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The White House Wants to Hold a Mock-Climate Debate. That Makes It Even More Important for the DNC to Host a Real One.

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Then-candidate Donald Trump, pictured at a 2016 campaign rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on October 10th, 2016.

If you spend an absurd amount of time on the Internet, as I do, every once in a while, you’ll see some right-wing pundit attempting one of their most consistent gambits: A prominent figure on the right—someone like Ben Shapiro, say—will insist that a Democrat, leftist, or someone else who disagrees with their views, debate them.

To a political outsider, or to someone who hasn’t spent an inordinate amount of time following the discourse around the discourse, a debate between two people who have opposing views might seem relatively innocuous, even educational. But for the person opposing the right-winger, the debate is often lost as soon as it is proposed. If they refuse, then the right gets to boast that the invited party was too intimidated by the right’s superior intellect. If they accept, and aren’t thoroughly prepared, the right-winger will likely lie, derail the conversation, and warp their opponent’s points so much that they can sometimes win by default. As Miles Klee wrote for Mel Magazine, “‘Debate me,’ then, isn’t the prelude to a debate—it is the debate, over before it began, a lose-lose dilemma for the person targeted.”

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