5. Talk politics with everyone.
People say they are sick of it, not the case. Here is the most important lesson from Dale Carnegie’s book, the best conversationalist or most interesting people ask thoughtful questions and listen. The key here is that they do not talk the most! Start being genuinely curious about why people believe what they believe. Even if you are completely underconfident in your beliefs you don’t have to say everything you believe, use the opportunity to listen and learn. One of the easiest actionable tips is to employ the four-second rule. This means when someone else is speaking you wait four seconds after they get done speaking before you speak. They will usually keep talking adding more info and triggering the self-disclosure loop.
The self-disclosure loop is a phenomenon discovered by psychologists. They determined that gathering information as well as sharing information actually triggers the reward system of our brains. Yep, strangers randomly telling you their life story filled with TMI topics is due to the brain’s reward system. The more you tell, the more you want to tell. With a little patience and natural curiosity, you can learn so much about what people believe and why. Eventually, someone will shock you and throw out that they voted for Trump but would have gone Bernie. Not likely, but not impossible.
4. Read! Competence breeds confidence.
The only reason this is four instead of five is that to prevent complete procrastination on item five. Never let perfect get in the way of good. Often times our belief that we always need more information before acting is our most limiting. If you have the time, do the research! While it is extremely important to not just pull ideas and figures from thin air the greater value is self-confidence. With confidence in our beliefs, we are far less likely to lose control of our emotions when having a political conversation. Plus, when was the last time you ever believed someone who was filled with self-doubt and acted defensive. Remember though the more you study and know the greater your awareness must be of the fact that others are not researching. When confidence is replaced by acting condescending it becomes negative to the cause.
3. Openly admit the flaws of your party/side.
Look when two voters are talking they are not the politicians voting and enacting exact legislation. The average person has no idea all the different actions their candidate or party of choice has taken. Triggering their ego over every little flaw and hypocrisy will end the conversation immediately. All the while they are thinking in their head, “They think we’re bad when they don’t even have an answer for X, Y, and Z, they can’t even see what’s right in front of them.” The most disarming comment in a political conversation is to bash your own side, people will relax and open up without fear of backlash. Typically when you admit the faults of your side they will do the same.
2. Trade social media action for real action.
We will continue to write in-depth on the damaging impacts of social media, but for a political movement or campaign, supporters are better off hopping offline. First let’s just go ahead and face the music, posting politically charged articles on Facebook and ‘owning’ conservatives in the comments is actually a politically losing tactic. Spending 100’s of hours a year posting on social media is going to guarantee 5-300 people will never be open-minded to your candidate. Then consider having 1-5 casual conversations a year, in the worst-case scenario one of them changes to your candidate.
1. Run for office.
While the AOC scenario immediately comes to mind, there is a real possibility here. There are rural districts all over the country where Republicans run uncontested. There are even more seats where incumbent corporate Democrats are the only candidates who have run for the seat in 5+ years. We don’t have to win them all, but we are forfeiting hundreds of opportunities to get the message out. Even a failed campaign gets some amount of media coverage and awareness. And who knows, you could be the next AOC.