How to Debate a Republican

This guide on how to debate Republicans is mostly written towards arguing on Facebook, Reddit and discussion forums. Twitter, with its short character count, doesn't lend itself as well to having meaningful debates on issues.

There is no convincing right-wingers to vote for the Democratic party but you can make it less likely they vote or more likely to support certain liberal policies. Or by exposing them in debate, you can influence those who read your arguments and are on the fence to support Democrats and progressive policies. Perhaps an unmotivated liberal or independent is spurred to vote in their first election or mid-term by how extreme people they know were revealed to be.

There is some risk to embarrassing a right-winger in debate as they could unfriend or block you preventing you from calling them out in the future. It's similar to a famous quote from poker legend Amarillo Slim “You can shear a sheep a hundred times, but you can skin it only once” in that if you take too much money too often from a player they won't play you anymore. Also, due to a psychological reaction called cognitive dissonance, right-wingers may get very uncomfortable when confronted with information that contradicts their false worldview. So they may block you to protect their delicate psyche with politics.

Of course, with random right-wing strangers, there is no concern here so in that case embarrass at will.

With all that in mind, here are some tactics you can use to win debates against Republicans on the Internet:

Get Other Conservatives to Refute an Extreme Post

If a right-winger posts something really extreme, another tactic you can use is to get other conservatives to join in on refuting it. You could respond with lines such as:

“Do any conservatives disagree with this or is this what you all believe now?”

Or you could try a goading approach:

“So I guess this is now a mainstream belief that every conservative believes in these days.”
“Any conservative going to stand up to this or is this what you all believe in now?”
“The reason you don't see many\any other conservatives calling this out here is because they all strongly believe it.”

Always Like Posts From Liberals but Never Conservatives

Liked or upvoted posts will be viewed more often and so if anyone shares a pro liberal post or comment, it is helpful to the cause to “like” it in some form if you agree (do not spam & over-like -- always be genuine). Similarly, it is bad for the cause to ”like” posts by conservatives which also includes the angry or wow emoticons. The angry and wow buttons do not mean you are angry at what was posted or could not believe someone could actually believe such a thing and to Facebook; it instead means you endorse what was posted and it made you angry or wowed. It's important to be good about likes and comments as Facebook's algorithms favor conservative outrage pandering posts over liberal content. So, if you see a good post supporting liberal positions while scrolling through comments, smash that like button on the way down.

For websites where down votes are an option, we recommend using this only when there is extremism or misinformation in the post and not merely you dislike some specific policy.

  • Avoid Engaging Directly with the Person You are Debating

    If a conservative you are debating is unlikely to change their mind from irrational positions, explain why they are wrong to everyone else and avoid engaging directly with them by name or "@" tag.
  • Avoid Mistakes when Debating Republicans

    You can have a strong winning argument with overwhelming logic and facts on your side, but if a conservative finds some mistake -- no matter how minor - they will use it as an excuse to discount what you wrote.
  • Call Out Egregious Spelling Mistakes by Conservatives

    If a right-winger goes on an obvious irrational rant with obvious egregious spelling mistakes, one tactic is to initially respond with just the correct spelling preceded by an asterisk.
  • Dissuade Conservatives from Using Dishonest\Extremist Sources

    When refuting a post by a conservative consider also dissuading them from using disreputable sources they cited. Showing a source has engaged in conspiracy theories or bigoted rhetoric may actually convince moderate Republicans to stop using it.
  • Goad Conservatives into Extremist Rhetoric

    If a Republican exhibits unpopular, extremist beliefs there is no changing their minds, and so the best tactic is to instead goad them into saying worse stuff that results in consequences.
  • How to React to Being Called Sheep or Sheeple by Actual Sheep

    It has been so deemed from official The Bastion Laws of Debating on the Internet that 99% of the people who use the term "sheeple" in political debate are in fact the actual "sheeple." This applies similarly with the less pejorative "sheep."
  • Present Republican Words as Your Own to Win Debates

    Find quotes from Republicans that criticize other Republicans or support liberal positions on issues and then post those words exactly as if they are your own. Any false attempts to discredit your argument will be exposed when you reveal that the words came from a conservative instead.
  • Reframe Republican Misdeeds as Committed by Democrats

    Write out something bad Republicans did but as a trick replace their names with Democrats. The idea is that conservatives will reflexively attack anything bad about Republicans so you trick them into thinking it is about Democrats instead. And then you later reveal that you swapped the names out as a ploy.
  • Patronize Fake Sincerity with Excessive Desire to Help

    If someone presents a disingenuous problem in debate, show an excessive, over the top amount of empathy, solutions and desire to help. If the problem is actually genuine, they will consider your response as genuine as well and the patronizing will go over their head. But if you correctly guessed they were dishonest, then they should interpret your actions as "patronizing". This creates a dilemma where your debate mark can remain quiet while you continue to patronize them or react with anger which exposes their initial dishonesty.
  • Trick Republicans into Falsely Claiming Liberal Media Bias

    When you have an opportunity to debunk a Republican online, purposely post from a liberal source first if you know there are conservative sources debunking the same thing. If they discount it as "liberal media bias," then you respond with links to conservative sources. They then have to argue that the conservative site is biased\wrong or concede that the original source was correct. This works especially well if you use a source your conservative debate mark has also used before.
  • Use Your Debate Opponents Own Words Against Them

    Conservatives are very vulnerable to hypocrisy and so you can use their past words against them if they conflict with things they say now. It is quite the challenge to refute something that you yourself has stated in the past.