- The Washington Times - Friday, November 25, 2016

A Stanford University sociology professor has developed a “liberal’s guide” to surviving the holidays with their pro-Donald Trump relatives.

“In dining rooms across the country, lifelong relationships will be tested,” Robb Willer wrote in a column this week for The Huffington Post titled, “The Liberal’s Guide For Surviving Thanksgiving 2016.”

“It is a dread felt especially by liberals and progressives,” he wrote. “With post-election feelings still raw, many of us are considering skipping family gatherings for the first time in years. Others plan to attend but avoid political talk at all costs.”


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Mr. Willer, who has been teaching sociology at Stanford since 2013, said liberals should resist the urge to avoid talking politics with their conservative family members and instead try to persuade them to abandon the president-elect.

“[W]e must begin to build a successful resistance to the Trump regime immediately,” he wrote. “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.”



Mr. Willer advised liberals to communicate respect when talking about politics, and he argued that moral reframing and evoking empathy are critical persuasion tools.

“Trump voters are mostly detached from the perspectives of undocumented immigrants and Muslim Americans,” he wrote. “If you personally know an undocumented immigrant or Muslim who is deeply concerned for their safety and well-being in Trump’s America, relating their perspective is essential.

“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,” he continued. “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…).”

Mr. Willer went on say that Mr. Trump’s victory was due in large part to the rejection of “perceived liberal elitism” and urged his fellow liberals to work to break down that stereotype.

“Ours will be a many year effort, requiring literally millions of grassroots conversations. To succeed, we will have to overcome bitter differences, forge real human connections, and build trust,” he wrote. “If we are to bring this country back from the brink it will require relentless code-switching. Our anger, determination, and resistance is important fuel, but must be reserved for like-minded groups. When we reach across the political divide, our warmth, respect, empathy, and calm are critical resources.”

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