There are plenty of benefits of being the Negative team. One of these benefits is that you have a lot less to prove. The other benefit is that you don’t necessarily have to take a fierce stand on anything until the Affirmative team has.
When the Affirmative team proposes their plan, they are taking a stand and saying their plan is the best way to solve the problem they talked about.
Many times, these plans have to set up a delicate balance between doing enough and not going too far. For example, for a case to require term limits for Supreme Court Justices, the Affirmative team must decide on a term length (they usually propose 18 years). But part of the problem they talk about comes from average terms being too long, and 18 years is still pretty long. So how long exactly is too long, and what is too short?
See, when the Affirmative team stakes out at 18 years, they have to prove to you that 18 is better than 17 or 19 years. What makes 19 years too long, while 17 is too short?
You can use this as leverage in Cross-Examination and get some interesting admissions that could lead to good arguments for your side.
If you want to run an argument that short judicial terms results in greater public influence and thus the SCOTUS becomes another whim of the public, you could ask this in CX.
You: You’re setting terms for 18 years. Why 18 years, instead of 9?
Opponent: [Something about 9 being too short]
You: Why is it too short? What problem can arise from judicial terms being too short?
Now your opponent has to explain the disadvantage to going too short. In your speech, you can take that disadvantage and apply it to their case, saying they are already going too short with 18 years.
This trick is essentially getting the Affirmative team to impact your argument for you, which is very effective.
Any case that only goes halfway, or does a reform that is anywhere in a range of possibilities rather than a black and white change, can be attacked with this method. A case to change the number of justices, or to reduce the effectiveness of plea bargaining (but not abolish it) would also fall under this category.
While this doesn’t work for every case, keep your eyes open for opportunities to use it.