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Changing the world by changing minds. Writer & activist. Smart Politics founder. Expert in political psychology & psychiatry. JoinSmart.org

Stop 90% of Right-wing trolling easily without blocking

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash (cropped by author)

Bad news: Right-wing trolls are ubiquitous. Good news: They can be tamed.

How often does this happen? You’re discussing the upcoming election on Facebook or Twitter when a Trump supporter…

  • swears and calls you names
  • sneers with contempt in smug, dismissive comments
  • implies you’re a bad person or questions your motives

Uh oh, you’ve got trolls.

But don’t immediately reach for the block button. The impulse to silence folks with even a whiff of the troll about them is understandable — laudable even. Not only are our time and emotional energies limited but engaging with trolls can make the infestation worse by feeding them the very thing they seek: our attention. …


The science behind why your attempts at persuasion fail — and what to do instead.

Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash

To change hearts and minds, stop making these common mistakes and start doing what works.

All over America, Democrats are working hard to elect Biden and an important part of that effort is persuading people that voting for Trump is a mistake.

While persuasion is a critical component of any winning strategy, our methods often make things worse, putting us on a war-like footing with the Trump supporters in our lives. …


Here are 3 ways you can help them get there.

Photo by Max Letek on Unsplash

The past 48 hours have been extraordinary. Just as Democrats’ stunning victories in Georgia were beginning to sink in, our greatest fear was manifested in a violent attack on the Capitol incited by President Trump.

At a government level, what needs to happen now is clear: Pence and the Cabinet need to invoke the 25th Amendment or Congress must impeach and remove the president from office.

But the problem before us is not simply one of governance. This isn’t just about a single wildly incompetent leader. We are confronting a crisis of legitimacy. The fundamental consensus that normally undergirds our…


Before casting your ballot, please consider this.

Photo by sippakorn yamkasikorn on Unsplash

You’ve probably already made up your mind about who to vote for in this presidential election. That’s okay. I’m not going to tell you what to do or pressure you to change your vote or make you feel bad about your decision. You’re as qualified to determine the future of this country as I am. All I ask is that you take a few minutes to hear what I have to say.

As you know, my political views are very different from yours. On the spectrum of national politics, I’m about as far Left as they come. I want universal…


3 things to ask voters on social media this week.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Want a Biden win? Out with polarizing Trump memes, in with thoughtful questions.

The biggest mistake Democrats make in trying to influence voters is talking about what’s wrong with Donald Trump rather than what’s right with Joe Biden. As I explained in “To Crush Trump, Stop Attacking Him,” Biden’s the only candidate we should be discussing. Voters have made up their minds about Trump, but they’re still learning about Biden.

Lecturing doesn’t win votes. Instead, practice informing voters without causing boredom or defensiveness. …


(And one article that will inspire you to do it.)

As we enter the home stretch of the presidential election race, it’s time to capture every Biden vote we can with one final push. To help you make the most of these remaining days, Progressively Speaking has gathered our best advice for persuading Right-leaning voters.

Source: David Adam Kess via Wikimedia Commons

“How to Persuade a Trump Voter” by Karin Tamerius

Using social psychologist Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of “the rider and the elephant,” Tamerius explains why reason fails in political conversations. Though we like to think our rational minds make decisions based on objective analysis of information, in reality most of our opinions are emotional intuitions rationalized with logic and evidence after the fact. As a…


Swing voters from Trump to Biden with the Persuasion Pyramid

Classic political cartoon (1930) (modified by author)

The Trump presidency is sinking. Here’s a step-by-step guide for convincing your family and friends to jump ship.

Conventional wisdom says it’s too late to persuade Republicans to vote for Joe Biden so we should focus exclusively on voter turnout from here out. Don’t believe it. While a stranger standing on your mom’s porch may have little chance of swinging her vote, you still can. In fact, now is the perfect moment to ask Right-leaning loved ones to vote Democrat — if you do it right.

What makes this the perfect moment?


Biden is the only candidate you should discuss with voters.

Photo by Erik Mclean on Unsplash

Our obsession with Trump is the biggest obstacle to victory.

If you’re like most Democrats, you spend a lot of time talking about Trump. You want every voter you meet to know exactly how horrific his presidency has been, so you share the facts: Hundreds of thousands dead from Covid-19, peaceful protesters gassed in front of the White House, mockery and disrespect for our troops, and so much more. Surely if voters just understood reality, Biden would win in a landslide.

There’s just one problem: Telling voters how awful Trump is doesn’t work. Worse still, in some cases, it actually makes people more likely to vote for him.

Here’s why.

1) Most voters have made up their minds about Trump already


Two times when a vote against Biden is a vote for him

Photo by Raquel Martínez on Unsplash

Get strategic with independent and Republican voters.

I’m a bit of a heretic among Democrats because I believe we should actively promote third-party voting in certain cases.

Yes, third-party votes have cost Democrats presidential elections. Without Ralph Nader and Jill Stein, we would have had Presidents Al Gore in 2000 and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

But third-party voting isn’t inherently good or bad. Rather, it plays out differently depending on the electoral conditions. Remember, for example, Ross Perot’s candidacy probably helped Bill Clinton. So, in the here and now, how can third parties help Biden win and Trump lose? And what should Democrats be doing about it?


How and why I polish my pieces after they go live.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Old way: Edit until it shines. New way: Edit until it’s “good-enough.”

When I started blogging 18 months ago, I rewrote every piece half a dozen times before hitting the publish button. I feared sending my ideas out in public until they were perfect so I obsessed over every phrase, every headline, every image.

In some ways, this painstaking approach served me well. Starting from zero, I’ve built a following of 1,500 by delivering reliably high-quality work. Almost all of my pieces are curated and I’m a top writer in five categories. …

Karin Tamerius

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