If I say it enough times – it must be true…

As I watched both the US Presidential and the Canadian party leaders debate for the upcoming elections I was wondering how Donald Trump and Steven Harper were able to frustrate their opponents. I have always been fascinated by debate, argument and the use of logic to persuade others, after all I am a professional speaker and train others to speak publicly.

Here is my list of dirty tricks used so well by both Trump and Harper not only in debate, but also to drive their respective campaigns. Both are shrewd and very intelligent men and take advantage by using these tactics.

10 Dirty Debating Tricks

  1. Attack the person’s character and ignore their argument or position.
  2. Misrepresent or exaggerate the other person’s argument in order to make it easier to attack them.
  3. Use only carefully selected numbers which are only part of the total to represent the all.
  4. Argue your position by assuming your premise is true.
  5. Claim that because something occurred before, it must now be the root cause.
  6. Reduce the argument down to only two possibilities.
  7. Argue that because of our ignorance, a claim must be true or false.
  8. Lay the burden of proof onto the person that is questioning your claim.
  9. Assume – ‘this follows that’ – when there is no logical connection.
  10. Argue that because a premise is popular, it must be true.

Trump has had the advantage in the US Republican debates – his brash outlandish statements appear to be off the cuff – I suggest they are not, but very calculated and powerful.

Steven Harper uses advertising to position, and destroy his opponents’ arguments using the 10 dirty tricks. I miss authentic debate on ideas and platforms.