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ARGUMENT STRATEGY

How do you win arguments? How do you deal with attacks from rivals? How do you protect yourself from criticism?

Refuting Attacks

Don't ignore attacks from rivals. If you don't deal with criticism, people will start to believe your rival's claims. Early in the 1988 U.S. presidential campaign, Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis held a 51 to 34 percent lead over Republican rival George Bush. Bush launched a no-holds-barred campaign claiming Dukakis was soft on criminals. Dukakis naïvely ignored the attacks and watched while his lead disappeared. The failure to rebut turned out to be a fatal error. Dukakis thought rebuttal and counterrebuttal would lead to increasingly negative ads and turn off voters. In this sense, he was probably right.


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