The #1 Reason to Discuss Politics with GOP Loved Ones

Even though it’s really, really hard.

Karin Tamerius
Progressively Speaking
4 min readNov 11, 2021

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Earlier this week I shared three important political reasons to talk with your Republican loved ones. Each of them — winning elections, passing legislation, and changing American culture — is critical to our nation’s future. Today let’s talk about the goal that underlies them all.

The single most important reason to discuss politics with your Republican family is to strengthen democracy. Having challenging conversations with family members who disagree with you politically can help:

1. Restore faith in our government

A significant proportion of the American public believes the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. As a result, we’re facing what political scientists call a “crisis of legitimacy.”

For democracy to function, voters must believe their voice is being heard and that the people in office are their fairly elected representatives. When that confidence is shaken it weakens the social contract binding allegiance to our laws and norms.

The events of January 6th are an example of what can happen when people no longer believe their government is duly elected — they turn to violent insurrection. We need to talk with Republicans right now to help reestablish their faith in the integrity and fairness of our electoral system.

2. Uphold democratic values

We Democrats are quick to point fingers at Republicans for embracing anti-democratic attitudes, but we also need to own up to our role in the crisis. While those on the Right may be more overtly hostile toward democratic institutions and norms, we on the Left increasingly express hostility toward democratic values.

For example, it’s not uncommon to hear the same folks fighting voter suppression in swing states question — perhaps out of fear and frustration — whether bigots and Right-wing zealots should be allowed to participate in our system at all.

But a foundational belief of democracy is that all people have a right to participate in self-governance. When we start dividing society into good and bad people — some who deserve to participate in…

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Karin Tamerius
Progressively Speaking

Political psychiatrist | Pragmatic progressive | Smart Politics founder (JoinSmart.org) | Speaker