Communication Empowering Women Politics

4 Things I Learned Engaging with Trump Supporters on Facebook

Recently, I wrote a post titled How to Communicate Facts in the Age of Trump, which offered some helpful advice on communication, as well as insight into the psyche and motivations of conservatives. As a data-gathering expedition, I decided to test my own advice and engage some Trump defenders on Facebook. Here's what I found.

Recently, I wrote a post titled How to Communicate Facts in the Age of Trump which offered some helpful advice on communication, as well as insight into the psyche and motivations of conservatives.

As a data-gathering expedition, I decided to test my own advice and engage some Trump defenders on Facebook. Here’s what I found:

  • If they’re commenting just to be mean, they won’t respond to your request for more communication.

  • They like to change the topic of conversation. (This is a YUGE-ly used strategy to put you on the defensive.)

  • They can sometimes seem very reasonable and even moderate their stance in response to questioning. (Until you find a Confederate flag on their Facebook page.)

  •  Much of the time they just don’t get it.

Let’s take each bullet point one by one.

  • If they’re commenting just to be mean, they won’t respond to your request for more communication.

kohls under armour boycott trump

  • They like to change the topic of conversation.

    The Trump defender in this case is referring to Bernie Sanders:

Trump clean water ruleimg_0025

In this example, the Trump administration’s ties to Russia turned into a Breitbart-inspired referral to Soros:

Trump russia stay on topic

  • They can sometimes seem very reasonable and even moderate their stance in response to questioning.

    In response to the Mike Pence AOL email hack:

    screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-10-46-26-amscreen-shot-2017-03-04-at-10-46-56-amscreen-shot-2017-03-04-at-10-47-13-am

Until you visit their Facebook page and find this:

screen-shot-2017-03-04-at-10-38-34-am

  • Much of the time they just don’t get it.

img_0028img_0029

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To recap, I learned:

  • If they’re commenting just to be mean, they won’t respond to your request for more communication.

  • They like to change the topic of conversation. (This is a YUGE-ly used strategy to put you on the defensive.)

  • They can sometimes seem very reasonable and even moderate their stance in response to questioning. (Until you find a Confederate flag on their Facebook page.)

  •  Much of the time they just don’t get it.

It was seriously difficult to stick to my 4 suggestions for communication, listed in this previous blog post. But I learned some very valuable information by engaging Trump supporters in Facebook discussion. If you try to engage (which I suggest because we have to keep the facts from becoming lost in the shuffle), DO NOT LET YOURSELF BE REDIRECTED. As stated above, this is a strategy used by Trump supporters that is meant to put you on the defensive.

In the (not quite) words of that Star Wars guy at the end of A New Hope: “Stay on Topic. Stay on Topic.” And may the force be with you as you continue on in this new resistance.

Have you tried to engage in discussion with a Trump supporter? How did it go?

Do you have any strategies that worked? That didn’t?

Please like and comment below.

Janette DeFelice, MD, MA is a writer currently focusing on how the changing environment affects our health. Her essay collection Resistance Essays from the Heartland and her new novel Delia Rising: A Ballet in Three Acts are both available now. She has also published at Be The Change Mom, ChicagoNow, and Medium.com. She holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Chicago Medical School and a Master’s degree in Humanities from the University of Chicago, where her major essay was Hegel and Ibsen: The Evolution of Consciousness in Ibsen’s Prose Play Cycle. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Indiana University. A former professional dancer, former adjunct Humanities professor, and former lecturer in Medical Clinical Skills, as well as a mom of 9-year-old twins, she currently finds herself at a career/life crossroads at which she is trying to figure out how to use all aspects of herself (her art, her medical and scientific knowledge, her philosophical explorations, her interest in popular culture as a teaching tool, and her unique perspective) for the good of humanity.

3 comments on “4 Things I Learned Engaging with Trump Supporters on Facebook

  1. You could probably have made this post much shorter of you just titled it like this:

    1 Thing I Learned Engaging with Trump Supporters on Facebook – DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME ON IT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Am I going to change anyone’s mind? I highly doubt it. But I can’t see letting people get away with spreading false information without a rebuttal. It’s almost like letting some creep touch your hair and not telling them to stop–they will think they have a license to touch you in more places!

      And I have learned some interesting things. (Mostly that people believe weird shit if they like the information source.) Learning what these people believe and how they think has helped me refine my own arguments and knowledge. For what it’s worth.

      Like

  2. Pingback: Teaching Kids Why Facts Matter – Be The Change Mom

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