I know people have been parsing this election up and down, trying to explain what happened, from both sides of the aisle. This is a debate explanation: In any public policy discussion, there is an affirmative and a negative side. The affirmative proposes a plan to fix problems in the status quo. The negative defends the current state of affair, saying things aren’t so bad, and there’s a way to fix them that’s less drastic than the affirmative plan. The catch is that many debaters on affirmative want to spend their whole time talking about the problems in the status quo, and don’t give enough energy to making a plan and defending it. I learned from my coaches that if the affirmative team doesn’t make a good case for changing the status quo, and the negative does a halfway reasonable job of defending themselves, the negative team should win.
That’s what happened on Tuesday. Kerry and Edwards were the affirmative team, pointing out problems in the status quo, and proposing themselves as the solution. They lost, because they concentrated too much on the harms, and didn’t persuade people that their plan would really make things any better. The negative team, Bush-Cheney, did a good job of saying things aren’t so bad, and if you stick with us we’ll keep improving them. You can’t win a challenge to the status quo by only criticizing problems – you’ve got to have a good solution, too.
That said, must get back to studying. Halfway through blood, and a ton of leukemias to memorize. Plus, I have to review biochem for a tutoring session this evening. And, yesterday the dean talked to us about Step 1, and succeeded in scaring us all thoroughly. Which was quite necessary. I came home and made out a study schedule from now till June – at least, I started a schedule. And it calls for me to spend at least half of Saturdays reviewing old material. Which means I need to get a lot more efficient at learning new material. . .