CX designed to undermine your opponent’s case is a lot like CX designed to support your case, with two key differences: you don’t know what your opponent is running ahead of time, and the questions aren’t written beforehand (usually). Judging from these differences, you may think that you’re doomed to wait until you hear your opponent’s case and then pray you come up with something intelligent to ask… let me discourage this thinking. While you can have strokes of brilliance in the moment, just thinking a bit about the resolution can give an idea of what you might want to ask.
Much like I can’t tell you what questions to ask to support your debate cases specifically, I can’t know what your opponents are going to run. However, I can give you the keys (learned over the course of several years) to attacking your opponent’s case in CX.
You have an inherent advantage when writing questions to build up your own case: you know exactly what you’re running in said case. This means that, with proper guidance, you can know exactly what to ask. While I can’t tell you which questions to write for your specific case, I can give you some principles which will hopefully make those questions much easier to formulate. Before I do, though, let me tell you what not to do.
I hope you found the last installment (purposes of cross-examination) helpful! Of course, understanding what you should aim to accomplish in CX is crucial to actually being effective in your rounds — but head knowledge means nothing unless you can actually implement it. The first question of implementation is this: how should you conduct yourself in cross-ex?
What if we spoke less and listened more? It seems like a silly question to ask in the context of competitive speech and debate, but fortunately for us, in debate it includes a built-in Q&A segment after each constructive speech. Debate is often thought of in terms of argument, counterargument, counter-counterargument, and so on — and it is therefore easy to overlook those three minutes of Q&A after each constructive. However, those six (for LD) or twelve (for TP) minutes may be more important than any speech in the round…