will make you that much more likely to win the debate.


Doesn’t the speech need some sort of introduction?

Yes, and the time to write that is now. The introduction to your speech is known as the Affirmative Philosophy. Make it short, interesting, and to the point. Don’t allow it to become debatable in itself. A few sentences to preview the harms your plan will solve will be sufficient. The last sentence of the introduction will be a formal statement of the resolution, word for word.


How do I know if I have met the terms of the resolution?

The Affirmative has the right to interpret the resolution in any reasonable way. Before you assemble the contentions you have developed into a 1AC speech, stop to ask yourself: is the meaning I’ve given to all the terms clear? Or are one or more terms of the resolution vague or ambiguous?

Perhaps the resolution says you must "guarantee" employment for all citizens. If one person refuses to work, does that mean the plan fails? The Negative may want to persuade the judge that "guarantee" means "require"; the Affirmative will want the judge to know that the word really means "provide access to." The safest way to do this is to find a definition for the term and incorporate it into the introduction of the speech, following the formal reading of the proposition.

It’s quite possible that all the terms in the resolution have a commonplace, everyday meaning, and you don’t feel that they need special definitions. That’s fine, too. Just say in the introduction that "all terms will be operationally defined" — in other words, the meaning of the words should be clear from the context in which they are used. These operational definitions are just as valid as formal definitions.


What does a completed introduction look like?

Here’s an example: "Many, perhaps most of the people in our society reap the benefits of the prosperous American economy. Yet all too often, those left behind by the economy suffer the most. The unemployed and the impoverished form an American underclass, a separate society ruled by death and drug addiction, by homelessness and hopelessness, by disease and despair. Because my partner and I feel that this agony in the midst of prosperity cannot be allowed to continue, we stand resolved that the federal government should implement a program to guarantee employment for all United States citizens living in poverty.

"One term in the resolution needs clarification, and that is the word ‘guarantee.’ Webster’s Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary defines the term to mean ‘to engage for the existence of.’ All other terms will be operationally defined in the context of the affirmative case and plan.

"The dimensions of the problem are best seen by turning to the first line of Affirmative analysis: CONTENTION ONE: POVERTY BREEDS SIGNIFICANT HARMS IN AMERICAN SOCIETY. We will explore three major justifications of this claim. The first of these is SUBPOINT A: POVERTY IMPLIES INADEQUATE SHELTER. Helena Thurgood, dean of the Crisis Exploration Center of Columbia University, writes in last summer’s edition of THE JOURNAL OF SOCIAL RESEARCH that, ‘No problem underscores the failure of the American economy as does homelessness. For over three million Americans below the poverty line, the daily choice is between a place to sleep at night and food to eat. It is not surprising that over eighty percent of the homeless population is below the federally defined poverty level.’ Dr. Thurgood’s testimony is straight to the point: poverty is directly responsible for homelessness..."

And so on. After the harm contention is presented, inherency will follow, followed by the plan, and finally the solvency contention.

Several factors are important to note. The outline form developed in writing the case is still retained. This technique, mentioned earlier, is called labeling. Each major point and subpoint has a letter or number, and each has a short headline attached to summarize the importance of the evidence.

The counterpart to labeling is signposting: telling the judge at all times where you are in your analysis, and forecasting what points are to come. This can be as simple as saying there will be three subpoints under contention one, as in this example.

Also note how evidence is used. After the point to be proven is introduced by label, the speaker gives the biographical information about the evidence to follow: author, credentials, and source and date. The text of the quotation follows. Finally, the speaker shows just what the evidence means. Together, the analysis and the evidence add up to proof.


How does the speech end?

Conclude with a simple summary of the issues, to show that a prima facie case has been presented. The conclusion should be similar in style to the introduction: concise and direct. Often, Affirmatives will also appeal for the judge’s decision. An example:

"The horrors of poverty and unemployment cannot be allowed to continue. But currently, the status quo is incapable of ending either of these blights on the economy. Because the resolution will alleviate the suffering of millions of people, we will ask for an Affirmative decision at the end of today’s debate."


Can you summarize the structure of the Traditional Needs case form?


Are there other forms for Affirmative cases?

Currently, the most popular form for an Affirmative case is the Comparative Advantage (C/A) format. The idea behind the structure is that, rather than claiming certain harms will be cured, the Affirmative claims that their plan will provide one or more significant advantages over the status quo. These advantages may be a savings of money, better treatment of individuals, or even the easing of harms like those found in the Needs case. One important point should be stressed: the burdens of the Affirmative do not change when their case structure changes. Only the organization and the terminology vary; the basic requirements do not.


How do I write a Comparative Advantage case?

You assemble the C/A case just as you would a Needs case. Identify harm and inherency issues, write a plan, and construct a solvency argument. Then research definitions, if necessary, and plan an introduction and conclusion.

When it comes time to assemble the material into a speech, then the unusual features come into play. The standard order of a Comparative Advantage speech is:

v...that the advantage is significant and desirable

v...that the present system is unable to obtain the advantage

v...that the Affirmative plan produces the advantage

The plan comes before the case analysis in a C/A case. In the Needs case, the plan interrupts the case, appearing just before the solvency contention. In the C/A structure, the entire plan is presented early in the round, and then all case arguments are presented together. This approach strikes most debaters as more orderly; certainly, it’s easier to take notes on this sort of case.

Each advantage — often there are two or more — must have certain points of substructure. These parallel the analysis of the Needs case exactly: harm, inherency, and solvency. So the analysis underlying the C/A case is exactly the same as for the Needs case.

Some of the terms will be different. The Needs case argues that there is a significant need or a significant harm in the present system; the C/A case says there is a significant advantage to be gained by change. The Needs case says the harm is inherent in the status quo; the C/A case says the advantage is unique to the Affirmative plan. The Needs case argues that the plan meets the need; the C/A case claims that the advantage accrues from the Affirmative plan. Generally, the terms are treated as interchangeable; you should be familiar with the variant terms, but you need not be a stickler for them.


How can a Needs case be restructured as a C/A case?

Let’s use our example case from earlier in this chapter. The basic analysis was in three contentions:

1. Poverty breeds significant harms in American society.

2. Poverty is ingrained in the status quo.

3. The Affirmative plan relieves the burdens of poverty.

In comparative advantage format, these points become subpoints under the main advantage, as follows:

1. The Affirmative plan relieves the burden of poverty.


A. Poverty causes significant suffering.


B. The status quo is unable to relieve poverty or its harms.


C. The Affirmative plan abates the agony of poverty.

Notice that, even though the wording is changed, the A-B-C subpoints introduce the stock issues of Harm, Inherency, and Solvency in exactly the same manner that our contentions 1, 2, and 3 did in the Needs case format. The same material — subpoints and evidence — would be used to support this framework case.


Can you have multiple advantages in a Comparative Advantages case?

Yes, just as you may have multiple harm/inherency/solvency arguments in the Needs case format. Often it works to your benefit. If every advantage is properly structured and evidenced, each one becomes an independent reason to adopt the resolution. So you can risk losing an entire advantage to a Negative attack, since your other advantages are still sufficient to carry the debate.


Tell me about other case structures.

Needs and Comparative advantage cases make up 90 percent or more of the cases you will ever see. There are a few other case forms that are sometimes used. As we noted before, the Affirmative still has to prove the same stock issues regardless of the case structure used.

In general, these variant case types are weaker than the more common formats, because they are harder to understand and have more pitfalls to trap the unwary Affirmative debater. Sometimes, Affirmatives will use a variant structure to confuse the Negative team. Too often, they end up confusing themselves and even the judge. Only experienced debaters should try these case structures, and then only after consulting with their coach.

The Modified Comparative Advantage case begins with the harm/inherency/ solvency analysis of the Needs case. Following the solvency contention, though, the Affirmative lists a number of extra benefits the plan will produce.
Because of time limits, these subsidiary advantages are rarely developed. Often, the Affirmative just lists them, without evidence, and asserts that the plan will produce these effects as desirable by-products. Astute Negatives will point out to the judge in 1NC that these advantages can have no influence on the debate because they have no stock issue support. The list might sound impressive ("Advantage six: Our plan bans nuclear war. Advantage seven: We give free food to the starving masses of Asia. Advantage eight: Violent crime in the U.S. is eliminated."). But without proof — evidence AND analysis — that the advantage is needed, it cannot have an influence on the decision. In debate terminology, the argument has no impact. Without inherency proof, there’s no reason to suppose that the status quo can’t get the advantage, if it really is worthwhile. Without solvency proof, there’s no reason to believe that the plan actually will produce the effect, anyway. Against a competent Negative team, the extra advantages will fall apart, leaving only a Needs case by 2AC.

The Criteria Case begins by identifying the components of an ideal, effective system. Such an argument, presented outside the usually stock issue analysis, is called an observation or overview. The Affirmative argues that a good program will increase some specific factors and decrease others; these factors are the criteria. Next, the plan is presented. Finally, the Affirmative argues (using C/A structure) that they maximize the good factors and minimize the bad ones.
In practical effect, the observation on the criteria is really part of the need stock issue. The Affirmative is arguing that decreasing some factors or increasing others would be advantageous. They must have evidence that these factors are really important if they expect to win.

Under the resolution dealing with employment for the poor, the Affirmative might present an argument that a good program for social welfare would (A) maximize employment and self-reliance, (B) relieve poverty, and (C) have only a small cost to the government. The first advantage would be (1) the Affirmative plan best maximizes employment, the second (2) hat the plan relieves poverty, and so on.

The Goals Case seems similar to the Criteria case. The structure again begins with an observation, this one showing the goal or a desired result of the present system. Note that this must be a definite goal of the status quo, not a suggested goal that might be desirable. Next, the Affirmative presents their plan, and then the advantage that the plan better meets the goal of the status quo.
Most judges believe that a goal by itself is not enough to win the need stock issue. It’s not sufficient for the Affirmative to say merely that their plan will better reach a certain target; they must also prove that the goal is desirable. We often adopt goals that are unimportant or even bad. For example, it may be true that the current auto industry has the goal of producing and selling more cars each year, and that an Affirmative plan will guarantee greater sales. Unless the Affirmative also shows that this goal is a good one, they are in grave danger. The Negative might show, instead, that producing more cars is a terrible thing to do — it leads to pollution, to greater consumer debt, etc. — and so the fact that the Affirmative plan is more efficient at reaching this goal means that the plan is WORSE than the status quo. It would be very hard for the Affirmative to recover from such a turnaround argument.
The solution is to break down the analysis of the advantage into four steps instead of three:

Advantage One: The Affirmative plan better meets the goal.


A. The status quo falls short of the goal.
B. Failure to meet the goal is harmful.
C. The status quo in inherently unable to meet the goal.
D. The Affirmative plan better meets the goal.

Together, points A and B add up to a convincing need issue. Omit point B, though, and the Affirmative team might as well admit defeat.

The No Need case structure is a dubious approach, at best. It usually looks a like a Comparative Advantage case. But the main "harm" analysis says that there’s really no reason to keep the status quo — it’s outlived its usefulness — so we should try something different and hope for some better results. Usually, Negatives can present lots of reasons why we should keep the present system.

The Delayed Inherency case is one of the few approaches WORSE than No Need. The Affirmative builds their case on a Traditional Need or Comparative Advantage structure. The major change is in the inherency point: there isn’t one. Often, there will be only existential inherency presented ("There’s a clear problem, so something must be causing it.")
Affirmatives use Delayed Inherency in order to swamp the Negative team and the judge with harm and solvency arguments in 1AC. The second speaker will then "discover" solid inherency arguments in time to present them for 2AC, knowing the Second Negative probably will not have time to argue against the new inherency positions.
This scheme rarely works. First Negative will tell the judge that the Affirmative fails to meet their prima facie burdens without inherency in the first speech. He will argue that the Affirmative must lose the debate even if they bring up inherency in 2AC. The Second Negative will spend a few seconds on inherency at the start of his speech, allowing the First Negative to smash the 2AC arguments in the rebuttal that follows. The judge will almost certainly give a Negative decision.

The Alternative Justification case presents two or more complete cases and plans in a C/A format. By using this structure, the Affirmative tries to balance the Negative’s power to drop unsuccessful arguments. The idea is that the Affirmative claims the right to drop an entire plan and its matching advantages later in the debate — together with any disadvantages the Negative has found in that plan.
Two flaws hurt the A/J case. All plans and advantages must be introduced in the eight minutes of 1AC, so the arguments are going to be sketchy and propped up by weak evidence. Secondly, many judges (especially in states such as Michigan, where a conservative style of debate is preferred) don’t accept the notion that Affirmatives can drop entire plans; this alone virtually guarantees an Affirmative loss.


Introduction to Policy Debate
Copyright © 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002 John R. Prager
All rights reserved.
Permission is not granted to reproduce this document in whole or in part, in any medium.