Why your political discussions go nowhere

(Photo: Lori A. Cheung)

(Photo: Lori A. Cheung)

Researcher Robb Willer shares why we often can’t convince “the other side” — no matter our political affiliation.

Watch his whole talk below:


  1. Dom Burger

    A little one sided for a talk that really needed to be bang down the middle. He starts off with a nice balanced argument looking at both liberal and conservative views, then finishes with saying we need to convince conservatives to come over to the liberal side!!! He’s fallen into his own trap by assuming one political view is better than another, something that unfortunately almost every other liberal makes. The first thing that needs to happen is both liberals and conservatives need to understand that they need each other, as does almost every other aspect of life. There always needs to be a balance. If we all moved to one political set of ideals, the world would be in big trouble. A healthy balance of different views is essential. What we need to do is fix people’s behaviour when it comes to debating such matters, such that anyone can discuss their views openly in a grown up and responsible way without fear of being branded a racist, bigot, sexist etc. All the accusations of racism and sexism etc that we saw during Brexit and the US elections must stop. These are words that should never be used without complete certainty of the situation, and even then, what is the benefit? The liberal left were far too quick to use such words in daily conversation in an overly aggressive manner during the 2016 EU referendum and the US election to attempt to convince the right that they were in the wrong! It’s pretty obvious how this will have changed the impression non-liberals have of liberals, and it will take a long time for the dust to settle.

    • Bruce Hagen

      Dom, I’m a liberal, so maybe that’s why I didn’t hear Rob say “come over to my side”, at least not with “my side” being a policy position. I heard it more like, “since I (Rob) have already confirmed that you, my audience, are liberals, I’m suggesting that we liberals initiate this conversation with conservatives”, and that the coming over is just reciprocal willingness to really listen with an open mind and open heart.
      Bruce from Petaluma, CA, USA, and Sonoma County Chapter Co-Chair, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (which is where I learned of this TEDx.

  2. Ahmed Mohamed Bioumy

    Just one of my dreams to show presentation to help people about ( knowledge, experience and postive energy ) .. I adore volunteering, i make lots of presentations in my college and out of college, and I hope to take a step at a briefing people in TEDx .. beside thanks , sorry for prolongation :)

  3. “Hello from the other side!”A powerful pitch for creating understanding across the political divide. I teach framing and reframing in our communications courses (see my book, The Master Communicator’s Handbook). Willer gets right to the core of this complex subject, explains it beautifully, and gives us a practical way to reframe when we engage in political discussion across the liberal/conservative divide. I won’t spoil his ending, but he also does a sweet job of reframing how we perceive the political divide itself. Well done!

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