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169 votes
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How can I respond to Whataboutism?

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 ...
user4012's user avatar
  • 92.8k
109 votes

Why don't Presidential debates disable the candidates' microphones while it's not their turn to speak?

Just a theory: previous Presidential debates were conducted with greater civility, and that civility functioned as a sort of automatic inner software mute switch that was already installed (via ...
agc's user avatar
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94 votes
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Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

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 ...
John's user avatar
  • 4,899
82 votes

Why dodge a question about your party's position (e.g. Kamala Harris on "packing the court" during VP debate) instead of saying it's undecided?

First off, Mike Pence was not the moderator. Rule number one in a political debate is not to let ones opponent take the offensive, and even more importantly, to not let ones opponent take on the role ...
David Hammen's user avatar
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64 votes
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Why don't Presidential debates disable the candidates' microphones while it's not their turn to speak?

The debate rules are agreed by the candidates. If a candidate won't consent to giving the moderator an off-switch for his microphone, then it won't happen.
user3153372's user avatar
  • 1,970
60 votes
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Why is Ian Blackford allowed to speak in the Commons while having crossed the line?

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 ...
Dan Scally's user avatar
  • 5,825
60 votes
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In the UK parliament, how much of Prime Minister's Questions is pre-planned?

Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) is in theory no different from the usual departmental ministers' questions, with the key difference being that instead of the questions being known ahead of time, a &...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 108k
57 votes

Are "keep your powder dry" or "Stand back and standby" arguably examples of "dog whistles"?

The metaphor of a 'dog whistle' refers to literal dog whistles: whistles that produce tones too high for humans to hear, but which are perfectly audible to dogs and generally excite those dogs to bark ...
Ted Wrigley's user avatar
  • 71.6k
49 votes

Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

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 ...
Frank Cedeno's user avatar
  • 3,964
44 votes

Why are Democratic presidential candidates promising free health care for Illegal Immigrants?

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 ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
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43 votes

In parliamentary systems, why does the ruling party bother debating any legislation if they have enough votes to pass whatever they please?

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 ...
SJuan76's user avatar
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39 votes

How can I respond to Whataboutism?

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 ...
Brythan's user avatar
  • 89.9k
37 votes

How can I respond to Whataboutism?

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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 77.9k
37 votes

Why don't Presidential debates disable the candidates' microphones while it's not their turn to speak?

People don't want to see a series of speeches, because yawn. They want debate. They want the cut and thrust, and that means interjections and interruptions. They want to see the politicians being ...
James K's user avatar
  • 123k
36 votes
Accepted

Why it is considered offensive that Trump referred to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as AOC in the last presidential debate?

Because it is not always appropriate to use someone's nickname when referring to them and I don't think it is a stretch to say a presidential debate is not a place for nicknames. There is also the ...
Joe W's user avatar
  • 17.5k
33 votes

Since when do political debates have a winner?

Since always. Wikipedia list winners for the first modern presidential debates between Kennedy and Nixon in the 1960s. Many observers have regarded Kennedy's win over Nixon in the first debate as a ...
Jontia's user avatar
  • 24.8k
25 votes

Why do politicians refuse to answer hypothetical questions?

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 ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 21.1k
23 votes

Besides the Philippines do any countries have bilingual presidential debates requiring two (or more) languages to know what the candidates are saying?

Prior to the invasion of Crimea, this was common in Ukraine. In this 2009 video from the debates between Yushchenko and Yanukovych, you can see them switching freely between Russian and Ukrainian. ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
  • 51.2k
22 votes

Are "keep your powder dry" or "Stand back and standby" arguably examples of "dog whistles"?

The term "dog whistle" in politics is not clearly defined, so pretty much any interpretation is "arguable". According to the Wikipedia article, the term originated in political ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 21.1k
21 votes

Besides the Philippines do any countries have bilingual presidential debates requiring two (or more) languages to know what the candidates are saying?

Kenya has presidential debates where a mix of English and Kiswahili is used - see for example the second presidential debate in 2013. Candidates generally prefer to speak English but do slip into ...
CDJB's user avatar
  • 108k
20 votes

Why are Democratic presidential candidates promising free health care for Illegal Immigrants?

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 ...
divibisan's user avatar
  • 26k
20 votes

Are "keep your powder dry" or "Stand back and standby" arguably examples of "dog whistles"?

It wasn't a dog whistle, it was merely a flubbed attempt to say 'stand down' as Chris Wallace was attempting to get him to say. In interviews following the debate, Trump said, I don't know who they ...
BlackThorn's user avatar
20 votes

Since when do political debates have a winner?

The idea of a public debate between two big ideas goes way back. Consider the 1860 Oxford evolution debate. A number of people spoke, but the big guns were evolution supporter Thomas "Darwin's ...
Paul Johnson's user avatar
  • 21.1k
19 votes

Why is Ian Blackford allowed to speak in the Commons while having crossed the line?

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 ...
Duke Bouvier's user avatar
  • 1,354
18 votes

Why are there no polls of Tom Steyer yet?

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. ...
Bryan Krause's user avatar
  • 3,939
17 votes

In parliamentary systems, why does the ruling party bother debating any legislation if they have enough votes to pass whatever they please?

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 ...
Philipp's user avatar
  • 77.9k
17 votes

Why dodge a question about your party's position (e.g. Kamala Harris on "packing the court" during VP debate) instead of saying it's undecided?

It is (sadly) one of the more prevalent tactics in politics to provide others as few attack angles on you as possible, which manifests itself in a number of patterns, one of which is displayed here: ...
AuronTLG's user avatar
  • 6,079
16 votes
Accepted

How Are Moderators for US Presidential Debates Chosen?

There is an organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates that exists purely to work out details of the debates. They negotiate with the candidates and the networks. The moderators ...
Brythan's user avatar
  • 89.9k
16 votes

Why was the Workers Party of Britain not invited to the BBC Election Debate?

Although not particularly prominent, there have been some statements and publications on this topic: In this blog post by Jonathan Munro, the Deputy CEO of BBC News & Director of Journalism the ...
origimbo's user avatar
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