How “deep canvassing” works to change people’s minds on issues

How do you change someone’s mind on contentious issues like gun control, Obamacare, and military spending? It’s not easy, but it is possible to slightly shift people’s political attitudes. You must use arguments that resonate with the person you are trying to convince, use their morals against them, and listen to them.

Above, a real-life example of “deep-canvassing” by the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

From Vox:

In the video above, notice how the voter starts to come around on the issue when the canvasser asks if she’s ever been on the receiving end of discrimination. She talks about being picked on at work and feeling different. He responds by telling his own story of being discriminated against for being gay. It’s a real heart to heart between strangers.

And in that moment, the canvasser points out that a transgender nondiscrimination law would help people who feel discriminated against at school or work.

“Oh, okay, that makes a lot of sense,” she says.

This technique has only been proven to work with identity issues, like transgender rights. It’s hard to say how to adapt it for talking a relative out of their support for gun control.

But the main message of the strategy couldn’t hurt to try: Listen to people, get them to think about their own experience, and highlight your common humanity.

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