The Lost Art of Political Persuasion

 

Persuasion used to matter in politics. A good politician was someone with the inclination — and the skill — to convince people who weren’t among his supporters to endorse his preferred policy or legislation.

There are many ways to accomplish this. Lyndon Johnson operated at the retail level, so to speak. Johnson was a master at twisting arms in the Senate, and cajoling members on both sides of the aisle into forming a coalition to pass whatever legislation he wanted. In contrast, Ronald Reagan worked wholesale. He had a genius for convincing millions of voters he was right and — through them — convincing his political opponents that supporting the president’s policies was the best way to keep their jobs.

But in the last decade or so, persuasion in politics has become like cursive writing in high school; it’s a lost art.
Bush Tried, Obama Doesn’t Bother
George W. Bush, for example, genuinely wanted to convince people he was right about Iraq. But he had absolutely no talent for persuasion; nor, alas, did he have the sense to bring anyone who did have a talent for persuasion into his administration. After two terms in the White House, the total number of Americans who changed their minds in favor of the Iraq War was, roughly, zero.

President Obama is on-track to match that sorry record. He exudes contempt for anyone who disagrees with him about the war, Obamacare, or about any other issue; when he speaks, it’s obvious from his choice of words and body language that he doesn’t think it’s worth his valuable time to try and convince people who are just too stupid to understand.

It’s getting worse. Can you name even one of the likely presidential contenders who has displayed the inclination — let alone the skill — to convince people to actually change their minds about an issue? Neither can I.

In politics, the alternative to persuasion is playing to the base. You identify your natural supporters — libertarians, social conservatives, labor unions, soccer moms, Tea Party activists, or whomever — and then you throw as much raw meat at them as you can. You tell them whatever they want to hear, precisely as they want to hear it. You don’t worry that voters who aren’t part of your base won’t understand what you’re talking about, or may be offended by the words you use to make your points; in fact, offending other voters is one of the best ways to convince the base that you’re their guy or gal.

It’s obvious why playing to the base is so attractive to ambitious politicians: it draws the media’s attention, and that helps raise lot of money, fast. But there’s a third reason that isn’t so obvious, and that lies at the core of why so many of today’s politicians don’t even bother to reach out beyond their natural supporters: it’s easy.

When you play the base, you just stand at the podium and let fly. If you have even an ounce of political juice in your veins, you don’t have to struggle to find the right words, or the right slogans. They come naturally; after all, you’re talking to people who already agree with you about everything. It’s like having supper with friends who share your own political views. You can just relax and speak in a kind of shorthand, confident that everyone at the table “gets it.”

Persuasion, on the other hand, is hard. Convincing people to change their minds often requires that you appeal to their intellect rather than their emotions. You actually have to make your case, and you have to make it in a way that your audience will grasp and consider worth pondering. And because so many of the people you’re trying to convince don’t share your ideology, you must choose words and facts that will overcome their doubts and suspicions, and thus help close the gap between you. And you must do this in a way that broadens support for your policies without losing your original base. Persuasion takes a lot of effort, and it’s often a trial-and-error sort of process; a sense of humor helps.
It’s Partly Our Fault
In fairness to our politicians, it may be harder now than ever before to convince people to change their minds. It’s human nature to prefer validation than challenge. And with today’s technology, each of us can choose whatever political bubble suits us best, then live in that bubble without ever stepping outside. We can read only those websites that reflect our own political views, listen to only those radio talk show hosts whose politics we like, and we can watch whatever television news network suits our own ideology. We cannot chose our relatives, but we can choose our friends; for most of us that means carefully choosing friends whose political views match our own.

And because we now live in our own political bubbles, we are falling out of the habit of having our views challenged; of being told that we are wrong about an issue and need to rethink it. And the less often our views are challenged, the less comfortable we become with changing our minds, and the harder it becomes to do it.

Admitting you’ve been wrong has gone from being an admirable quality of character to being an indicator of personal weakness. It’s uncool. When’s the last time you heard a talking head on Fox News, CNN, or MSNBC say something like this to another talking head: Gee, that’s an interesting point you’ve just made. I hadn’t realized that or thought about it in quite that way. I’d like to change my position on this issue. Surely not often; maybe never.

Losing the art of persuasion in politics is worse than sad: it’s dangerous. It means that American politics will become rougher, nastier, and more like a civil war without guns — at least for a while. It means the political differences among us will become sharper, the divisions among us deeper, and the gaps that separate us even wider than they are now. It means the United States that we bequeath to our children will be less a country than a collection of irreconcilable factions who history has trapped into sharing the same piece of geography.

If you want a glimpse of what that might be like, just look at Iraq.

Image Credit: Shutterstock user Ellagrin.

Members have made 54 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Manny Member

    It is partly our (our being the entire nation) fault. We are all locked into our own camps and vision and understanding of the news. I don’t necessarily find it a bad thing. But there is very little room for comprimise. Yes Bush tried with Social Security reform and no one wanted to listen.

    • #1
    • September 23, 2014 at 5:30 am
  2. Profile photo of Bryan G. Stephens Reagan

    I am more than happy to admit when I am wrong. I have even done it here.

    However, I will never say “gee you have a point” when what the other side does is call me racist or sexist.

    • #2
    • September 23, 2014 at 6:06 am
  3. Profile photo of liberal jim Inactive

    Mr Meyer I am impressed by your Bio, thank you for your service. I don’t understand how you can equate what LBJ did, bribe, threaten, etc.. law makers ( you use more polite terms) to vote the way he wanted, with what Reagan did which was to CONVINCE the American people of the merits of his arguments, who then pressure law makers. It seems to me the LBJ style is alive and well. For decades Republicans have been “persuaded” to constantly vote for more and more spending and larger and larger government. GWB could not convince Gen. Zinni, who he chose as Special Envoy to the middle-east, the merits of his position on Iraq. This might give one pause to consider the possibility he was not right on Iraq and the American people sensed it. I do agree however, when it comes to being a communicator he is not in the same league with Reagan.

    • #3
    • September 23, 2014 at 6:07 am
  4. Profile photo of Pelayo Member

    One subtlety you may be missing is that Persuasion is getting harder in our country because the ideological divide has grown. I don’t think the Republican party has changed very much since Ronald Reagan was President, but the Democrat party has moved further left without a doubt. Furthermore, Americans were less multi-cultural and had more in common 30 years ago. We (both political parties) were mostly Christian, loved our country and had a stronger sense of propriety. Now, when I look at the Democrat party I see that Secular values rule the day, we have a President who openly dislikes our nation’s past and being ashamed of one’s behavior is rare.

    Persuading people who have drifted so far from where Conservative Republicans are is a tall order.

    • #4
    • September 23, 2014 at 6:35 am
  5. Profile photo of Larry3435 Member

    Like!

    • #5
    • September 23, 2014 at 7:06 am
  6. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Perhaps it’s due to the large body of empirical evidence that direct persuasion doesn’t really work. The number of people who are receptive to changing their minds on any given issue after hearing rational arguments is a tiny, tiny, miniscule minority. Effective persuasion is a long-term, largely sublime, process, involving being bombarded incessantly by memes which reinforce the desired outcome, from a variety of sources. Obama doesn’t need to be persuasive, because he has a massive and wealthy army of meme-mongers generating streams of supporting propaganda on his behalf and suppressing any and all memes which are contrary to his aims.

    Cynical? Sure. I feel no shame being cynical. As far as I’m concerned, cynicism is about seeing the world as it is rather than how one wishes it to be.

    Persuasion isn’t about making a fine argument. The best argument can be destroyed by a concerted and dedicated campaign against it. Persuasion is about organization and discipline of a movement’s adherents, not about the skills of any one leader.

    Supporting Documents:

    The Myth of the Rational Voter by Bryan Caplan:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Myth-Rational-Voter-Democracies/dp/0691138737

    Street Fight – Documentary about Cory Booker’s failed 2002 bid to become mayor of Newark:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07mqY5Cxl9c

    • #6
    • September 23, 2014 at 7:09 am
  7. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    It’s also important to not be discouraged if your arguments seem to fall on deaf ears. When I was an undergrad, a progressive professor had persuaded me that one world government, what he called “global law and order,” was the way to world peace. My father responded to my support for this idea by saying that if there was one global nation, where could people escape to when necessary? He asked me if that made sense to me and I said “no.” I was too attached to the idea that government is there to liberate people, and why would anyone need to escape a benevolent progressive utopia? I’m older now and can see that my father was plainly correct, but it took years for that seed to germinate. If you speak the truth, probably the large majority of those that disagree will never be moved by it, but if a few people are moved, they may move other people as well. They may even move people you wouldn’t have been able to reach. So, be patient and persistant.

    • #7
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:01 am
  8. Profile photo of David Carroll Member

    It is easier to be persuaded if you come to the discussion without a fixed opinion. I rarely have an open mind in political discussions, because after years of studying an issue or class of issues (e.g., benefits of free trade), it is unlikely that a single argument, or arguer, will be able supply the necessary facts that change my fully formed pre-existing opinion. I do not think I am alone in this.

    On the other hand, there are issues as to which I have not yet formed my opinion and I am looking for facts and sound reasoning, e.g., what if anything we should do about ISIS. As a listener, I start out with principles (peace is t be preferred over war, I don’t like people trying to kill me, etc.)

    I agree that I will never be persuaded by someone calling me a name (e.g., denier, racist, fascist).

    • #8
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:33 am
  9. Profile photo of Jamie Lockett Reagan

    My only quibble with this piece would be about the Iraq war. A large number of people changed their minds about the Iraq war – in the opposite direction from Mr. Bush’s intention.

    • #9
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:43 am
  10. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    Duplicate

    • #10
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:48 am
  11. Profile photo of Fricosis Guy Coolidge

    Fricosis Guy:

    Misthiocracy:Perhaps it’s due to the large body of empirical evidence that direct persuasion doesn’t really work. The number of people who are receptive to changing their minds on any given issue after hearing rational arguments is a tiny, tiny, miniscule minority. Effective persuasion is a long-term, largely sublime, process, involving being bombarded incessantly by memes which reinforce the desired outcome, from a variety of sources. Obama doesn’t need to be persuasive, because he has a massive and wealthy army of meme-mongers generating streams of supporting propaganda on his behalf and suppressing any and all memes which are contrary to his aims.

    I’m not sure that you have to be cynical about this approach. Obama and his choir tend to stay on message and any changes in the lyrics are merely tactical: they always come back to the refrain.

    By contrast, the Bush 43 administration rhetorical strategy was all over the map. Let’s set aside Bush’s issues as a speaker and look at how key issues were handled:

    • The case for Afghanistan made itself.
    • The case for Iraq was well-coordinated, but the public message leaned heavily on the weakest element of the case: WMD. When WMD weren’t everywhere, the administration’s credibility collapsed.
    • The predicate for Social Security reform had not been laid in 2004 — Bush campaigned first and foremost as a successful War President – so the emphasis on the issue was a surprise and he had no mandate for it.
    • Finally, did Bush or McCain make the public case for the surge? Perhaps it’s my faulty memory, but I seem to recall McCain as the one who drove home the argument to the media and the nation, not Bush.
    • #11
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:49 am
  12. Profile photo of No Caesar Thatcher

    It all depends on whom you are trying to persuade. The Left wants to persuade more of their side to stop gawking at TMZ long enough to vote. They do this by attacking/making-fun-of the Right. Those in the middle who view themselves as independent thinkers, when in reality they are nervour followers, constantly checking to see which the wind is blowing, get the message and promptly follow the herd. Humans are a social animal, never underestimate the power of “everyone else is doing it, it must be right”.

    Thank You For Smoking has a great scene illustrating this tactic in action. Nick Naylor wins a TV talk show audience over by attacking his antagonist and complimenting/brown-nosing the audience (the audience who was previously primed to hate him). He went into the TV appearance to be the sacrificial lamb and ended up turning the tables. No he didn’t persuade his opponent, but he changed the minds of enough of the barking seals in the audience that they all followed him. Brilliant!

    It may be distasteful to some, but ridicule and ostracizing are extremely effective tactics in persuasion. Even Reagan knew how to do this — in a classy way – by going over the heads of the media directly to the American people, and getting them to exert the pressure he wanted.

    • #12
    • September 23, 2014 at 8:57 am
  13. Profile photo of No Caesar Thatcher

    Jamie Lockett:My only quibble with this piece would be about the Iraq war. A large number of people changed their minds about the Iraq war – in the opposite direction from Mr. Bush’s intention.

    I agree. I find it interesting that overwhelming majorities in the public and in Congress were in favor of Operation Iraqi Freedom back in 2003. But when the going got tough that went into the memory hole. Plenty, including on our side, spend a lot of time now saying how they always thought the Iraq war was a bad idea. On average about 50% of the American public now denies their previous support.

    The only reason so many “changed their minds” was because the Left launched an effective campaign of political persuasion following on Fahrenheit 9/11. Bush and his allies mistakenly failed to counter the sedition of Michael Moore, et al. As soon as the Democrats saw they could ride this wave they did. Churchill would have skewered the fat blow-hard. Unfortunately, W took seriously the idea that he was President of all the American people and didn’t.

    Ironically, even with the mistake of delaying the Surge, Bush had won the war before his term ended. We forget now, but Iraq was coming along reasonably well as a pluralistic democracy by 2008. It was safer in Iraq than in Chicago or Southeast DC. They were having problems, but ones that should be expected for a new polity, and not dissimilar to those our nation experienced early on (Whiskey Rebellion, etc. But Bush will never get the chance to have history vindicate the decision because it’s now a counter-factual since Obama purposefully destroyed our victory in Iraq. (Another example of political persuasion, use your power bald-facedly and brutally, many will be afraid to counter you.)

    • #13
    • September 23, 2014 at 9:13 am
  14. Profile photo of Herbert E. Meyer Contributor
    Herbert E. Meyer Post author

    My thanks to all of you for your very perceptive comments about my essay. A flood of intelligent comments is one of the reasons that writing for Ricochet is so rewarding.

    Let’s just agree that it’s impossible to persuade everyone, no matter how overwhelming the evidence. A century from now, there will still be people insisting that the moon landing was faked by NASA, with some help from the CIA. (As I keep telling these people, if we were clever enough to have faked the moon landing, we wouldn’t be making all these other stupid mistakes….)

    Michael Sanregret nails it: Persuasion takes time, and we must not let ourselves be discouraged.

    Now, please, can we turn our conversation to this: For each of the issues that now confronts us, how can we best persuade people who don’t agree with us? The war? Health care? Taxes?

    Over to you….

    • #14
    • September 23, 2014 at 9:41 am
  15. Profile photo of Gil Reich Member

    “Can you name even one of the likely presidential contenders who has displayed the inclination — let alone the skill — to convince people to actually change their minds about an issue? ” Yes. Marco Rubio on immigration. Of course the lesson he may have learned is quit trying to persuade and focus on satisfying your base.

    Whereas the lesson he should have learned is always keep that bottle of water right next to you.

    • #15
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:07 am
  16. Profile photo of Jamie Lockett Reagan

    Herbert E. Meyer: Michael Sanregret nails it: Persuasion takes time, and we must not let ourselves be discouraged.

    Ironically, the issue in our 24hr news cycle culture is that there often isn’t enough time to persuade.

    There is one example of persuasion that really makes me happy: Abortion. Social Conservatives are winning on this issue by playing the long game and persuading the public. To be sure technology and scientific understanding is going a long way in aiding the moral case, but it is persuasion that is winning the argument. This makes me happy, even as a libertarian who still values choice for women up to a certain point in pregnancy because 1) abortions are a terrible thing and 2) because the fight is being won the right way – without the heavy hand of the state.

    • #16
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:07 am
  17. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Herbert E. Meyer: For each of the issues that now confronts us, how can we best persuade people who don’t agree with us?

    IMHO, you almost certainly cannot. You can almost never persuade someone that has already formed a contrary opinion, and the amount of resources required to persuade the occasional outlier is better spent trying to persuade the undecided and/or unaware.

    When I’m training people to be door-knockers during election time, I tell them explicitly, “if someone says they do not support the candidate, do not try to persuade them to change their mind. Thank them for their opinion and move to the next house. You can reach 100 undecided people in the time you waste failing to persuade one non-supporter.”

    The name of the game is “moving the middle”. Identify and persuade the accessible, the undecided, and the unaware. Trying to persuade those who have already formed a contrary opinion is a near-total waste of time.

    • #17
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:09 am
  18. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Herbert E. Meyer: For each of the issues that now confronts us, how can we best persuade people who don’t agree with us?

    IMHO, you almost certainly cannot. You can almost never persuade someone that has already formed a contrary opinion, and the amount of resources required to persuade the occasional outlier is better spent trying to persuade the undecided and/or unaware.

    When I’m training people to be door-knockers during election time, I tell them explicitly, “if someone says they do not support the candidate, do not try to persuade them to change their mind. Thank them for their opinion and move to the next house. You can reach 100 undecided people in the time you waste failing to persuade one non-supporter.”

    The name of the game is “moving the middle”. Identify and persuade the accessible, the undecided, and the unaware. Trying to persuade those who have already formed a contrary opinion is a near-total waste of time.

    Probably true, at least in the short term. When I take the time to post comments on Facebook, it’s not really my intention to persuade the progressives that post and share their memes, it’s to puncture the bubble of a group of progressives agreeing with how smart and good they all are. If an open-minded person sees a left-wing meme, I hope that they will see my rebuttal as well.

    • #18
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:37 am
  19. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Michael Sanregret: Probably true, at least in the short term. When I take the time to post comments on Facebook, it’s not really my intention to persuade the progressives that post and share their memes, it’s to puncture the bubble of a group of progressives agreeing with how smart and good they all are. If an open-minded person sees a left-wing meme, I hope that they will see my rebuttal as well.

    When I take the time to post political comments on Facebook, I make sure they are only visible to my conservative “friends”. I seek to influence the people I pre-identify as being receptive to my influence, and I seek not to alienate friends who I pre-identify as not being receptive to my political messaging.

    • #19
    • September 23, 2014 at 10:50 am
  20. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Herbert E. Meyer:

    Now, please, can we turn our conversation to this: For each of the issues that now confronts us, how can we best persuade people who don’t agree with us? The war? Health care? Taxes?

    Over to you….

    On Facebook, I always try to go after the meme’s complaining about CEO salaries, not because I especially love CEOs, but because it seems (seems!) like such low hanging fruit. The CEO of McDonalds makes around $10 million/year. McDonalds employs around 2 million people. I’m not a mathematician, but…

    I don’t know if I’m making a difference with this or not. I don’t recall anyone ever explicitly agreeing with me, but I’ve also never had anyone really challenge me on it either. I did once argue with a progressive, based on math, that a much larger share of Papa John Pizza’s profits goes to the average workers, collectively, than goes to the CEO. I didn’t turn him him into a conservative, but he did concede the point that CEOs do not actually get most of a company’s profits.

    I guess my point is try to stick to simple, focused points. No one’s going to give up a worldview all at once. In the process of becoming a conservative, I shed a number of progressive myths before actually giving up on progressivism. For example, I had already figured out that Republican=”party of the rich” and Democrat=”party of the poor” was not true even when I thought Democrats had better policies. Disbelieving Democrat iconography made it easier for me to lose belief in Democrat policies.

    • #20
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:03 am
  21. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Michael Sanregret: On Facebook…

    Waitaminute. I thought the question about the sort of “persuasion skills” that are needed in a presidential candidate, not in how we persuade people who are already our friends (or our “friends”).

    • #21
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:11 am
  22. Profile photo of BastiatJunior Member

    Like! In a big way.

    Persuasion is the difference between hunting for a “path to 270 electoral votes” and a decisive win. Persuasiveness on our part would even force a bit more honesty from the press. They get away with bad reporting because they can.

    Democrats are very good at persuasion, which is why they keep beating us. The only reason the contest is still close is the cr**piness of their policies.

    “Times have changed. The people have changed, therefore persuasion won’t work.” is the excuse made by mediocre political consultants as they watch the “paths to 270” disappear.

    • #22
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:40 am
  23. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    BastiatJunior: Democrats are very good at persuasion, which is why they keep beating us.

    But that “persuasiveness” has nothing to do with the words that come out of a Democratic candidate’s mouth. It has much more to do with Democrats working hand-in-hand with the educational-news-entertainment complex for decades. It’s way easier for a political candidate to be “persuasive” when the audience has been primed to be receptive to those messages for their entire lives.

    • #23
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:46 am
  24. Profile photo of Ford Penney Member

    Interesting, but it first appears that if any of us can actually remember LBJ then we are only 50 years behind the times and those voters were closer to WWII then to 2014. In the age of ‘Like’ buttons and tweeting your ‘position’ in 144 characters or less the art of persuasion has been reduced to a simple Roman ‘thumbs up or thumbs down’.

    The MSM doesn’t want to ‘discuss’ whats going on they want to polarize for greater audience share. This president is the perfect person for the moment- feckless narcissist gets the limelight. Even an orator might get 22 seconds on the nightly news and even less depth on a blog.

    After this long, with our freedoms and liberty, you have generations of such ‘golden’ Americans that just getting their order wrong constitutes a grave injustice and not having a large screen TV well, this is just wrong!

    Most of the rest of the world lives so much lower than the poor in this country they can’t believe we are so self centered and we keep raising then next generation to believe that almost anything you can think of should be a ‘civil right’.

    The answer? Unfortunately persuasion isn’t going to ‘solve’ our DNA problems and the ‘Gipper’ would be chewed apart by today’s polarized media, let alone the scathing he would take at the hands of lefty bloggers. BTW- the Obama ‘machine’ is famous for those tactics, they are of their time.

    So in TMZ world I think Alinsky is winning, we have to hold arguments that ask first person responses instead of global positioning and hope the other person is even listening.

    • #24
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:55 am
  25. Profile photo of BastiatJunior Member

    Misthiocracy:

    BastiatJunior: Democrats are very good at persuasion, which is why they keep beating us.

    But that “persuasiveness” has nothing to do with the words that come out of a Democratic candidate’s mouth. It has much more to do with Democrats working hand-in-hand with the educational-news-entertainment complex for decades. It’s way easier for a political candidate to be “persuasive” when the audience has been primed to be receptive to those messages for their entire lives.

    That is a major component of it, but they are also very good at message coordination, demagoguery and repeating the big lie. Also, they protect their own, while we tend to throw our stupid (or amateur) politicians overboard.

    It is true that the left gets a big boost from the media/education complex, but silence and/or tongue-tiedness on our part makes it worse.

    One of the reasons the press gets away with reporting only the left’s point of view is that they can plausibly claim that they hardly even hear from the right.

    • #25
    • September 23, 2014 at 11:57 am
  26. Profile photo of BastiatJunior Member

    Ford : The answer? Unfortunately persuasion isn’t going to ‘solve’ our DNA problems and the ‘Gipper’ would be chewed apart by today’s polarized media, let alone the scathing he would take at the hands of lefty bloggers. BTW- the Obama ‘machine’ is famous for those tactics, they are of their time.

    Do you remember the press coverage Reagan got while he was president? It was brutal from beginning to end.

    • #26
    • September 23, 2014 at 12:00 pm
  27. Profile photo of Tuck Inactive

    Darnit, I thought this was going to be a post about dueling.

    But I think to a certain extent you’re misdiagnosing the problem: persuasion doesn’t work so well when you’re dealing with religious fanatics. And this is what the Left is: a religion.

    • #27
    • September 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm
  28. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    When I take the time to post political comments on Facebook, I make sure they are only visible to my conservative “friends”. I seek to influence the people I pre-identify as being receptive to my influence, and I seek not to alienate friends who I pre-identify as not being receptive to my political messaging.

    I don’t post that much on Facebook myself so as not to inject politics where it was not, but I have resolved not to worry about alienating people. When left-wing memes come up, I try to always, always comment on them. Only one person that I’m aware of has unfriended me, and that was my brother’s ex-girlfriend, so that was not much of a friendship anyway.

    I was quiet up until November 2012, because I thought the country would correct itself and not reelect Barack Obama. I don’t know how many other conservatives were quiet because they were worried about their careers or friendships, but that could have made the difference in 2012. So, like Spider-Man, I am now driven by guilt to counter Democrat propaganda wherever I see it.

    • #28
    • September 23, 2014 at 12:22 pm
  29. Profile photo of The Question Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Michael Sanregret: On Facebook…

    Waitaminute. I thought the question about the sort of “persuasion skills” that are needed in a presidential candidate, not in how we persuade people who are already our friends (or our “friends”).

    I was figuring that we were talking about persuading people who would make a better President. I started using Facebook because I was wondering who the heck thought voting for Obama was a good idea.

    • #29
    • September 23, 2014 at 12:26 pm
  30. Profile photo of BastiatJunior Member

    Tuck:Darnit, I thought this was going to be a post about dueling.

    But I think to a certain extent you’re misdiagnosing the problem: persuasion doesn’t work so well when you’re dealing with religious fanatics. And this is what the Left is: a religion.

    There are a lot of uncommitted types that aren’t of the religious left. Trouble is, they only hear one side of the argument.

    • #30
    • September 23, 2014 at 12:45 pm
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