The votes are in.
We’re debating the issues that matter to you this election season, and the results are in. Should we regulate the energy industry to reduce climate change? How did we end up with candidate Trump? And who won the first presidential debate? These are just the first of our topics this season, when we bring you the serious policy discussions we’ve been missing this year.
And though our live audiences have cast their votes, there's still plenty of time to cast yours. New this season, we're letting you vote twice just like the live audience. Visit our website to make an account, cast your pre-debate vote, and once you have watched or listened to the debate, let us know if you changed your mind. The more you watch, vote, and join the discussion, the higher your IQ2 score will rise.
You can listen to the podcasts on iTunes or on our website, as well as through the IQ2US mobile app on iOS or Android. You can watch videos of the debates on our website or the mobile app, or on your own TV through our new Apple TV or Roku app.
Our season began in Washington, D.C. on September 7 as we debated the motion: Climate Change: The EPA Has Gone Overboard. Is the Clean Power Plan a sensible use of government authority to reduce carbon emissions, and is it even constitutional?
"This is not small potatoes. It’s also not a silver bullet." That was former Sierra Club executive director Carl Pope discussing the impact the CPP would have both environmentally on global warming and economically on the energy industry. His opponent Charles McConnell of Rice University disagreed, claiming that at just an estimated 0.2% reduction in global carbon emissions, the new EPA regulations are not worth the cost to the coal industry.
Harvard's Jody Freeman made a plea for incremental progress, dismissing the notion that the Clean Power Plan is worthless because it alone cannot prevent global warming. And Michael Nasi of Jackson Walker LLP made the legal argument, claiming the EPA is infringing on states' rights.
We returned to New York on September 13 to ask the question we've all been asking this election season: how did we get here? To find an answer, four conservative journalists debated the motion: Blame the Elites for the Trump Phenomenon: Timothy Carney and Ben Domenech arguing for and Jennifer Rubin and Bret Stephens arguing against.
So just who are the elite? Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal made the bold choice to accuse the IQ2US audience itself, arguing that our New York audience could not be to blame for the choices of voters across the country. His partner Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post took particular issue with the "racism, antisemitism, and misogyny" sometimes exhibited by Trump supporters.
Their opponents took a different approach. The Washington Examiner's Timothy Carney called out Washington cronyism, where elites put their own interests ahead of those of the voters, paving the way for popular revolt. Ben Domenech of the Federalist, meanwhile, laid the blame with the media elite and their demonization of former Republican candidates, warning, "If you cry wolf long enough, sometimes the beast actually shows up."
Who Is To Blame For Donald Trump?
Are 'Elites' to Blame for the Rise of Donald Trump?
Media, political elites faulted for enabling Trump’s rise
Are Elites to Blame for Trump’s Political Success? Yes, According to a New York Debate Audience
How do you tell who wins a presidential debate? There is no motion to argue for or against, no time for policy nuance or depth, and very often no scientific basis at all behind the polls that purport to declare a winner. In such a situation, can you really distinguish between a vote for the winner of a particular debate and a vote for the candidate in general?
That’s why we decided to bring our Oxford-style debate voting to the presidential debate. An intimate group of enthusiastic debate supporters gathered together at the Film Society at Lincoln Center to watch the debate, and to vote twice: a pre-debate vote of which candidate they thought would win the debate, and whether they changed their minds.
Opening remarks were provided by our panelists: moderator John Donvan, and political power couple John Avlon (editor-in-chief of the Daily Beast) and Margaret Hoover (CNN political contributor). The bipartisan panel gave us insights into what to look out for, the role of a presidential debate moderator, and a favorite quote to sum of the evening: "Just because you are a character doesn't mean you have character."
So, who won the first presidential debate according to Intelligence Squared? Click below to find out the results. And just like with any of our debates, you can visit our website to cast your pre-debate vote, watch the whole debate, and cast another vote at the end. Make your vote count.