Step 1: Find some common ground. Stossel once told us all that:
“Government is like somebody who jumps in front of a parade and says ‘I lead the parade.” Before you try to acknowledge the opposition, take a mental note (and remind your friend) of the tribalism aspect behind political parties. Some of us wear our political party on our sleeves, for others it is a hidden passion. Regardless, it is important to always remember that no one is 100% Democrat, Republican, Green Party, or Libertarian party. The Libertarian Party is no exception to this tribalistic purist mindset.
Now that we have established that we are not defined by our political affiliation, the key to winning the opposition’s support is to first focus on the views that you share in common. With liberals you’ll be focusing on the drug war, immigration, a woman’s right to choose, marriage and social equality, and ending the Patriot Act. Whereas if you’re trying to sway a more conservative voter, you should be talking about economic freedom, free trade, cutting taxes, auditing the Federal Reserve, and following the Constitution.
Step 2: Offer realistic alternatives
Often times, the Libertarian Party is overlooked as any kind of serious alternative because we have a messaging problem. When we are supposed to be the principled party – the logical alternative – yet our candidate states on national television that a Jewish baker should be forced to bake a Nazi cake – it makes us appear clueless and unprincipled. One of the main causes for the hesitation of potentially interested liberals and conservatives to join the LP is that our answer is always to leave it to the individual. This scares the hell out of many people. Your average American voter is pretty cozy with the federal government, if not – completely dependent on it. These people need to be weened off the fed, rather than removed cold turkey – as the libertarian approach would have us do.
When I’m talking to my liberal friends about ending social security, I’m also pointing out how much money was donated to charity the year prior, and providing examples of hospitals funded completely through charity that do amazing things such as offer prosthetics to people who could otherwise not ever afford them. The key to winning the hearts of the undecided voter lies in giving them a vision where the individual is empowered.
Step 3: Don’t be an asshole
This is fairly self explanatory. You will never sway the mind of your opponent by personally attacking their appearance or character. Don’t let a troll bring you down to their level of embarrassment. We have long been the silent voice of logic and reason, and this is not likely to change.
As always be polite and respectful. It is when you burn bridges that you guarantee that they will never show interest in the party again.