The old saying goes that you shouldn't talk about politics with friends, and for the first time, Gayle is having a tough time keeping her cool while debating about the 2008 presidential election. "I'm finding myself coming unhinged," Gayle says. Daniel Kurtzman, political satirist and author of the books How to Win a Fight with a Conservative
and How to Win a Fight with a Liberal
, talks with Gayle about how to survive—and win—in political arguments.
- Fight with humor. "It's a great way to disarm your opponent," David says. "If you can make them laugh, they'll be much more likely to listen to the next thing you have to say." Daniel says Jon Stewart is a good example of someone who uses humor in an argument.
- Ask a rhetorical question. Put them on the spot. When you can put someone on the defensive like that, Daniel says, that's how you can begin to seize control of the debate and get the upper hand.
- Keep it simple. "This is one area where I feel the Obama campaign has been pretty effective," Daniel says. "Their core message, at this point, is: 'John McCain is more of the same.' It's easy to latch onto; it's not a 10-point plan." A long winded, nuanced, complex argument is a guaranteed ticket to disaster, Daniel says.
- Don't become overly emotional. Daniel says if your goal is to try to be persuasive, set aside some of the emotion to move toward the argument.
- Don't become conspiratorial. Avoid the common tendency to discuss conspiracies about the candidates. "There are so many good arguments to seize on, why go toward those kinds of crazy arguments that will discredit you?" Daniel asks.