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Having difficult politically-relevant conversations with conservatives

NOTE: the “n” key on my laptop isn’t working - sometimes it puts in no “n” and sometimes it puts in two! Just a note in case there is weirdness in my post!

With the exception of a high school friend who now lives in Israel and is apparently orthodox, super anti-Palestine, and loves Trump — my friends from elementary school, jr high, high school, college, grad school, and previous work colleagues are super diverse and are all pretty liberal and generally all have similar views. There’s some tensions between Bernie supporters and others - but generally we all have similar worldviews.

My family members, on the other hand, are not diverse and a small chunk of my relatives are conservative. A smaller chunk are libertarians and just 100% confuse me.


My conservative relatives largely live in/grew up in majority white parts of the country (e.g., Long Island NY, Nebraska), work in more blue collar fields (e.g., trucking, manufacturing), and many only have a high school education. The ones that did go to college really only went bc it was forced on them. They aren’t particularly curious or open-minded, nor are they situated in places where they will be exposed to different ideas.

I have been attempting to have some difficult conversations on facebook to try to increase empathy and to help my relatives take other perspectives on their sociopolitical views. For example, after the second democratic debate, I did a post about why it is critically important to provide healthcare to undocumented immigrants. I had 7 key points based in data that I tried to connect to emotions (e.g., that undocumented women may be unable to get prenatal care and may further be afraid to bc they fear deportation/detention - there’s good data on this and I think it is really heartbreaking).

I’ve tried other topics as well. When my relatives comment, I try to gently counter their beliefs and assumptions. I try to keep a focus on the fact that positive policies are good for all of us. I try to keep a focus on seeing marginalized populations as people deserving of care and fairness. I try to explain things like why immigrants come here and why some may not be here legally, and why their assumptions about who is most likely to not be here legally are incorrect (i.e., most undocumented people are visitors who overstayed their visas - not Latinx people who came over the southern border).

It’s exhausting and I’m not even sure it’s doing anything. I hope at least it forces my relatives to read some liberal stuff in their feeds of unrelenting conservative propaganda. I do have one cousin who says he reads what I post and considers it - but then he posts anti-liberal memes.


It makes me wish there was a website (maybe there is?) that has like daily/weekly discussion topics based on what is going on in the country with key talking points that may be most likely to shift opinions of conservatives/trump supporters - even incrementally.

I’m curious if any of you are trying to have similar conversations? If so, how is it going?

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