8 Tips for Debating Trump Supporters Which Will Leave Them Baffled

While I don’t suggest doing it often, I understand there are times in our lives where, inevitably, almost everyone reading this is going to find themselves in a debate with a supporter of Donald Trump. At one point I did my best to avoid such maddening affairs. However, as time has gone on, I’ve found myself engaging in more and more debates with “Trumpsters.” Partly because I’m still driven to confront ignorance, even if I know my efforts are ultimately futile. Another part of it is, at times, it’s actually kind of enjoyable. I’ll be the first to admit, spinning Trump supporters in circles, and backing them into corners where they’re comically contradicting themselves with nearly every attempt to defend him, can, at times, be quite entertaining.

Seeing as I’ve probably had more of these debates than the average person, I thought I’d offer a few tips for those brave (or unfortunate, in some cases) souls who find themselves debating people from the land of make believe and Trump fan fiction.

1. Whatever you do, don’t get emotional: When you’re dealing with angry people who are driven by irrational fear, paranoia and Trump mythologies, the last thing you want to do is get emotional. Remember, you’re a lot smarter, and more factually informed, than they are. No matter how ridiculous they become, the worst thing you can do is try to match their irrational emotional output. I know it’s sometimes difficult, but simply remain calm and know that reality is on your side — not theirs.

2. It’s almost completely pointless to use facts: For most people who support Trump, the only “facts” they believe are the words that come out of his mouth. It’s usually pointless to use fact checkers; math; history; video footage (even if it’s of Trump, himself, saying something); news articles that quote Trump directly; or anything that debunks the endless stream of drivel that spills out of his mouth – they’re not going to believe any of it.

The only reason I’d say to at least try to use facts is for the other tips I’m about to list.

3. Since they’re not going to believe any of your facts, ask them for theirs: Since people who are fueled by propaganda and lies are impervious to being fact checked (see #2), a tactic I typically use is asking them to provide sources to back up their claims. Be sure you specifically ask for credible, non-conservative sources. Otherwise you’re going to end up with a Breitbart-level article as “proof.” In my experience, I’ve found it’s easy for anyone to spout off talking points they’ve been fed by Trump or Fox News, but it’s much more difficult for them to actually back up (with credible evidence) the nonsense that they believe.

For example: If they claim the economy has improved, make them explain how. Show them the factual economic data from the last year of Obama’s presidency, that same data from Trump’s first few months in office, then ask them what, specifically, he’s done to “improve the economy” and where those impacts can be seen in the current economic information that wasn’t there before he came into office.

I promise, the answers they’ll come up with — if any — will be rather hilarious.

4. Inquire about specifics related to his policies: While Donald Trump says a lot of stuff – he’s almost never specific about any of it. His entire campaign was built from infomercial-style rhetoric rather than actual policies. Sure, Trump supporters can regurgitate rhetoric with the best of them, but you won’t find very many who know anything specific about how he plans to accomplish anything.

We already know Mexico isn’t paying for the wall, his health care bill doesn’t fulfill any of his promises, and his tax plan is an absolute joke. So ask them, specifically, what his policies are and how he’s getting them accomplished. Then ask them to compare that to what he said he was going to do during his campaign. Forcing them to think about what he said vs. what he’s actually doing isn’t going to likely change any of their minds, but it does often produce a rather interesting reaction.

5. Ask them how it feels to support someone who has been praised, supported and defended by some of the most horrific people alive: This is actually a question I’ve asked Trump supporters that’s stumped quite a few:

Imagine a room full of dictators who use chemical weapons on women and children (Bashar al-Assad) and tyrants who’ve had political rivals and journalists murdered (Vladimir Putin), then toss in the KKK, David Duke (white nationalist and former Grand Wizard of the KKK), and neo-Nazis. Now ask yourself this: when has a group of people like that ever been on the right side of history?

Whether they want to admit it or not, Trump’s been praised and/or defended by the likes of Putin, Assad, the KKK, neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and former Grand Wizard of the KKK David Duke. At no time in human history have those types of vile creatures ever been on the right side of history, so why would they be now?

Yet, when Trump supporters insist that they are, what they’re really saying is that, for the first time ever, those types of deplorable animals are on the right side of history when it comes to supporting the current “president.”

6. Ask them what would it take for them to not support Trump: At this point, what would it take for them to abandon Trump? He’s broken just about every campaign promise he made, is now lashing out at his own Justice Department that’s staffed with people he put there, and under investigation for obstruction of justice related to firing the head of the FBI, citing the on-going investigation into his campaign as his primary reason.

Is there really anything he could do that would make them abandon him?

7. Bring up some of his scandals, but attribute them to Hillary Clinton, then see how quickly they think she’s corrupt: Clearly don’t bring up some of his more well-known scandals because that would be too obvious. Find a way to word some of the lesser scandals he’s been saddled with, make them appear to be about Clinton, then after a while of letting them go on about how “corrupt and unethical she is,” inform them that those controversies were actually about Trump, not her. The reaction to that revelation will usually be rather hilarious.

8. Ask them if they would defend Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton if they were accused of the same things: This one’s pretty clear-cut. Simply ask them, would you defend Obama or Clinton if they:

  • Repeatedly defended and praised Russia during an election where Russian hackers helped them win.
  • Had a growing list of people linked to them caught with ties to Russia, including lobbyist groups.
  • Refused to release their tax returns.
  • Lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials for saying Russia was behind last year’s cyber attack against our election.
  • Used social media to bash their own Department of Justice.
  • Called Fox News “fake news” on a nearly daily basis.
  • Had a former national security advisor get caught working as a foreign agent during last year’s election.
  • Fired the head of the FBI, citing their displeasure with the on-going investigation into whether or not they committed treason.
  • Were exposed by the recently fired head of the FBI that they were potentially trying to obstruct justice by pressuring him to end a federal investigation.
  • Were hiring multiple big-time lawyers in anticipation of what may come from the Russian investigations.
  • Settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit alleging they created a fake university to defraud people out of thousands of dollars.
  • Hired close family members for top White House staff positions even though they weren’t qualified.
  • Spent about half their weekends golfing at their Florida resort at a cost to taxpayers of around $3 million — per trip.

I could add plenty more to that list, but I think I’ve proven my point. Simply ask them if Obama or Clinton were accused of any or all of that, would they be quick to defend and dismiss those scandals. Something tells me they wouldn’t.

There they are, folks. I would encourage everyone reading this to use some, if not all, of these tips the next time you’re dealing with a Trump supporter.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know how it goes.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


Facebook comments

  • Eric Sears

    Brilliant insight and well written as usual.

  • strayaway

    My biggest disappointment with Trump has to do with his attack on a Syrian base and shooting down a Syrian plane. If I wanted a president to do that, I would have voted for Hillary who as SOS armed rebels of questionable allegiance and inadvertently helped arm ISIS. But even on Trump’s worst day when he bombed an airbase, Hillary announced that she would have bombed Syrian airbases (plural). As Peggy Noonan called it, voting for Trump was a hail mary pass hoping that something other than a four more years of neocon interventionism, invasion, racial tensions, soft treason, economic slide, and perversion would come out of it. It doesn’t look like Trump will be a substantial improvement on most points but will still be better than the alternative.

    “6. Ask them what would it take for them to not support Trump”. I would like a democrat who supported the Constitution including things like unqualified free speech and the 10th. Amendment. Short of that, Tulsi Gabbard is the only Democratic candidate of interest. Her patriotism is a rare commodity among Democrats and could have cross over appeal. She supported Bernie and is adverse to foreign interventionism.

    • Kenji

      Sorry you had that disappointment. And we were all expecting so much wisdom, generosity, and leadership from this shining tower of patriotic integrity.

      • strayaway

        Please reread what I wrote. Voting for Trump was a long pass when there were no other options. Trump did not meet my every hope but given the choice between Trump and Hillary, I have no regrets. I voted for Bernie in the primary. That left Hillary and Trump. If you somehow surmised that I was “expecting so much wisdom, generosity, and leadership from this shining tower of patriotic integrity” please point out where I wrote those things so we can find out how your mind works. I expected little from Trump and less from Hillary. Like you, this site sometimes imagines what other people are thinking and their motives and often gets both wrong.

  • Scott Allen

    Something I like to do is to tell them that Trump has done one thing ‘bigly’ well for the country, and that is he has shined a bright light on what the
    Conservative/Republicans really are for everyone to see. We can all see them now, cowards that are fearful of everything they don’t understand. Muslims, progress, intelligence, the future, science and most of all people that may know more than they do. Their glaring hypocrisies’ have all been laid bare for all of us to see. They claim to be the defenders of religious values yet represent all the evils (Greed, refusing to help others, hate, etc..) that Christ warned mankind to would lead to our doom. They speak of making America great and then want to take us down an ecological path that will not only make America not so great but will actually insure it becomes an unlivable cesspool full of toxins and poisons, all for the sake of jobs. They say they are pro-life and then support the death penalty, wars, police shootings of unarmed citizens and are steadfast in their refusals to accept ANY common sense gun control measures even in the wake of tens of thousands of gun deaths every year. They claim to be Patriots yet support a draft dodging tax cheat that praises and cozies up to dictators and tyrants. They drink their ‘cold beers’ and condemn them damn potheads. If Jesus were alive and teaching today they would be quick to discredit him and label him and his followers as ‘Libitards’. They are desperate now that they know they are outnumbered thanks to Trumps losing the popular vote by 3+ million. Their ultimate dream of controlling the country and it’s population in order to cut out the deadwood and make the US an archaic Utopia for ignorant good-ole boys who seem to feel that knowledge is the cause of brain cancer is dying before their very eyes. It will never be. Their panic has set in and it’s reflected by their every action. It can be heard clearly in their voices. The terrible noise we hear from them now is thehorrific gasping of a dying dinosaur stuck in a tar pit of reality

    • Vanessa Haynes-Miller

      Well said

    • Larry Davis

      That is the best comment I’ve ever read. Trump and is vile minions are a festering boil on this Country. Thank you for posting this beautifully written letter.

      • Adam Pearson

        Festering boil? Classy.

      • T.v. Hall

        No. Liberals are the festering carbunkle!

  • 100% of the trumpeter I’ve tried to have discussions with have degenerated into insults, name calling and frighteningly hostile rage against anyone taking”their” money to help anyone less fortunate. They start out calling people lazy, then when you point out that employed, hardworking people can need help too, they reveal that they REALLY DON’T CARE about legitimacy of need. They just have contempt for anyone who has “failed” to accumulate money!

    • Aaron Freeman

      This, coming from regressives… you folks haven’t had an original idea, since Marx penned, “The Communist Manifesto”… if communists ever gain control, you’ll have been their “useful idiots” (Lenin’s term, not mine… but apropos), and the only use you’ll serve, is a forced labour camp…

  • Tom Anderson

    Seems that each of the points above could be turned around against pretty much any left wing politician. Who do you see rioting and constantly marching? The left wears their emotions on their hats as well as anyone.

  • Jo Ann Warner

    This cracks me up that is the exact tactics that the Trump supporters use that’s how after year’s of being a Democrat they got me to vote for Trump now isn’t that special.lol

  • Adam Pearson

    I’m a Trump supporter. Please tell me why I should have voted for Hillary Clinton, and what exactly she has accomplished.

    • Joanna Green

      While Trump was pussy-grabbing, cheating on his wives,
      avoiding taxes, cheating workers, declaring bankruptcy, firing people, playing
      footsie with the Russians, spewing vicious lies about Mexicans, and birth
      certificates, Hillary was doing this:

      1. Hillary worked on behalf of children with disabilities,
      went undercover to expose systemic racism in Alabama’s education system, and
      fought to end the incarceration of minors in adult prisons in South Carolina as
      a young lawyer at the Children’s Defense Fund.

      2. Hillary co-founded the Arkansas Advocates for Children and

      3. Hillary traveled to Beijing as first lady of the United
      States to make the groundbreaking declaration that “women’s rights are human

      4. Hillary fought to make sure 9/11 first and second
      responders got the health care they needed when she was senator from New York.

      5. Hillary helped secure $20 billion to help rebuild New York
      City after the 9/11 attacks.

      6. Hillary worked across the aisle to expand access to health
      care for members of the National Guard and reservists.

      7. Hillary helped expand the Family Medical Leave Act,
      allowing families of those wounded in combat to care for their loved ones.

      8. Hillary was a driving force behind raising the minimum
      wage in New York and nationally, co-sponsoring or introducing bills to do it
      eight different times as senator.

      9. Hillary fought to expand Head Start programs as senator.

      10. Hillary worked to expand access to student loans and Pell
      Grants, so more students could go to college, regardless of their background or

      11. Hillary worked in the Senate to protect families from
      environmental health hazards that disproportionately affect low-income
      communities of color.

      12. Hillary served as our nation’s chief diplomat. She worked
      to restore our reputation around the globe, visiting 112 countries, bringing
      power to U.S. foreign policy.

      13. Hillary helped broker a ceasefire between Israel and

      14. Hillary built a global coalition to negotiate the
      toughest sanctions ever enacted against Iran, laying the groundwork for the
      Iran nuclear deal.

      15. Hillary fought for the rights of women around the world,
      including leading the fight for a U.N. Security Council resolution to combat
      sexual violence against women and children.

      16. Hillary lobbied for the first-ever U.N. Human Rights
      Council resolution on human rights and declared “gay rights are human rights.

      17. Hillary expanded benefits for LGBT employees at the State
      Department, including partner benefits, health care, and more.

      18. Hillary renewed the United States’ relationships with
      Asian and Pacific nations, including Japan, South Korea, and Australia—a major
      diplomatic achievement

      19. As secretary of
      state, she helped the U.S. extend antiretroviral therapy—which helps HIV/AIDS
      patients live longer, healthier lives—to 78 countries.

      20. Sitting in the war room when Obama took down Osama Bin

      21. Paying her fair share of taxes.

  • Lilywhiteazz

    Proud to be a festering boil and minion!! Snowflakes. Go polish your participation trophies. They are next to the computer in your mother’s basement.

  • Pound Max

    When they talk about “snowflakes” and Liberals being sensitive remind them that there is no one more sensitive than a Trump Supporter! Always whinny and crying about Trump’s treatment by the media…If the news was so fake than why are you worried so much about it?….