Why You Are Failing To Convince Your Friends In Political Debate (2min read)

If you have been a human being for a while, you may have noticed that when it comes to political or religious debate there is really nothing like, “winning the debate”. Usually , 1000 exchanges later you end up in the same place you started. It is exhaustive and almost a waste of time.

No matter how many people cheered your jibes at the “opponent”, as long as you have not convinced the opponent him/herself, you won the fight and lost the war.

Today I will allow you to sit back and explore why.


See no matter how much logic your view-points may carry, your opponent will tend to find a way to trash them or ignore them and then also state view points that offer logic as well. The primary reason lies in that  political and religious decisions are emotional.

Only a very few in the populous make political or religious choices logically.

However, we support politicians emotionally and then we support our stance logically by isolating facts and opinions that support that bias.

We ignore anything that reflects otherwise.

So in essence, your friend who opposes you politically does not automatically lack intelligence. They are just selectively inclining their views to the positions that confirm a position they made emotionally.


I have noted for over a year now from observing myself and others that people tend to re-share posts that confirm their biases.

Occasionally if they don’t agree with the article they will share it but include a caption that asserts their position of disagreement.

In other words someone who thinks Marijuana should be legalized is likely to re-share a post that defends that view-point and not re-share any article that says otherwise.

I have a good friend called Mark, we agree and disagree on various topics. Recently he sent me a video on a certain viewpoint he once independently mentioned about Cyril Ramaphosa.

His caption was “These people are echoing exactly what I was saying”.

Of course he was happy that he got online and found a video which agreed with a view he has been trying to sell me.

I of course asked, “Fair enough but would you have shared the video, if it were contradicting the view?”

Everything has it’s antithesis online somewhere.

What does this mean?

It means if you are trying to make your views heard by the Emmerson Mnagagwa camp and you are pro-MDC, no amount of insults will make them change their position. It will reinforce the emotions that originally brought them to that thinking.

The same is true if you are of the Mnangagwa camp and are dying to discredit Nelson Chamisa. The more you appear to be attacking him, the more those who have defended him publicly feel the urge to protect what they have already identified with.

You have more chances of convincing people who have not made a public statement or action to endorse a candidate by using logic than you have of convincing a  person who has shown some form of allegiance whether in the form of tweets,  previous facebook posts or actually carrying a card of that party.

What to know about commitment

Whenever an individual publicly supports an idea, they therefore identify with that idea, meaning it is their identity.

So note that when you carelessly attack that idea that they stand for, they will feel attacked emotionally whether they admit it or not. Sometimes they may yield but well that may depend on the amount of commitment previously shown.

A person who already wears T-shirts with the inscriptions of whom you are attacking is  not likely to back out without a fight. They already identify with that political organization as a culture. (Please notice the word CULT in culture to get deeper context).


My personal view is, if a debate is already going in circles, conclude it  respectfully without an urge to insult or condescend the other opponent.

Sometimes the best way to win is to let people BE. Do not be dying to convince people out of their beliefs especially without sincerely understanding how they came to those beliefs.

You must accept that some people will never accept certain candidates because of previous incidents that are emotional to them. Some people may have lost relatives due to political violence in which they believe another party was responsible.

Again some people may be in business and blame economic isolation and failure to trade on the other party.

You do not call the shots on how they should react to whatever their motivations are.


Respect is earned. You cannot force anyone to respect your view point. However you can encourage tolerance by primarily tolerating theirs.

At the end of the day if all people would view the world as yourself then they would technically be you, at least ideologically. The different political views held by everyone are an exhibition of diversity of thoughts and interests.

There is no need to have feelings of hatred, but rather let us challenge each other out of love. If anything unites us, it is the need to have a better country.

What we disagree on is who can provide that best and reliably in the best interests of the majority. Well that can never be proven by a Facebook debate. It can only be proven by a free and fair election.

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