It’s the holiday season. That means too much food, shopping, family and the not-so-fun political arguments with your conservative uncle. How do you convince your uncle that President Obama isn’t a horrible President – hell bent on destroying the fabric of America? How do you explain abortion to him from your point of view? What about the Syrian refugee crisis? There’s not a single issue the two of you agree on, right?
Here’s my advice to winning arguments with your mother’s brother wearing the “Make America Great Again” hat – DON’T. Don’t argue with your uncle. It’s not worth it. Instead, talk to your cousins.
Research suggests that it is hard to change a person’s mind once they settle on their beliefs. That’s why you can’t convince your uncle that you’re right – so why try?
That’s why progressives should stop arguing (myself included) with folks who aren’t going to see things our way and start having conversations with people more likely to see things our way but are not yet politically active.
A study released last year reported that Millennials are the most progressive of any age group. Yet, voter turnout, especially in off-year elections, is still too low. In 2014, a year before marriage equality became law of the land, voter turnout was a dismal 21.3% among this age group.
So, when your uncle asks you about Hillary’s emails, ignore him and ask your cousin about student loan debt. When your uncle challenges you to explain socialism and Bernie Sanders, ask your cousins if they think that marijuana should be legalized or at least decriminalized. Finally, engage your cousins in a conversation about voting and why young people can set the agenda if they only turnout. That’s how you’ll ultimately win the argument with your uncle.