One of the things I’ve found fascinating throughout the election and beyond, is the extent to which people are, or aren’t persuadable.
- Is there really such a thing as a swing voter?
- What makes people change their minds?
- What are the lines in the sand that trigger reversals of opinion?
- When we sit around talking about politics with people who disagree with us, are we just wasting our time?
In the aftermath of the election, few things have felt more urgent to liberals than to understand why people voted as they did and the need to try to persuade the persuadable.
But is this a lost cause?
Quartz recently published an article on the scientific! proven! way to have conversations across party lines. And then an article in The Atlantic posited that instead of being all conversational maybe you really should just call people racist.
Color me a bit skeptical that there’s a formula to persuasion. When people are confronted with information that runs counter to their pre-conceived ideas, don’t most people tend to double-down? Don’t most people decide first with their gut and then back into the evidence?
But people do change their mind, don’t they? What happens when they do?