Oct 13, 2021Liked by Chris J. Karr, David Thornton

"Whatever the reason, personal attacks against possibly persuadable voters can end up backfiring. I noticed a long time ago that polling shows that neither conservatives nor liberals have a majority in any of the 50 states. A 2019 Gallup poll showed that Mississippi was the exception with 50 percent of respondents claiming to be conservative. For at least 49 states, however, both parties have to win over some moderate voters outside their ideological bases.

All that is another way of saying that moderates are the ultimate deciders of elections. As you look at pre-election polls, very often neither candidate polls at more than 50 percent. In those cases, it is the undecided voters who wait until the last minute to make a decision that determine the ultimate outcome of the election.

And it might be that quite a few of those voters have been turned off from one side or the other by people who called them a “RINO,” a “fascist,” a “communist,” a “racist,” a “socialist,” or a “retard.” Maybe the armchair political warriors think that insulting potential voters will win them over, but it’s more likely that the attacks only harden them into their old beliefs. An old saying that, “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” seems to have been forgotten by participants of the flame wars."

If you look at the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, the outcomes represent a common denominator race to the bottom, with the victorious candidate having managed to convince enough voters that he or she is the least worst option. And that their opponent will mean the end of America. Both Trump and Biden won about the same number of electoral votes(both won 306-232 before faithless electors revised the 2016 results to 304-227). Trump eked out a win mainly because his opponent was Hillary Clinton, who was one of the worst presidential candidates ever. The biggest benefit the GOP got for having Hillary at the top of the Dem ticket, was them only dropping from 247 to 241 House seats, and 54 to 52 Senate Seats in 2016. Overall, it wasn't a decisive win for the GOP. Biden's victory was larger as he actually won the popular vote, by 4.4 percent, but only 40000 plus votes in 3 states meant the difference between a Trump reelection and a Biden win. And the Dems suffered unexpected double digit loss of seats in the House, almost losing their majority. The Dems went crazy left and woke, and them and Biden never made a persuasive case for their agenda. All they had to do was say they were not Trump, and that was enough to win against a self-destructive incumbent President.

When it comes to the art of persuasion, the first name that comes to my mind is Ronald Reagan. They didn't call him the "Great Communicator" for nothing. He constantly through his speeches and other actions tried to make the case and build support for the policies he and conservatives wanted to advance. When one listens to a lot of his speeches, you can tell that Reagan focused on the undecided, and those who opposed his actions/policies. His goal was to try to win their hearts and minds. And if you look at his massive landslide wins in 1980 and 1984, one can conclude that Reagan had much success in doing just that. The term "Reagan Democrat" became a reality. Trump's 2016 win and Biden's 2020 win pale compared to Reagan's two landslide wins. And Bush Sr.'s 1988 win, while smaller than Reagan's was also a landslide in its own right. For the GOP in 2016 and the Dems in 2020, it was mostly, "vote for me, I'm not the other guy" With Presidents of another era, particularly Reagan, it was about winning hearts and minds.

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Oct 13, 2021Liked by Chris J. Karr, David Thornton

"The incident stuck in my mind because it is a good example of how both sides debate these days. There might be a perfunctory attempt to argue the facts, but discussions with most people quickly degenerate to name-calling. This is especially true on the internet but it also happens in real life. For example, I remember earlier this year when my barber got very upset because I didn’t believe COVID vaccines were the Mark of the Beast. I ended up leaving mid-haircut to avoid a very visible and long lasting outcome."

Was this barber someone you went regularly for haircuts, so he knew your views prior? Did he initiate the Covid Truther convo, or was it something you said that lead him to assert that? I've had some real life political disagreements that didn't end in an amicable manner, but never involved someone with a pair of scissors close to my scalp.

"There are a couple of other possibilities as well. One is that people might think that browbeating their debate opponents will intimidate them into changing their minds. Another uncharitable possibility is that a lot of internet debaters just aren’t that smart and after they regurgitate their talking points, they have nothing to fall back on aside from personal attacks."

I've noticed that some people who act in a vitriolic manner in a political debate online, are far more timid and weak willed in person. Real world interaction is a completely different dynamic, and there is this lack of anonymity and privacy that shields the person from facing the music.

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Oct 12, 2021Liked by Chris J. Karr, David Thornton

I thought Hippocrates told us to "First, do no harm."

The last sentence of your main topic needs editing, too.

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