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142

Note: this is a pretty long answer; and the specific points regarding whataboutism are at the last section, so you may want to skip there first if that's all you care about. How can a level-headed political discussion be had with someone who uses Whataboutism extensively? Ultimately, by not having a level-headed political discussion. OK, this wording was ...


88

The vast majority of the time, a politician's negatives come from what they have said, not what they haven't said. A politician can refuse to answer questions a thousand times without it hurting their career. Anything a politician does say, even if it is reasonable, can be taken out of context, treated as an incorrect response when it is a fine response, ...


61

Is there any reason be it written or traditional that would permit Mr Blackford to stand across the line or is it simply permitted because nobody objects? There is a rule is that members cannot speak from the Aisle, which is delimited by the two red lines, and so presumably it's allowed simply because nobody is objecting. However, Blackford's intent here is ...


47

Not answering hypothetical questions is basic politics. There is nothing to gain in answering them. If you are running for political office (or even getting a promotion in your job) you should realize that any interview is about expressing your own agenda. Often your agenda is at odds with the interviewer's agenda. There are several techniques that a ...


43

Without contradicting the already existing answers(specially about making each party position and reasons known to the public), I would point that: Not all parliaments are bipartisan. Different parties can align differently for different laws. Even parties within a coalition government can vote separately on some issues1. As dsollen comments, in some ...


43

Skeptical answer One could give a skeptic's answer for any form of this question in the context of a political campaign: presumably the candidates feel this answer will be more likely to get them nominated by their party in their campaign for President of the United States. However, although this position is not made explicit, it is consistent with the ...


35

If Donald Trump's racism is brought up and How can a level-headed political discussion be had are fundamentally incompatible. Whether Donald Trump is a racist is irrelevant to anything that could be considered a "level-headed political discussion". This is especially true if one of you supports Trump's policies and the other doesn't. Level-headed ...


23

To make this less emotional, let's fictionalize the situation. There is an election in your country where Bob Bobson and Alice Alison run for president. You don't like Alice Alison, because she strangles kittens every day. You make this argument to an Alice Alison supporter: "Alison would be a bad president because she is cruel to animals". Now there are ...


20

Political interviews are adversarial situations: the interviewer doesn't want their program to be just a boring a political advert, so they try to add drama by asking hard questions in the hope of catching the politician out. Politicians learn how to play this game out of self defence. The hypothetical question is move by the interviewer in this game. It ...


20

From the transcript of the second night of the debate, we can see that both Biden and Buttigieg addressed this question. I'm not aware of any public statements from other candidates on this issue, but my suspicion is that they would likely agree with these points: BUTTIGIEG: Because our country is healthier when everybody is healthier. And remember, we’re ...


18

As he is not carrying a sword it is less of a concern I suppose: "Traditions in the Chamber: MPs are not allowed to speak in the space between two red lines running along the length of the Chamber. It has been claimed these lines are traditionally two swords’ lengths apart to prevent MPs duelling although there is no evidence to support this." (...


17

Because the rules of parliamentary procedure often guarantee that all factions in the parliament must have the opportunity to comment on a law before it is being voted on. For the UK House of Commons in particular, the rules for debates are codified in the Standing Orders of the House of Commons order 26 - 37. The opposition will usually use that ...


16

If you look at the date ranges on those "most recent polls" (at the time this question was asked) you will find that they almost all started before July 9th. The Hill/Harris X poll started July 12th. It includes Steyer (0%, rounded). The Economist/YouGov poll started July 14th. It includes Steyer (1%). The premise that Steyer is not included in polls that ...


14

I think the answers are unfairly dismissive of the person asking "what about". If you are trying to establish that I am racist and I say "yeah? what about david duke?" then you might say my response is irrelevant and unhelpful to the discussion. In a case of ranked comparisons such as an election, we can easily see how the response would be relevant. Saying "...


14

First off, the word "free" that was originally in the question is a complete misnomer at best (at worst it would be putting words in their mouths). Nothing is free. Most universal coverage schemes are paid for at least partially through some kind of income or payroll tax, which every employee/employer pays (even if the workers in question are not citizens or ...


10

I've had decent success with teaching the logic fallacies people hold onto. It can be tough though, repeating fallacious talking points is easier that applying logic to an argument. Whataboutism is essentially a technique of using the tu quoque logic fallacy, or an appeal to hypocrisy, to avoid engaging with the criticism. To defeat the logic fallacy, first ...


9

Certainly, the "whataboutism" depends on the context. It can be used to deflect and avoid directly dealing with issues, or it can be a question about whether the person raising the issue is legitimately raising the issue, or is suddenly "finding Jesus" now that their favored candidate is no longer in office. Example - Obama is accused of taking too many ...


9

From the Rules of the Senate: (a) When a Senator desires to speak, he shall rise and address the Presiding Officer, and shall not proceed until he is recognized, and the Presiding Officer shall recognize the Senator who shall first address him. No Senator shall interrupt another Senator in debate without his consent, and to obtain such consent he ...


8

The role of the moderator in a debate is to ensure that the debate flows smoothly and that it is conducted in a decent manner. Some of this role requires intervention (for example, a warning to stop speaking over an opponent wouldn't go amiss), but too much would interrupt the flow of the debate. It's pretty similar in nature to refereeing/umpiring in some ...


8

According to Michel Foucault, calling someone insane is a classical example for ordering discourses by excluding opinions that are perceived too far outside the present rational discourse options, but which are not directly forbidden (like denial of Holocaust in many countries). A society limits the things they discuss about. You would not even discuss ...


8

Legislation is sometimes passed with little or no debate either in an emergency or for uncontroversial technical corrections to the law. There are reasons for the ruling party to want a full debate in parliament: Individual members (of all parties) want to have the opportunity to speak in parliament. Making a good performance in parliament can boost their ...


8

There are a few reasons why. The first would be that a hypothetical question usually deals with just that, an imaginary situation. Where real life deals with nuance, complexities and multi-variate factors, a hypothetical question is usually unrealistically black and white. Answering a question about something that would not happen, at least in the way it is ...


8

There is another answer which should be more convincing to the right wing. It's cheaper. If you need to track who's eligible for treatment, deal with co-pays, and all the other paperwork associated with US healthcare, the administration involved is significant. So significant in fact that 30% of the cost of treatment is the cost of administration. The UK ...


7

Without debate the public may be susceptible to opposition messaging on the issue. With debate politicians can go on public record with the reasons why they support such legislation, and perhaps innoculate their constituents to such messaging. Even if it is possible to pass laws in secret (or as you say, without debate), it probably isn't a good idea because ...


7

"How can a level-headed political discussion be had with someone who uses Whataboutism extensively?" First, ask yourself seriously "What is my goal in this conversation?". If it's to 'win' the discussion or change the other person's mind, or even to make them stop 'whatabouting' you may be on a fool's errand. There is, however, another goal you can almost ...


6

Elizabeth Warren was accused of being violating Senate Rule XIX. No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator. This was what she said that was in violation and she was warned by the Senate's presiding officer, Steve ...


6

There are four distinct reasons someone wants to shut down a speaking event: Any sort of social event of a certain political bent is, net net, a win for that political side. I have discussed this in a separate answer about the purpose of gay pride parades, there are tangible political benefits - from like minded people having an event. Whether it is a show ...


6

Real Clear Politics is only listing thirteen of the twenty odd major candidates in their interface. Presumably this is because they lack the horizontal room on the page to show more. This leaves off eight of the candidates who made it to the first debate. If you look down further, the graph shows twenty candidates and Tom Steyer is included there (he ...


5

The context here is that people like Richard Spencer are not allowed to speak at all universities. The reason some do not want them to speak is that they may be a (physical) threat to a certain part of the population, specifically to Black people, Jews, etc. While the speakers may or may not be violent themselves, Nazis and other far-right speakers attract ...


5

I voted in the last election, but I did not vote for Hillary Clinton. I live in a pretty liberal area, so that made for an entertaining conversation starter where I'm from on multiple occasions. It gets even more interesting when I add that I didn't vote for Donald Trump either; I left the presidential ballot blank (meaning I only did downballot votes). This ...


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