How to Calmly Talk to Your Friend/Aunt/Brother-in-Law About Why Voting for Trump Just to Spite Hillary Is a Really, Really Bad Idea

Here's a script.

Screened off voting area.
(Image credit: The Washington Post/Getty Images)

Maybe you're reading this because your Grandma, colleague, or childhood best friend is a "protest voter," i.e. someone solely voting for Trump to vote against Hillary, and you'd like advice for making them understand what you find impossible not to understand. Or maybe you don't have any Republicans in your life, but you agree that protest voting is terrifying. Or maybe you yourself are a Trump supporter and are amenable to another point of view which I pray to God that you are. But the good news is, it's not too late to convince your protest-voting loved ones to think twice before they step into the booth.

The key is to approach this dialogue from a calm, rational place—your brain place, not your middle finger place. Follow this script and who knows, that "ugh, fine, I'll vote for Hillary" could be yours!


You: Hey Aunt Patty, it's your niece, Amanda! Wow, it's been like, five years since I've seen you. Are you still married to that bald man you met on that singles cruise?

Aunt Patty in Michigan: No, turns out he was doing crack while I was at work. He also stole $20,000 from me.

You: I'm sorry to hear that. Good riddance? Anyway, I saw your meme with the words, "Just Realized if Hillary Wins, I Get Interns!" over the happy Bill Clinton face and wanted to run something by you.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Honey, if you're gonna try to get me to vote for that devil woman, you're crazy. Your mother should never have let you move to California. You're not in a cult yet, are you?

You: I'm in several, actually.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Look, do I agree with everything Trump says? No. Is he kinda sleazy? Yes. But I'd rather be dead than vote for Hillary Clinton!

You: Okay, but Trump says he is going to overturn Roe vs. Wade—didn't cousin Heidi have an abortion?

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Like I said I don't really like all his policies but I just can't let Hillary win!

You: Can I just ask what you don't like about her, specifically?

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Uh, how much time do you have? I mean, the Hillary Clinton E-Mail Scandal—there's no way you can defend that. I don't care if the FBI didn't find her guilty, while Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton used a private email server to send CLASSIFIED E-MAILS and then deleted all 33,000 of them! That's diabolical!

Hillary Clinton

(Image credit: Mia Feitel/Getty Images)

You: 1). The State Department has confirmed that none of the information that has been found on her server was considered classified at the time it was sent or received, only retroactively. 2). Hillary Clinton is not the first Secretary of State to use a private email account for official business. You realize Colin Powell and Condi Rice did that, too, right? 3). Those 30,000 emails aren't gone, because that's not how erasing data from a server works. The FBI actually found that the contents of her server were mirrored to a tech firm who specializes in data protection, and still exist there...but then never subpoenaed that firm. They also know where the Apple server is which held the email from her first two months in office and then never seized it. Not normal. And the renewed "interest" in her emails has now been closed by the FBI—again.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Fine. But come on, she's just like Bill Clinton—a conservative in liberal clothing! This woman voted for the Iraq war! She doesn't believe in anything, she just wants to get votes.

You: At the time of the Iraq war, people in New York who elected her to be first female Senator from New York, genuinely, sincerely believed Saddam Hussein was connected to the 9/11 attacks. Secondly, she publicly regretted that vote. She's just a human being.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: She is? Because the woman seems like a programmed robot to me!

You: I hear you on that one. But have you ever considered that Hillary's mannerisms and behavior might be a reaction to the blatant sexism she's faced her entire career? When Hillary was taking the law school admissions test at Harvard, men literally yelled at her that she "didn't need to be there" because she was a woman; one man even said, "If you take my spot, I'll get drafted, and I'll go to Vietnam, and I'll die." I mean, if you were being judged every second of every day of your career, what would you? If it were me and I was a public figure, I'd practice every step I ever took, EVER. And think about how Trump is calling Hillary an "enabler of her husband's infidelity." You see how crappy and sexist that is, right? Imagine if someone were to blame Aunt Linda for Uncle Don cheating on her!

Aunt Patty in Michigan: I'd kill them. But it's not like I'm sexist. If Michelle Obama was an option, I'd vote for her! But Hillary Clinton just gives me bad vibes.

You: I know. But if the only talking point you have left is "Hillary gives you bad vibes," will you even just consider this notion might be merely something you've absorbed from incredibly sexist criticism? It's just like all those men in law school trying to keep Hillary down again. To me, nebulous "bad vibes" don't hold a compared to Hillary's actual record. If you'd look at it, you'd see all of the incredible things she's done that are the opposite of "bad vibes": her incredible efforts on behalf of 9/11 responders, her lead abatement pledge, her success in repairing our relations with other countries, like Iran. I know Hillary isn't perfect, but at least she's been a loyal public servant her entire career.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: Well, I don't like that Trump bragged about grabbing women's vaginas.

You: If you don't believe in the candidate you're voting for, then maybe you should consider not voting at all. But if you want to have been a part of electing the first female President of the United States, then consider having Hillary's back.

Aunt Patty in Michigan: (beat) Ugh, fine.

Juliet Seniff is a TV writer based in Los Angeles.

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