Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Samuel Alioto
Observer Staff Writer 

Stanford Professor Develops "Trump Conversion Therapy" for Your Thanksgiving Dinner Table

Sociologist Suggests Proselytizing Trump Supporters at Holiday Dinners, With an Eye to 2018 Midterm Elections

 

December 3, 2016



In a TED Talk, Dr. Robb Willer explains how to talk to your Trump supporting relatives at Thanksgiving dinner. "If all else fails, bash your Uncle over the head with a coconut."

A Stanford University Sociology professor has developed a fool proof method for converting Trump supporting relatives into Democratic voters. He urges Hillary supporters to use it on Trumper relatives they encounter at the holiday dinner table.

In the old days, young university graduates would sail the world's oceans, looking for heathens to convert to Christianity. They were no doubt as earnest as Robb Willer. In a TED Talk and a Huffington Post editorial, Willer first urges Democratic missionaries not to be confrontational or avoidant when they are amongst the unwashed Trumpsters:

"While understandable, it is essential to resist these instincts. You must attend Thanksgiving and you should engage in political conversation, especially if your family is divided politically. Why? For at least two reasons. First, because now more than ever we must rescue a sense of common humanity across political lines. Second, because we must begin to build a successful resistance to the Trump regime immediately. We have just two years until the most important midterm elections of our lives, and four years until the prospect of a more complete escape from these dark times. The millions of conversations we will need to have to affect massive change must begin now. Your Thanksgiving table should be viewed not as a Civil War battlefield, but instead as a revolutionary cell." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58329222e4b0d28e552151f2?timestamp=1479757235640

Sociology is the study of social behavior or society, including its origins, development, organization, networks, and institutions. It is a social science that uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis, to develop a body of knowledge about social order, disorder, and change. I'm not sure what any of that actually means. I just copied and pasted it from Wikipedia. I went to college on the 8 year plan.

Willer identifies himself as a Professor of Sociology, Psychology, and Organizational Behavior. As revealed in a "TED Talk," his method for Trump Conversion includes the following steps:

"1. Communicate Respect. Perhaps the biggest propellants of polarization are the deep feelings of partisan animosity felt on both the left and right.... Do not actually call your cousin a crypto-fascist," even though clearly that's what you're thinking.

2. "Use Moral Framing. As I explain in a recent TEDx talk, this involves explaining how your political position is consistent with the values of the person you're trying to persuade. My colleague Matthew Feinberg and I find that the method can be effective in persuading conservatives to take more liberal positions on same-sex marriage, national health insurance, environmental protection, and Donald Trump." Before you know it, your cousin will voluntarily switch from Dunkin Donuts to Starbucks.

3. "Offer Money. Research finds that people don't just vote their principles, they also vote their interests. Many voters this year overlooked Trump's obscenity, misogyny, and racism because they felt real economic anxiety, anxiety they believed Trump would be more likely to allay than Clinton. If your Trump-supporting uncle is working class, you can assure him that the Democratic party has heard this message (losing Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin makes it pretty unambiguous) and is working now to assemble an economic platform that will strongly support the well-being of working class Americans of all ethnicities and genders (note that we do not know that this is true yet, but if it isn't, we have even bigger problems than you lying to your uncle...)." This guy could turn a Red State into a Blue State!

4. If the above fails, bash your resistant relative over the head with a coconut. Okay, I made that up.

There is even a video entitled "why your political discussions go nowhere." Really, Robb, you think?

"If your Trump-supporting uncle is working class, you can assure him that the Democratic party has heard this message," says Professor Robb Willer

Like other lefty professors, it does not occur to Willer that voters may have gone Trump because they simply thought he was the more qualified candidate. There is a smug assumption that Hillary Clinton, for all the deceit, baggage, health problems, and well, smugness; was the only qualified choice when placed next to Trump. Perhaps that's the real reason you lost the election, Doctor Willer. Anyway, good luck with Trump Conversion Therapy, though personally I doubt it will work much better than gay conversion therapy did.

As conservative talk show host Greg Gutfeld points out, it was the PC movement that gave Trump 4 years in the White House. Keeping it up will only give him 4 more. On the other hand, all Prof Willer is really saying, is we should talk to each other, even when we don't agree politically. I disagree with his politics. But about that at least, about the need to communicate with people who don't share our views, I couldn't agree with him more.

 

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