Donald Trump recently accused U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel of bias in a case involving civil fraud lawsuits against Trump University. Trump attempted to argue this perceived bias by stating, “He’s a Mexican.”
Trump’s rationale for this argument stems from his intentions to build a wall along the Mexico/United States border if he is elected president. His reasoning, then, was that Judge Curiel would take offense to Trump’s plan, and in retaliation levy harsher action against Trump in the Trump University lawsuits.
Trump’s argument is a classic case of appealing to emotions rather than facts and reason. Judge Curiel was born in Indiana, thus rendering Trump’s “Mexican” statement factually inaccurate. If Trump wanted to prove judicial bias he would need to offer some evidence of bias, other than ancestry.
An argument is only as strong as the facts upon which it is based. Don’t be distracted by statements like Trump’s, designed to illicit a knee-jerk reaction while disregarding the truth of the situation.
You can combat debate tactics designed to appeal to emotions over facts by cutting through fallacious statements and trigger words. The Joy of Argument can help. Learning how to craft a strong argument is the first step in being able to quickly recognize and disarm a weak one. Whether you’re a professional who uses argument every day, or an everyday person just trying to navigate a plethora of opinions, this book is your guide to getting more of what you want and less of what you don’t.