1. BE DISCERNING OF THE BATTLES YOU CHOOSE
As someone passionate about what I believe, this doesn’t come easy to me at all. At the slightest sound of disrespect of America or Ted Cruz slander, I’m on offense. But as much as it may pain you not to correct a hyperbolically stupid or delusional comment, sometimes you’re just better off counting to ten and thinking about golden retrievers and CPAC. Not everyone is smart enough or reasonable enough to argue with, and most arguments aren’t worth your time. Some people can be presented with fact after fact and think that “jet fuel can’t melt steal beams” is substantive debate.
2. THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
Is what you’re about to say constructive? Is it adding anything to the discussion? Or are you being unnecessarily crude or personal because you’ve allowed your emotions to get the best of you?
3. REMEMBER THAT LOGIC AND FACTS ARE ON YOUR SIDE
One of the main reasons I was forced to reevaluate my views when I was a liberal was realizing that they were based on emotional rhetoric, not reality. The more research I did, the more I understood that the right was right. And while it’s important to be able to think (and argue) emotionally, it’s much easier to maintain control of a conversation that avoids “what ifs” and hypotheticals about disabled illegal immigrant single mothers laid off from their corporate jobs that need the minimum wage raised to $30/hr to support their army veteran cousin and the five kids she adopted.
4. KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE
The objective of a political argument isn’t to make the other person feel stupid (but let’s not kid ourselves, that’s always an added bonus) it’s to honestly share ideas and reach conclusions about their advantages and disadvantages. You’re advocating for your ideology, not auditioning for SNL or a generic reality TV show about young people with daddy issues and bad tempers. Think big picture. Admittedly, this is an uphill battle for me.
6. DON’T STOOP TO THEIR LEVEL
If there’s anything my time in politics has taught me, it’s that there are crazies on both sides of every coin. Stupidity, neurosis and bigotry are exclusive to neither ideology by a long shot. But one need look no further than Caitlyn Jenner to understand the hypocrisy and double standards rampant throughout Tolerant Left™ that are especially unsettling given the moral high ground they like to claim. Jenner has openly admitted that she has been the subject of more ridicule because of her political beliefs than her transition. From personal experience, I can tell you that liberals get their nastiest when they feel they are entitled to your vote. Whether you’re black, an immigrant, a woman, LGBTQ+ or whatever other community they’ve decided is “marginalized,” they have more contempt for you than any other Republican. I’ve been called every racial slur in the book by these people, and I’m admittedly biased. It’s important to take a step back from your personal experiences and not allow that to cloud your judgment and say things you can’t take back.
7. CALL THEM OUT
When someone is treating you maliciously, call them out. Don’t be a pansy about it, but don’t twiddle your thumbs and look at the sky while someone defames you. If they’re attacking you as opposed to your ideas, you need to redirect the conversation. You need to make them acknowledge what they’re doing and that it’s wrong. Establish what you will and won’t tolerate.
8. STAND YOUR GROUND
One of my biggest grievances with the conservative movement is how fast we are to issue an apology. If you’ve done something wrong, you should obviously take responsibility for it and say that you’re sorry, but just because the other party is offended doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. While I understand his reasoning, a perfect example is when Ted Cruz apologized to Ben Carson over the Iowa mixup, when in reality neither he nor his campaign had actually done anything wrong. Contrast that with Trump, who is actually probably wrong more than he isn’t, and never apologizes for everything. How has that worked for him? Obviously, there’s something to be learned from that strategy.
9. KNOW WHEN TO END THE CONVERSATION
If your argument is going in circles, save your blood pressure, do yourself a favor and get off the merry go round.