Structurally speaking, a debate has five main parts:

1. Summary

2. Position

3. Arguments

4. Rebuttals

5. Conclusion

Photo by on

Most debates also have rules about their resources. These serve to act as constraints. They are:

  • Time
  • Votes

The purpose of the discussion is to come to a decision about a complex issue or topic. This is important because once you reach a conclusion, you’re free to take action.

So the debate is really a decision process tool.

Let me break down the five main parts.

1. Summary

The summary is like an opening statement or thesis. …


Photo by on

Here is the secret to political success. It is only three things and this is what it takes. And here they are.

  1. Clarify your issue
  2. Build a coalition and
  3. Appeal to a higher authority

That’s it.

You can pick any issue at the local level, school board level, county, state or federal level. And if you do these three things and do them well, you will have success. But what do most people do when they want to see political change?

They write a manifesto. They take to the streets, they shoot innocent people, they call for impeaching the president…


Tackling Wicked Problems (Simplified)

The purpose of a debate is to arrive at a decision. The point of arriving at a decision is to review options. And the reason for reviewing options is to attain clarity around the problem or issue that you’re trying to resolve. Essentially, a decision is like a vote.

The reason that you engage in debate is to explore options, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. So when you debate, you are evaluating multiple options in order to determine what the best course of action is. You could do this in your head. …


Photo by on

Over the weekend, on the car radio I heard parts of the Global Citizen conference in New York City and some of the speakers talked about the importance of citizen engagement, of changing the world, of coming together with like minds and really being a powerful influence and force on society, politicians and their communities.

They urged everybody to go out and be empowered. They said they should register and vote. The crowd loved it. Why wouldn’t they? It feels good.

Global Citizen says, “Just vote.”

Yesterday I got my sample ballot in the mail.

I usually get it about…


Photo by on

Technology offers more ways than ever for Americans to interact with their government, yet the turnout for the 2014 midterm elections was the lowest in 72 years. Even though citizens can read bills online, email their legislators and follow politicians on Twitter, many opt out of the political process.

But apathy isn’t an option for forward-thinking CEOs. While the business mantra is “the customer is always right,” the addendum today is, “the government is always right there.” As such it is second only to your consumer base in its ability to affect the economic value of your business. That’s why…


It isn’t as though people don’t want to vote, it’s just that they don’t want to make a decision.

“person holding a register early to vote sign” by on

Think

Making decisions is hard because you always think in the back of your mind, did I make the right decision or were there other options open that I should have taken, other paths I should have chosen?

Politicians keep trying to get more people to vote and they tell them, “Get out there and vote.” Yet the turnout in midterm elections and even the general is generally lower than what we would hope for. So, is voting really hard? Is…


Photo by on

The millennials generation is notoriously disillusioned about government, and who could blame them? They came of age with the terror attacks of 9/11, watched the U.S. go to war, and just as they ventured into the job market, along came the Great Recession.

But another hallmark of the millennials generation — the gamification of almost everything — could be the key to drawing them into political decisions that will shape their future. They’re learning that life isn’t all fun and games. …


Photo by on

We should get money out of politics. Everyone says it is corrosive and corrupts.

But ask any candidate who lost his last campaign if he could have used more money and I think he’ll say yes.

The problem is not too much money. The problem is narrowly focused sources of money. Narrow money doesn’t work. In plain English, narrowly focused funding sources empower special interests.

In one sense, we don’t like special interests because we are not part of the group. But if we were, we would ignore our own hypocrisy and cheer for our 1st Amendment rights.

There’s probably…


US Capitol Dome Under Constuction 2015

“I hate politics. I don’t understand Congress. And I have no idea about who to vote for in the election.” That’s what I used to say until the political gene turned on in my late 30's.

For me, politics was boring and nobody cared. Congress was just a bunch of guys in Washington and they were going to do whatever they wanted to anyway. Besides, it didn’t affect me.

So my position was I’d just vote for the candidate who seemed like a rock star and had the best curb appeal. …


Photo by on

Many of us are frustrated and annoyed by the hypocrisy and infighting in Washington. We are constantly reminded that elections have consequences and November is our time to act at the ballot box.

All of this is true but I know many of us remain antsy. So can we do more?
If you think things are dysfunctional at the federal level, you should try the state and local city councils. I think you’ll find the same.

When we are told we should get together with our friends and neighbors to pursue issues that we have in common and voice our…

John Thibault

Founder, CEO iLobby & Author How to Change a Law, SWAY and The Political Game. Change policy and see around corners.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store