Last modified on 2 August 2010, at 17:08

Policy Debate/Disadvantages

Disadvantages are the bread and butter of negative strategy. As opposed to arguments about the "case", they are normally described as "off-case" arguments and are expected to be flowed on separate pieces of paper from the sheets used to flow the 1AC. Almost self-evidently, disadvantages represent the opposite of the affirmative advantages. They present possible undesirable effects of the plan action, usually effects that are somewhat distinct from the plan advantages. In theory, disadvantages and case turns are hard to distinguish, but in practice they diverge. Normally, disadvantages are more complex arguments, frequently presenting several instances of cause and effect. By virtue of presenting the argument on separate sheets of paper, the negative also stresses the importance of the argument and forces its discussion in an isolated and contained manner.

A disadvantage is usually composed of several basic components.

The first is the uniqueness, in which a debater states that the disadvantage is not occurring under the status quo. This is usually the most recent piece of evidence in the DA. Alternatively, the debator may choose to run what is called an "internal link." Internal links are those where a plank from the affirmative plan is used as both the link and the uniqueness. For example, if plank 1 of the affirmative plan advocates using the Supreme Court to overturn inherency, then the internal link of the disadvantage can be that the Supreme Court is used, and thus the affirmative must allot for the impacts described in the disad shell.

The next is the link which states that the AFF plan causes the DA if it is passed.

Third is the internal link which connects the first link to the impacts. This is not always necessary.

Finally, the impacts are run. These are the so what of the DA. This is what the judge is supposed to vote on in the round.

A good strategy in running a DA is to ask the judge to envision that he is a policymaker in the real world. Make him think that he is the President of the US and must decide to pass the legislation(plan) or not. Say that the impacts happen if passed, and that nothing is bad with the Status Quo.