Quantcast
Connect with us

Philosophy professor explains why being friends with people on the opposite side of the aisle could change Trump supporters

Published

on

Political analysts have spent the years since President Donald Trump’s reign wondering if the American electorate is at its most polarized in history.

Such was the question radio host Jamie Dupree said he gets asked frequently. Writing for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he argued it isn’t, noting that National Guard troops have yet to shoot and kill protesters, as happened at Kent State University in 1970.

Though, the political climate hasn’t exactly been a friendly environment for a while. America has gone from the pitting of evangelicals against LGBT people in 2004 and the swift-boating of a war hero, to the question of whether a black president was really an American. Now Americans are taking to the streets fighting a president who seems to feed the polarization for his own political gain.

One philosophy professor, however, urges befriending the opposition in efforts to change minds. In a piece for Medium, associate professor Kevin Vallier explained that “political trust” isn’t exactly the same as being reassured that if you leave your phone at a Starbucks it won’t get stolen. Instead, it’s a trust in democracy, institutions, groups, civil service workers and officials.

For those spreading conspiracy theories about “deep state” efforts to undermine Trump, the ability to be persuaded may be lost. But for the silent majority, friendship could be key in building trust not only in institutions but in accurate information over “alternative facts.”

Vallier explained it by looking at ethnic diversity. “While ethnic diversity can bear negatively on trust, this is usually due to lack of contact and local segregation,” he wrote. “When different types of people interact more, there tend to be higher levels of trust among them.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Yale researchers did an experiment in 2017 attempting to turn conservatives into liberals. What they found had more to do with the promise of physical safety. Conservatives in the study were given a description of a genie, who would grant them protection from any physical harm. When the conservatives were then asked questions about political issues on abortion, LGBT rights and immigration, their answers were more liberal when they were promised safety.

Cognitive scientist Paul Thagard went another route, explaining that the way to change minds is by “[addressing] their emotional attachment to what they believe.”

He noted that when people are first confronted with evidence contradicting their own opinions, their first response is to discount it. He urges people not to befriend, exactly, but to go into full attack-mode.

“To change people’s minds, it’s important to undermine the coherence among the things that they do believe. Make them feel worse about their current beliefs. Develop counterarguments to their most significant sources of support. Then expose them to more pieces of information that are consistent with the new belief,” he wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

That, however, has done more to embolden supporters of Trump, who view it as their responsibility to protect and defend him.

When it comes to economic inequality, Vallier said that the cause isn’t necessarily from social mistrust. It actually comes from “policies where wealth is redistributed because they see it as fair,” instead of as a reward for wealthy CEOs and corporations. Data shows people have more political trust when they’re doing better economically.

Shockingly, having a democratic system of government doesn’t necessarily guarantee high levels of political trust.

“As long as leaders manage corruption and economic performance effectively, authoritarian types of governments can actually enjoy high levels of political trust,” Vallier wrote. That can explain how countries continue to elect corrupt officials profiting off of their position.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Viewers revolt after Meghan McCain slurs Joy Behar: ‘Go back to Fox News’

Published

on

Meghan McCain dropped the B-word on air during an argument with Joy Behar, and social media users were just as shocked as the "The View" studio audience.

She and co-host Joy Behar were arguing over Trump supporters when McCain blew up.

“Being the sacrificial Republican every day,” she said. “I’m just trying to — don’t feel bad for me, bitch. I’m paid to do this, okay? Don’t feel bad for me.”

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Florida Republicans concoct a new scheme to make it harder for students to vote

Published

on

Florida Republicans do not want to make voting easy for college students — a demographic that leans heavily Democratic.

Former GOP Secretary of State Ken Detzner, an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott, took that to the extreme in 2014, with an order banning county election officials from setting up any early voting sites on college campuses. Last year, following a lawsuit by the League of Women Voters, federal District Judge Mark Walker struck down that order as an unconstitutional burden on students' voting rights. As a result, some 60,000 people were able to vote early on 11 college campuses in Florida in 2018.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Trump flips out over ‘RIGGED’ hearings as Democrats grill Hope Hicks

Published

on

President Donald Trump ranted on Twitter while his former communications director testified before the House Judiciary Committee.

Hope Hicks complied with a congressional subpoena and testified behind closed doors to the Democrat-led panel, and the president raged online as word leaked out that a White House lawyer was objecting to many of the questions about her government service.

"The Dems are very unhappy with the Mueller Report, so after almost 3 years, they want a Redo, or Do Over. This is extreme Presidential Harassment," Trump tweeted. "They gave Crooked Hillary’s people complete Immunity, yet now they bring back Hope Hicks."

Continue Reading
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

I need your help.

Investigating Trump's henchmen is a full time job, and I'm trying to bring in new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have more stories coming you'll love. Join me and help restore the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link

Investigating Trump is a full-time job, and I want to add new team members to do more exclusive reports. We have stories coming you'll love. Join me and go ad-free, while restoring the power of hard-hitting progressive journalism.

TAKE A LOOK
close-link