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Old 09-16-2019, 11:16 AM
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How do I respond to Trump voters who cite immigration as their #1 issue?


I've been canvassing voters in a swing state. More than three quarters of those who support Trump cite immigration as their top issue. I'll paraphrase what one said to me:

"We shouldn't have to put up with all these 'illegal' immigrants. [He actually made air quotes.] I don't like that I go to work and my money supports illegals. I don't know about you, but that's not why I go to work."

I know immigration is a complex issue, and it's easy to view it simplistically along these lines. "They shouldn't be here, so why should my taxes pay for anything they receive in social services?" I also know this storyline is false, since immigrants (documented or not) generate more in taxes than they receive in social services, but that's a statistic that may run counter to people's anecdotal observations.

Finally, I know I'm unlikely to change any minds, and I might just be asking for trouble. But I hate standing there like an idiot going, "uh-huh, sure." Is there a response I can give that just might engage one person in a conversation and, perhaps, to re-evaluate their stance?
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:21 AM
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More and more, the No. 1 thing people respond to is, "Is X category of people like me, or politically similar to me?"

You could point out that the majority of Mexican illegal immigrants are of Christian/Catholic background and hold socially conservative views (if that's true.) But ultimately most Trump voters (like most voters of any stripe) care about whether immigrants - legal or not - are future D or R voters.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:26 AM
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More and more, the No. 1 thing people respond to is, "Is X category of people like me, or politically similar to me?"

You could point out that the majority of Mexican illegal immigrants are of Christian/Catholic background and hold socially conservative views (if that's true.) But ultimately most Trump voters (like most voters of any stripe) care about whether immigrants - legal or not - are future D or R voters.
Do you really think that's why they care about immigration? Immigrants won't be voters for several years, if ever. I think their concerns are more immediate -- e.g., they don't want their taxes paying for services for people who (they believe) shouldn't be here.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:29 AM
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People voting Republican due to issues real and imagined regarding taxes and "my money" are quite common in my world. Perhaps you could show what their money is actually used for by the government, rather than what they imagine it is.

Last edited by bobot; 09-16-2019 at 11:29 AM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:37 AM
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No, I disagree. Engage them. Pushing back - in any way - will only engage their defensiveness and tribal instincts (the two things that dominate American political discourse at the moment).

Instead, ask them for a solution. Say something like, 'Well, how would you want to deal with it? We've been trying to prevent people from crossing the border since WWII. It hasn't worked so some new solution needs trying. What do you think would work?'

See, it allows you to engage them in dialog while allowing them to take lead. It'll require you to be nimble enough to take what they give you - if anything - and turn it into something positive that you can pitch regarding your preferred candidate. I have faith you can do that.

Remember, even with enhanced enforcement and detaining people they're still coming. No matter what they've done they're still going to come. So be prepared not to argue but to go with something like, "Good thought, how would that deal with X?" and similar. If you have something you can hook on thank them for their ideas, mention how your preferred candidate has something similar (think fast, here) and move on. Remember to thank them for their time and thoughts and say you'll take it back to HQ.

It might not work - it sure won't for some - but these games are won at the margins. And NO one disagrees with you when you're thanking them for being helpful.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:39 AM
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Is there a response I can give that just might engage one person in a conversation and, perhaps, to re-evaluate their stance?
Probably not. As Velocity notes, they are not really thinking about this rationally, but just responding to identity politics. If I were you, I'd just get a stack of small pamphlets with a digest of the actual facts, and say, "I used to think that, too, but then I learned about the truth [spoken in conspiratorial tone]," and then give them the pamphlet and walk away.

People like that like to think that they have some kind of access to "the real truth" that other people don't. It's the whole Alex Jones effect, and Trump taps into it to a certain degree.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:42 AM
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:45 AM
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You don't.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:46 AM
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You could point out that it's the efforts to keep illegal immigrants out that consumes massive amounts of tax money not the illegal immigrants themselves. Illegal immigrants generally don't receive social services because for obvious reasons they avoid bringing themselves to the attention of the government.

That won't matter in most cases though. Money's just a rationalization for their stance. The real cause is xenophobia.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:50 AM
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I like Jonathan Chance's approach. People like to feel listened to. Even if you don't have enough information at hand to have a discussion, just gathering some data might help you. Once you know what or how people are framing the issue, then you might be able to find a way to continue the conversation in a productive manner, rather than having their minds just turn off.
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Old 09-16-2019, 11:51 AM
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You really wanna change their minds? Say you completely agree with them that illegal immigration is a huge issue and that Trump's strategy won't work. Trump wants to build a wall -a strategy that didn't work even thousands of years ago (they're already manufacturing 31 ft ladders in Mexico!) - while Democrats have plans to use the latest satellite and drone technology - the same used to capture Osama Bin Laden - the man that attacked our great nation on 9/11.

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Old 09-16-2019, 11:54 AM
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Do you really think that's why they care about immigration? Immigrants won't be voters for several years, if ever. I think their concerns are more immediate -- e.g., they don't want their taxes paying for services for people who (they believe) shouldn't be here.
I absolutely do think that's what's in their mind, even if they don't say so out loud. If Mexican illegal immigrants were stalwart GOP voters and MAGA conservatives, the Republican Party would be pulling out all the stops to bring them in in as great numbers as possible. The fact that these illegal immigrants would be taking their jobs would be considered an acceptable trade-off.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:02 PM
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I've been canvassing voters in a swing state. More than three quarters of those who support Trump cite immigration as their top issue. I'll paraphrase what one said to me:

"We shouldn't have to put up with all these 'illegal' immigrants. [He actually made air quotes.] I don't like that I go to work and my money supports illegals. I don't know about you, but that's not why I go to work."

I know immigration is a complex issue, and it's easy to view it simplistically along these lines. "They shouldn't be here, so why should my taxes pay for anything they receive in social services?" I also know this storyline is false, since immigrants (documented or not) generate more in taxes than they receive in social services, but that's a statistic that may run counter to people's anecdotal observations.

Finally, I know I'm unlikely to change any minds, and I might just be asking for trouble. But I hate standing there like an idiot going, "uh-huh, sure." Is there a response I can give that just might engage one person in a conversation and, perhaps, to re-evaluate their stance?
So you don’t think employing the tactic used here of calling them racist deplorables would work? Imagine that.

Engaging them as fellow humans as Jonathan Chance recommends is actually your best bet.

Last edited by octopus; 09-16-2019 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:07 PM
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“Obama was able to deport many immigrants without all the hoopla. Bernie Sanders will be able to deport even more than Trump because the media won’t care about it anymore.”*Fist bump*

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Old 09-16-2019, 12:17 PM
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You can't reason with them. They believe what they believe. One of my brothers-in-law shared this Facebook post today:

Quote:
Why Do Seniors On Social Security Have To Pay Medicare & Supplemental Insurance & Yet Illegals Get It All For Free?
They have the impression that "illegals" get all these benefits the instant they cross the border and the actual facts are totally irrelevant. Can't reason with them, just have to outvote them.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:19 PM
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Probably not. As Velocity notes, they are not really thinking about this rationally, but just responding to identity politics. If I were you, I'd just get a stack of small pamphlets with a digest of the actual facts, and say, "I used to think that, too, but then I learned about the truth [spoken in conspiratorial tone]," and then give them the pamphlet and walk away.

People like that like to think that they have some kind of access to "the real truth" that other people don't. It's the whole Alex Jones effect, and Trump taps into it to a certain degree.
This is by far the best tactic. Just make sure that the language of the pamphlet solely addresses the issue of illegal immigration and spins it so that Trump looks like the incompetent - it should have nothing in it that expresses solidarity with anything in the Democratic platform.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:20 PM
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If OP is looking to dispel myths and to enlighten, then correcting this belief:
"Why Do Seniors On Social Security Have To Pay Medicare & Supplemental Insurance & Yet Illegals Get It All For Free?"
is a great place to start.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:32 PM
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Octopus and Sunny Daze agreeing that o have a decent solution. I’m feeling good.

Look, the first step toward any discussion is acknowledging that the other side has opinions and that those opinions are worth exploring. To treat all people that disagree as a lost cause is the height of pointless arrogance. You’re out there to canvass. So canvass.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:38 PM
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Instead, ask them for a solution. Say something like, 'Well, how would you want to deal with it? We've been trying to prevent people from crossing the border since WWII. It hasn't worked so some new solution needs trying. What do you think would work?'
Excellent advice!

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They have the impression that "illegals" get all these benefits the instant they cross the border and the actual facts are totally irrelevant. Can't reason with them, just have to outvote them.
Yes, they seem to think their hard work is somehow supporting illegal immigrants. If I arm myself with some actual facts about the social services immigrants do and don't receive, maybe a dialog as suggested above can be productive.
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Old 09-16-2019, 12:41 PM
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I absolutely do think that's what's in their mind, even if they don't say so out loud. If Mexican illegal immigrants were stalwart GOP voters and MAGA conservatives, the Republican Party would be pulling out all the stops to bring them in in as great numbers as possible. The fact that these illegal immigrants would be taking their jobs would be considered an acceptable trade-off.
But this still doesn't make any sense. Immigrants can't vote for five years, minimum, and undocumented ones never can. Aren't "they're taking our jobs" and "they're stealing our social services" more immediate and therefore more likely concerns?
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:24 PM
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But this still doesn't make any sense. Immigrants can't vote for five years, minimum, and undocumented ones never can.
There's a large orange fellow telling them otherwise, and wouldn't you know, he just happens to be the guy pushing the wall as a solution.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:26 PM
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But this still doesn't make any sense. Immigrants can't vote for five years, minimum, and undocumented ones never can. Aren't "they're taking our jobs" and "they're stealing our social services" more immediate and therefore more likely concerns?


You're failing to take into account the conspiracy theories about the "3 million illegal voters". Once again, complete bollocks, but a lot of them really believe it.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/polit...ntv/index.html
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:43 PM
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Instead, ask them for a solution. Say something like, 'Well, how would you want to deal with it? We've been trying to prevent people from crossing the border since WWII. It hasn't worked so some new solution needs trying. What do you think would work?'
"We need a wall like President Trump is building. That's why I'm going to vote for him again, to make sure the wall gets finished!"
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:46 PM
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You're failing to take into account the conspiracy theories about the "3 million illegal voters". Once again, complete bollocks, but a lot of them really believe it.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/03/30/polit...ntv/index.html
Maybe, but I tend to take people at their word. If a guy tells me he supports Trump because he believes Trump's policies will make it so his taxes don't support illegal aliens, that's the argument I want to be able to counter.
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Old 09-16-2019, 01:59 PM
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Maybe, but I tend to take people at their word. If a guy tells me he supports Trump because he believes Trump's policies will make it so his taxes don't support illegal aliens, that's the argument I want to be able to counter.


Fair enough, but recognize that addressing the ostensible reason alone probably won't work if their real reason is hidden. One of the reasons so many people above say there's no point in even trying to talk to them is that, if they're biased, that bias will motivate them to find problems with any solution you might present. You can't win an argue with someone who isn't arguing honestly, because they don't care if logic and facts on on their side or not. They don't have "reasons", they have excuses.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:06 PM
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But this still doesn't make any sense. Immigrants can't vote for five years, minimum, and undocumented ones never can.
That won't register. You're telling them that immigrants and illegal immigrants can't legally vote. That doesn't address the fear in their minds that they will illegally vote. Trump voters believe that all kinds of illegal things happen and laws are circumvented all the time.

To them, what you just said makes as little sense as, "Why are you worried about ex-felons using guns to kill you? They can't legally buy a gun with which to kill you."

Last edited by Velocity; 09-16-2019 at 02:06 PM.
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Old 09-16-2019, 02:17 PM
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That won't register. You're telling them that immigrants and illegal immigrants can't legally vote. That doesn't address the fear in their minds that they will illegally vote. Trump voters believe that all kinds of illegal things happen and laws are circumvented all the time.

To them, what you just said makes as little sense as, "Why are you worried about ex-felons using guns to kill you? They can't legally buy a gun with which to kill you."
(Bolding mine) No, I'm not telling them that, because they're not telling me anything about voting. They're telling me about their taxes supporting illegals. However ...

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Fair enough, but recognize that addressing the ostensible reason alone probably won't work if their real reason is hidden. One of the reasons so many people above say there's no point in even trying to talk to them is that, if they're biased, that bias will motivate them to find problems with any solution you might present. You can't win an argue with someone who isn't arguing honestly, because they don't care if logic and facts on on their side or not. They don't have "reasons", they have excuses.
... I concede it's likely there are other, equally ill-founded beliefs behind that one. I realize it's probably pointless to even get into it with them. (And I should point out that with one or two exceptions everyone has been quite civil.) I just hate the feeling that, after I walk away, they're probably thinking, ha, I set that libtard straight!
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:11 PM
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Maybe, but I tend to take people at their word. If a guy tells me he supports Trump because he believes Trump's policies will make it so his taxes don't support illegal aliens, that's the argument I want to be able to counter.
Tell him Trump's wall will cost sixty billion dollars and Mexico won't pay for it. American tax payers are going to pay it. Point out that his share will be two hundred dollars. That's for just him; if he's got a wife and kids, it's two hundred dollars for each of them as well.
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Old 09-16-2019, 03:16 PM
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Tell him Trump's wall will cost sixty billion dollars and Mexico won't pay for it. American tax payers are going to pay it. Point out that his share will be two hundred dollars. That's for just him; if he's got a wife and kids, it's two hundred dollars for each of them as well.


...and then add, "...and that's only if those deadbeats (wink optional but encouraged) pay their fair share!"
  #30  
Old 09-16-2019, 03:16 PM
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I absolutely do think that's what's in their mind, even if they don't say so out loud.
No, they say it out loud. Have you been reading Annoyed's posts? He says Democrats wants to let immigrants in from countries like Mexicans because they're Democrats. He says Trump should respond by letting in more immigrants from countries like Poland because they're Republicans.
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Old 09-16-2019, 04:24 PM
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Maybe, but I tend to take people at their word. If a guy tells me he supports Trump because he believes Trump's policies will make it so his taxes don't support illegal aliens, that's the argument I want to be able to counter.
I don't think in the space of time that you have with a potential voter, you will be able to change his or her mind about anything. It is still probably worth having a conversation.

When having a discussion with someone with an opposing viewpoint, I've read that it is helpful to listen and make them feel heard and then to emphasize your shared goals. I bet that you two agree that
  • America should have a just and enforceable immigration system
  • The current system is neither fair nor easily enforceable and
  • Every American should be vigilant and concerned that taxes paid by hardworking citizens aren't being squandered.

If the person seems receptive, you can use this to lead to why you think your candidate's approach to address these issues is a good one.

BUT, I wouldn't push to try to get that far. I might just listen, let them talk, re-phrase to let them know you understood what they said, and chat about what you have in common.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:34 PM
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I've been canvassing voters in a swing state. More than three quarters of those who support Trump cite immigration as their top issue. I'll paraphrase what one said to me:

"We shouldn't have to put up with all these 'illegal' immigrants. [He actually made air quotes.] I don't like that I go to work and my money supports illegals. I don't know about you, but that's not why I go to work."

I know immigration is a complex issue, and it's easy to view it simplistically along these lines. "They shouldn't be here, so why should my taxes pay for anything they receive in social services?" I also know this storyline is false, since immigrants (documented or not) generate more in taxes than they receive in social services, but that's a statistic that may run counter to people's anecdotal observations.

Finally, I know I'm unlikely to change any minds, and I might just be asking for trouble. But I hate standing there like an idiot going, "uh-huh, sure." Is there a response I can give that just might engage one person in a conversation and, perhaps, to re-evaluate their stance?
You're wasting your time IMO. Pretty much all the stuff the right stands for is at root about identity politics. Immigration, guns, welfare, crime, etc. is all a way for them to reject those scary, lazy 'others'.

Immigration is bothersome to them because it means a bunch of brown skinned foreigners are living in 'their' america.

You can't win. As of 2019 the democratic party is the party of multiculturalism and the GOP is the party of white identity politics. You can't win people over who subscribe to white identity politics to get them to vote for a party of multiculturalism.
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Old 09-16-2019, 05:57 PM
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  #34  
Old 09-16-2019, 06:12 PM
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You're wasting your time IMO. Pretty much all the stuff the right stands for is at root about identity politics. Immigration, guns, welfare, crime, etc. is all a way for them to reject those scary, lazy 'others'.

Immigration is bothersome to them because it means a bunch of brown skinned foreigners are living in 'their' america.

You can't win. As of 2019 the democratic party is the party of multiculturalism and the GOP is the party of white identity politics. You can't win people over who subscribe to white identity politics to get them to vote for a party of multiculturalism.
I trust that when you say I'm wasting my time, you mean in trying to engage with a Trump voter, and not the whole canvassing process.

But even then I'm inclined to disagree. I know I'm never going to change anyone's mind on the spot, but if I can demonstrate an open-minded willingness to engage on an issue a voter says is important, maybe I can also demonstrate that there's a sensible other side to the issue he or she may not have considered. Maybe that's the beginning of a long process ending on election day next year with someone taking a few extra seconds before checking that R box ... or not.

Likely? No. But, as I said to my wife, "it's that or beat them to death with my clipboard."
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Old 09-16-2019, 07:49 PM
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I think you are aleady on to part of this: you aren’t going to change any opinion on the spot. It takes people time to change their mind. But if they hear it from you, it sticks around. After a while, they won’t remember they heard it from you, but they will remember hearing it.
You can also slightly change the track their thinking on the subject runs on. “If you had to choose, would you prefer we try to stop people at the border, or we eliminate access to your tax dollars by illegals.”
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Old 09-16-2019, 08:44 PM
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You can't win.
Sure as shit not with that attitude you can't. That's quitter talk.

Akaj, I was very sincere in my earlier post. If you want to start to break down the barriers? Don't push back. Just ask questions - not leading ones - and listen. Most people - doesn't matter the political persuasion - just want a chance to speak and be heard.

Simply by reaching out and listening, some small segment of the people you're talking to will become more willing to then accept what you say. So ask questions, speak little, and be empathetic to what they're saying. Sometimes it'll be hard. But give them a chance to be heard. A great many people choose extreme positions because they feel disenfranchised. Allow them your time and make clear you hear them with understanding. It will work. Not on everyone and not all the time, but it'll work. I do it myself fairly often.
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Old 09-16-2019, 10:14 PM
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I've been canvassing voters in a swing state. More than three quarters of those who support Trump cite immigration as their top issue. I'll paraphrase what one said to me:

"We shouldn't have to put up with all these 'illegal' immigrants. [He actually made air quotes.] I don't like that I go to work and my money supports illegals. I don't know about you, but that's not why I go to work."

I know immigration is a complex issue, and it's easy to view it simplistically along these lines. "They shouldn't be here, so why should my taxes pay for anything they receive in social services?" I also know this storyline is false, since immigrants (documented or not) generate more in taxes than they receive in social services, but that's a statistic that may run counter to people's anecdotal observations.

Finally, I know I'm unlikely to change any minds, and I might just be asking for trouble. But I hate standing there like an idiot going, "uh-huh, sure." Is there a response I can give that just might engage one person in a conversation and, perhaps, to re-evaluate their stance?
Try directing them here.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:17 AM
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Sure as shit not with that attitude you can't. That's quitter talk.

Akaj, I was very sincere in my earlier post. If you want to start to break down the barriers? Don't push back. Just ask questions - not leading ones - and listen. Most people - doesn't matter the political persuasion - just want a chance to speak and be heard.

Simply by reaching out and listening, some small segment of the people you're talking to will become more willing to then accept what you say. So ask questions, speak little, and be empathetic to what they're saying. Sometimes it'll be hard. But give them a chance to be heard. A great many people choose extreme positions because they feel disenfranchised. Allow them your time and make clear you hear them with understanding. It will work. Not on everyone and not all the time, but it'll work. I do it myself fairly often.
I like this approach -- thanks again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kirkrapine View Post
Try directing them here.
Nice source -- I should brush up on these myself. Thanks for the link!
__________________
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  #39  
Old 09-17-2019, 10:00 AM
Hampshire is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Minneapolis
Posts: 11,131
Ask them why they think illegal immigrants come here.
If they agree that the answer is "jobs" ask them if they think companies should be fined for employing illegals and if company executives should face jail time.
If they agree to that ask them why they think Trump and congress are so weak on prosecuting these companies. Companies are currently being prosecuted at a rate of just one employer for every one million undocumented persons. Jail time for executives is extremely rare to almost non-existent.
Democrats aren't much better as neither party seems interested in getting tough with those flagrantly breaking employment laws.
So if illegal immigration is really these voters #1 issue they really need to ask why their party is doing next to nothing in stopping illegal employment and is more focused on giving them more tax breaks and accepting their big corporate donations.
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