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how to influence friends and win people

I rarely comment about politics, and rarely regret not posting, but this is one of those times I thought about saying something earlier and didn’t, and now I regret it. This should have been said months ago, but there will be more elections to come, so better late than never. It’s about talking to people, but don’t worry, it has nothing to do with respect.

There are two ways to persuade people. Find something they care about and convince them you’re right, or convince them to care about something, and then convince them you’re right. The second is a lot more work than the first.

The more obviously persuasive an argument seems to you, the less persuasive it probably is for the people who don’t already agree. This doesn’t mean they can’t be persuaded, but it means shouting louder won’t work. It’s like pulling a lever to effect a change. Some of the levers are connected, and some aren’t, and it doesn’t matter how hard you pull on the ones that aren’t. The levers that are connected, however, still work.

Yes, it would be great if “don’t vote for the demagogue” were persuasive. But sometimes there’s a mismatch between what should be and what is. When all else fails, try talking taxes and trade policy. I would have died of sheer happiness if my October news feed had been nothing but graphs and spreadsheets.

I repeatedly saw the same People magazine quote about dumb voters (which is funny, but fake, by the way). But where were the links comparing Trump’s tax plan to Clinton’s tax plan for each income bracket? The differences in who benefited most from each were striking. Civil rights may be far more important than NAFTA, but that shouldn’t preclude explaining the benefits of NAFTA if that’s what somebody else cares about.

And if even that fails, don’t give up. There’s always the third party option. If you can’t get someone to agree on policy, and they really want to vote for change, steer them to another choice, like Johnson. Instead of blaming Johnson voters for costing Clinton the election, regret that more unenthusiastic Trump voters didn’t break ranks and vote that way too.

I love a good moral victory as much as the next guy, but sometimes it’s nice to just plain win too.

Further food for thought.

Posted 14 Nov 2016 01:38 by tedu Updated: 14 Nov 2016 01:38