While I would highly advise against doing it, I do realize that there are quite a lot of people out there who still actively engage in debating Donald Trump supporters. To those folks, I applaud your persistence. As for myself, I gave up trying to reason with Trump folks months ago. I have a rule that you don’t try to use rational, factual arguments with people who aren’t rational. To be on “Team Donald,” you have to be irrational to the point of willful ignorance if not outright mental instability.
But because I like to try to help out when I can, I thought I’d give a few tips for those of you out there who will undoubtedly engage with those who supported Trump for president.
1. 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 than they are.
2. It’s pointless to use facts: For most people who support Donald Trump, the only “facts” they believe are the words that come out of his mouth. It’s absolutely pointless to use fact checkers; math; history; video footage (even if it’s of Donald 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.
3. Since you can’t use 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 that “proves” something by quoting someone connected to Trump’s campaign. I’ve found it’s easy for anyone to spout off talking points, but it’s a whole heck of a lot more difficult for them to actually back up (with credible evidence) the nonsense that they believe.
4. Make up fake Trump quotes: Since the vast majority of Trump supporters aren’t exactly rocket scientists, what I like to do is make up a quote or two, implying it’s something he’s said on a policy issues, just to see if they’ll defend it. Then I push them on this “quote,” often with them defending it feverishly – only to finally tell them I made it all up. Then I laugh at the fact that they just realized (though they’ll never admit it) that they’re a mindless sheep who’ll support anything he says.
5. Find quotes from Adolf Hitler – then tell them that they’re from Trump: Nothing is funnier than finding quotes from one of the worst monsters who’s ever lived, passing them off as Trump quotes to one of his supporters, then watching them frantically try to defend themselves after you reveal that they’re actually Hitler quotes – and they just agreed with all of them.
6. 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 off 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 any of his lofty promises. And that’s because, for practically every policy promise he’s made, he hasn’t given any.
7. Ask them how it feels to support someone who said POWs aren’t war heroes: Let’s be honest, Donald Trump literally said that he doesn’t view war POWs as “heroes” because he likes people who don’t get captured. These folks will dance around all the other vile things Trump has said, but watch them try to defend someone who flat-out said war POWs aren’t American heroes because they were captured.
8. Ask them what would it take for them not to support Trump: I good way to twist these folks around is not to ask them why they support him, but to ask them what he would have to do for them to not support him. Then, when they list a few things (if they list anything at all), ask them if they really, truly believe what they listed (trust me, it will probably be something really dumb) is worse than mocking a man with disabilities, calling women fat pigs, bragging about sexual assault or belittling a war veteran and American hero.
There are more, but I think if you get through these eight you’ll be doing alright.
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