Nov 22, 2021 | Kierra Powell

The holidays are usually a time for good food, fun, and increasingly in recent years…avoiding political conversations. According to YouGov, Americans rank politics as one of the top reasons for family arguments during the holidays. But with studies showing an increased divide between personal beliefs and political party ideologies, is there a chance we have more in common with the opposite side than we think? 

In a country of more than 300 million people, YouGov says that only 31% of Americans say that the Democratic Party or Republican Party, or, rarely, both have views that are “about the same” as theirs. That leaves almost 70% of the country outside the current two-party political system, even when they claim a specific party affiliation. Which may leave you asking, how can we still be so divided? Well, much of the division comes from the solutions to the issues, rather than the issues themselves. For example, most Americans want to see affordable healthcare for all, increased spending for education, and reduced national debt but there’s little agreement on how to make these things happen. A more united and respectful national civic discourse can start at home.

With that in mind, here are a few things to consider when entering political conversations from opposing sides: 

  • Are issues or emotions driving the conversation? Finding common ground can be hard when tensions are high, so it may be good to chart a plan for navigating these conversations. 
  • Take some time to think through the personal experiences connected to your stance and stay open to hearing opposing views. Attempting to create a mutual understanding based on personal experience can be more beneficial than spiraling into a heated debate on data. 
  • However, there are certain topics where there may be no common ground, and we support setting healthy boundaries to protect one’s peace. But where possible, let’s focus on putting constructive conversation back on the table this year.