Stop talking politics.......please !
April 4, 2011 10:04 PM   Subscribe

What can I say to someone who wants to talk about the upcoming election, but I don't?

We have an upcoming election next month (May) in Canada. I don't mind sitting down and talking politics with someone if they will voice their point of view and then hear mine in a polite, respectful manner. But what I don't like is occasionally I run into somebody who'll just start bad mouthing another candidate without giving credible reasons. They'll say "oh that guys a nutbar" or "he'll never win so why are you wasting your vote?" What can I say to them that cuts the conversation short?

Nothing rude, crude or insulting please. Maybe something witty that just makes them stop and think, and not carry on.
posted by Taurid to Human Relations (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Sorry, I don't discuss politics.
posted by Bonzai at 10:06 PM on April 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: "I'm burnt out on politics right now." [then segue to weather, sports, television, or anything else you think will be a neutral and/or stress-free conversation]
posted by amyms at 10:10 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: "I only vote if a Muppet is running."

(Or, you know, some pop culture icon that is equally ridiculous.)
posted by phunniemee at 10:11 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

"You know what I love about this country? One can choose to vote for any candidate without having to justify it to anybody!

Don't you love democracy too?"
posted by hal_c_on at 10:16 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Depending on where you are, the following can be adapted to almost all circumstances:

A few years ago, at a party, I personally witnessed the following interaction at a hollywood-type party. A very well-known actress, who had a strained relationship with her father (though that fact was not well-known) was approached by some random film guy, who said to her: "Hi, you don't know me, but I met your father some time ago, and we talked and--" at which point she looked him straight in the eye, and cut him off with an ice cold voice "Do you know where the bar is?" I burst out laughing.

Adapt to situation as needed. For example: "Do you know where the bathroom is?". I've done that recently at a Thanksgiving at somebody's home when one of the guests started to bore me with their political opinions. I can report it works amazingly well!
posted by VikingSword at 10:17 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd avoid "I don't vote" statements, because a lot of people will take that as an affront and will try to convince you to vote. If your goal is to cut the conversation short, that may not be the way to go.
posted by you're a kitty! at 10:18 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

I have always followed the rule that sex, politics, and religion are not polite conversation for strangers.

I would change the topic in a blunt way; Hey what do you think about political something or other?"

"Well to be honest I am more worried about the radiation in japan right now, what do you think about that whole thing?" (or something more

I know its a little more ...rude, but as someone who likes to mess with people for no good reason its easy to get someone to become flustered and admit they have no idea what they are talking about. "Oh, you don't like so in so...why?"

Just keep asking about each fact they state until they fall on their own sword. No one knows everything and its a sure fire way to have them not talk with you again.
posted by Felex at 10:18 PM on April 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

My go-to move is just to tell them I'm voting for the Party Party, then change the subject while they're trying to figure it out.
posted by auto-correct at 10:24 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

You may want to first acknowledge that you've heard the other person's view point.

"Alice, I totally hear your passion against Candidate Eve. I get it. But what I was really hoping to talk to you was about curling!"
posted by veryblue1 at 1:12 AM on April 5, 2011

Easy, politely interrupt them mid rant and ask them if they've heard the good news and accepted Jesus as their personal saviour. Let them then scramble for a half baked excuse and sidle off as soon as possible. By the way, if you don't like people you don't know randomly slagging off politicians of a certain political stripe in the most abusive and personal terms without giving any semblance of reasoned argument then I'd also avoid the political threads on Metafilter.
posted by joannemullen at 4:01 AM on April 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

If the problem is really that they don't so much talk about the objective reality of the situation AS THAT THERE OPINION REALLY LOUDLY AS IF IT COULD BE MADE FACT THROUGH VOLUME ALONE! you might be able to solve your problem with this magical incantation:

[Citation Required]
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 4:25 AM on April 5, 2011

Best answer: I just smile and say "I never talk politics with people I like."
posted by dogmom at 5:17 AM on April 5, 2011 [8 favorites]

Easy, politely interrupt them mid rant and ask them if they've heard the good news and accepted Jesus as their personal saviour.

Funny, the exact kind of people I would most hate to be embroiled in a political discussion with in real life are the same people who would actually, seriously say that.
posted by phunniemee at 6:51 AM on April 5, 2011

Best answer: "Well, I see your mind is made up." and then change the topic.
posted by advicepig at 6:59 AM on April 5, 2011

Adopt a friendly, upbeat tone and immediately segue into something else without taking a breath.

"AHAHAHAha I don't talk politics so did you see [TV show] last night? Wasn't [actress] amazing?"

If they persist, carry on as if they never said anything. "So I hear [celebrity] is going to be on next week's show..."

Don't try to come up with something witty to make them "stop and think." This will not be productive.
posted by desjardins at 7:30 AM on April 5, 2011

I second Felex's suggestion with the caveat that you may provoke a longer rant...

"Oh that Harper is an untrustworthy cad!"
"Yuck, Jack Layton, that's a waste of a vote."

"Why do you say that about Harper? Is there a particular policy of his that you dislike?"
"What turns you off Layton specifically? What part of his platform do you think will make him unpopular?"

In the case of an election preciction ("Ignatieff doesn't stand a chance.") I wouldn't bother with the question, I would just say "I guess we won't know untin May!" and then change the subject.

If that doesn't work... dogmom has it. Implement your own political policy of not talking about political policy.
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:44 AM on April 5, 2011

Eeeek. preciction = prediction and untin = until
posted by cranberrymonger at 7:45 AM on April 5, 2011

In 2004 at the very mention of Kerry or bush my husband would start singing a silly song as Loudly as he possibly could... I suppose it might qualify as rude but it got the point across in a non-hostile manner
posted by bananafish at 8:22 AM on April 5, 2011

It's not anyone's business who you're voting for. If he's asking you who you're voting for, just say you consider that private and would rather not discuss politics. It really is private unless you make it otherwise by your own choosing. If he takes it personally, just change the subject by asking him how work is or if he's seen any good movies lately. Once that's done you can just say "Great seeing you! I've got to go [do whatever] now" and do something else.
posted by wondermouse at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2011

If your interlocutor cites some actual offensive policy or behavior of the politician under discussion, you can say, "You say that like it's a bad thing."
posted by Bruce H. at 7:13 PM on April 5, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers. Theres a couple I'd love to use, but risk getting into a longer discussion or sounding rude. I do want to be friendly to these people. I'll use some of the answers for sure though.

phunniemee....Its interesting that you should suggest that. A few days ago I was watching a segment on CHCH television and they had "Ed the Sock" on posing a a candidate. He was being interviewed by Mark Hebsher. His party was the Fed Up ( FU) party. So maybe from now on I'm voting FU !

bananafish....I don't even sing in the shower.
posted by Taurid at 10:09 PM on April 5, 2011

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