Politics today are described as "tribal" — most people start with their allegiances and judge or filter each fact based on those allegiances.
First draft -- Help me write this!
There is a bit of noise on the internet about civility:
Personally, I think that the options that fall under "civility" are usually the right choice, and name-calling almost always counter-productive.
I'm not sure what our frame should be; it's not as simple, not a binary. I think groups that want Gandhi or King style resistance should be exploring ways to get us out of the civility-incivility frame. It might be best expressed with a graphic, something that we can dump into all the articles.
Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a 'Feckless Cunt' for her role in enabling and covering for atrocious Trump administration policies such as separating parents and children, an insult which blew up, and became the story:
I would do anything to help those kids;
I hate that this distracted from them,
so to them, I am also sorry.
I am skeptical that saying the president has lost it is and is "like a child" is helpful in an era of blue lies. We would actually do much better if we (liberals) steelman Trump — quite a job — but find something we can defend Trump against overreach, which at the same time makes the other accusations feel more real (it's no longer a spitting contest.) I think the accusation that "100% of the people around Trump…question his intelligence and fitness for office" is already being disputed by some people who would have to be in the 100%.
Encourage politicians to find their spines.
Summary: Ending political conversations with an invite to participate in a mutual activity together seems to take the edge off.
Questions are one of the most powerful tools for mind-changing conversations. Asking someone why they believe in something, encouraging them to list the reasons (so you can argue with their reasons) is not typically effective. Instead of asking someone why they believe in a certain policy, especially a complex one, ask them to explain how their policy will work.
Two recommended communication techniques are to isolate trolls and to stick to your frame and values. These ideas are often in tension:
For example when neo-Nazis and white nationalists grab torches and march through our streets, we can isolate them and their supporters relatively easily, or talk about institutionalized and unconscious bias — where we have a lot of work to do before there is near-universal agreement.