If there’s one news item you can’t miss these days, it’s the 2016 Presidential election. Whether it’s TV news or social media, pals and pundits alike are weighing in minute-by-minute on debate debacles, primary results, and controversies from Super Tuesday.
With all this going on, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes. Not sure of the latest political jargon? Want to polish your small talk? Here are 12 fool-proof tips for talking politics at a dinner party.
1. Forgo the traditional flowers and greet the host with a heavy bouquet of national newspapers. Explain that in this fast-paced, globalized world, it’s crucial to stay informed.
2. Show your knowledge of democracy by electing a President, Vice President, and full Cabinet for the party. Periodically hold referendums in the kitchen.
3. When meeting new people, introduce yourself as “Bernie Trump. Sorry, Hillary Sanders. My apologies, those aren’t my names! I can’t get politics off my mind. Anyways, politics, yes?”
4. Make a big show of editing the Wikipedia page for The absence of bicameralism in the state structure of Nebraska on your phone while at the dinner table. When someone asks you to please pass the potatoes, say, “Just one moment, sorry, I have to correct an annotation about quorums in the lower house.”
5. Assemble a miniature Congress out of cutlery on the refreshments table. Call it the Cutlery Congress.
6. Make sure everyone at the party has a chance to see your Top 3 voting outfits. Remind them the general election is a long way away, and you may not go with that color.
7. When you feel out of your depth in the conversation, loudly turn on a politics podcast. Point enthusiastically at your phone. Nod sombrely when necessary.
8. Set up a conference call with your Politics 101 professor from undergrad. Ask her when you can go for that coffee to have a catch-up and talk Socrates.
9. If someone begins to suspect that you may not know what you’re talking about, assure them that you binge-watched season 3 of House of Cards last night.
10. Respond to all points of view with “Yes, I agree. And isn’t the chive dip delicious?”
11. Chair a debate between the host’s cat and dog in the living room. Go straight for the important issues. Use this as an opportunity to show how differences can be resolved.
12. If all else fails: sneak out early for pizza.
Enough silliness – these tips won’t help you at all! For some real political insights, try How To Run a Country: 4 Ideas From Extraordinary Americans. Or better yet, pick up The Politics Book. From ancient and medieval philosophers like Confucius and Thomas Aquinas, to revolutionary thought leaders such as Thomas Jefferson and Leon Trotsky, to the voices who have shaped modern politics today, The Politics Book clearly and simply explains more than 100 groundbreaking ideas in the history of political thought.