You voted for Trump. You're super-excited to Make America Great Again™.

Your relative voted for Clinton. She's a charter member of Pantsuit Nation.

Or maybe it's vice-versa--you were for Clinton, your relative was for Trump. For purposes of this article, it doesn't matter.

What does matter? Thanksgiving.

The food. The autumn chill. The football. The wine and desserts.

And--okay, let's face it--the arguments.

Because no matter how many Kumbaya articles you'll read over the next few days, a lot of us will be pulled into political debate over Thanksgiving. So, what do you do? Here are seven brutal truths about Thanksgiving political arguments, should you choose to engage.

1. The numbers are against you.

Face it: You're highly unlikely to convince your relatives who supported the wrong candidate to change their political ideology in a single conversation.

So maybe aim for something a bit lower: Not letting them make a fool of you and your beliefs (more on that below) perhaps, or even gently nudging others who are listening in to consider your point of view.

2. You'll have to listen.

Time is limited, passions are high, and these are people you care about, even if you only eat one meal a year with them. So, if your conversation is going to drift toward politics, your number one goal should be to listen.

Yes, listen. Let your relatives have their say. If things get a little too heated, be the bigger person and pivot. Make a joke, pass the potatoes, and talk about the NFL.

3. It's a competition.

Despite the fact that you need to temper what you can potentially achieve, it's also important to remember that a Thanksgiving political argument is a competition. Hopefully a friendly competition, but a competition nonetheless.

So make sure you know your facts. For example, if you're a Trump supporter, be able to discuss immigration intelligently. If you voted for Clinton, be able to talk about how she failed to connect with middle America.

4. He who frames the debate usually wins.

The most important argument is often the first one: the argument about what it is that you're actually arguing about. Think about that ahead of time, and keep coming back to it. The argument you want to have is the one you're most likely to win.

5. There's a reason why people hate cable news.

Oh my God, the screaming and spewing. Instead of following that example, remember that you can introduce emotion to an argument in a constructive way. In short, you want to pull on your adversary's emotions, rather than introduce your own emotion to the debate.

In other words--let your argument prompt a tear in their eye, rather than crying or displaying emotion yourself.

6. Alcohol makes every Thanksgiving argument go more smoothly.

No, wait--the opposite of that! Don't be like this guy:


7. You might have to be willing to concede.

Be the bigger person. Thanksgiving this year will be a ridiculous, self-contradictory event if politics enters the fray. So remember that you might want to back off and even concede an argument--at least agree to disagree--in order to get through the evening together.

In my case if you're wondering, I won't be engaging anyone over politics this Thanksgiving. Instead, I'll return to a completely uncontroversial topic:

Why Tom Brady is the best quarterback every to play in the NFL game and the New England Patriots, which every red-blooded, right-thinking American loves and roots for, will definitely win Super Bowl LI. (Discuss.)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Published on: Nov 23, 2016
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