Democratic Debate Analysis

This is a very brief summary of my notes from the Democratic primary debate on Tuesday, 10/13.   The analysis and conclusion of these notes is only an examination of the quality of their debating technique and is not an analysis of the content of their response.

There was 113 total responses to questions/comments, 7 of which were responding to stupid questions (4 of 7 of these went to Clinton).*

Chafee actually answered 7 of 10 questions (70%)
Webb actually answered 9 of 14 questions (64.3%)
O’Malley actually answered 15 of 21 questions (71.4%)
Clinton actually answered 19 of 35 questions (54.3%)
Sanders actually answered 27 of 33 questions (81.8%)

Only 2 ad hominem comments, both made towards republicans.

Four appeals to emotion — 3 by Webb and 1 by O’Malley

Webb bitched 3 times about not receiving an equitable amount of time and even though he did not receive the least amount of attention, he squandered the most of amount of (relative) time rambling off topic (inclusive of bitching).

The topic was changed 38 times and Clinton had the highest quantity of changes (15).

Clinton managed to insult herself in the subtext of one response, Webb does not seem to have a grasp of American History and twice O’Malley actually responded with something akin to ‘yeah, what Bernie said’.

The winner:

I created a scoring system that was calculated as follows: total comments, minus non-answered questions, minus responses with topic changes, minus affirmatively answered questions with an informal fallacy and then minus responses to stupid questions. Rendering a percentile that represents the percent of well answered responses.

Starting with the loser:

Webb: 9.2%

Hillary: 24.8%

Chaffee: 35%

O’Malley: 61.2%

And the winner: Bernie Sanders at 64.5%

*Stupid question: any question that asks a candidate to speak directly about themselves in a question that they can be easily answered with a simple “yes”. Like, for example, “will you do better than Obama?” Or, “is your economic plan better than Obama?” In essence, questions where they can basically answer by saying “yes…” and then proceed to ramble on campaigns talking points, regardless if they have anything to do with the question at-hand. Stephen Colbert would call these question, “big fat meatballs that they can hit out of the park” (Colbert interviewing Donald Trump, 2015)

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