Author Archives: Karen McKim

About Karen McKim

Retired from a 30-year career in public sector quality assurance and management auditing, I now spend my time freelance writing, largely on topics related to our right to self-government. I have two main focuses: how we can protect our election results from miscounts (whether deliberate or accidental), and skills for talking politics with our fellow citizens. I am based in Wisconsin.

What not to do: Demoralize the good guys

In brief: If you want to support your fellow citizens in the task of making a better world, don’t deflect the political conversation from current choices to historical events. Don’t reframe a single policy choice into one about an enduring … Continue reading

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Power-driven vs. Collaboration-driven conversations

In brief:  Sometimes conversation has nothing to do with communication, and is instead an exercise in establishing personal power.  In late July 2017,  a Salt Lake City emergency-room nurse and a police officer had a conversation that didn’t end well … Continue reading

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30 seconds to more effective political conversation

Main point: Our gut tells us that any argument can be made more effectively with more logic and evidence. So we’re tempted to pile them up when we feel strongly.  Last night, I saw a demonstration of the value of … Continue reading

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Righteousness and self-righteousness: A practical lesson from the lawyers

Main point: Lawyers argue for a living, so they have skills we could use in political conversation. One of those skills is being able to adopt the perspective of your opponent. * * * We’re all amateurs in this political-conversation … Continue reading

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Change of heart > Change of facts

The two most common mistakes in political conversation, in my observation, are 1) insulting or feeling insulted and 2) relying too heavily on facts. In kindergarten, we learned what happens  when we insult people. It took a little longer, but … Continue reading

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Express your opinion on the topic or…awkward!

Key and Peele nail it again. Okay, it’s satire. It’s exaggerated beyond what you’d see in real life. But oh, this real-world behavior is so ripe for satire. You’ve seen it. Someone has opinions, but little confidence that they can … Continue reading

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Policy focus, person focus: A key to that elusive Democratic unity?

Main idea:  Using an observation that Clinton supporters’ thinking tends to focus primarily on personal attributes of the candidates and that Sanders supporters’ thinking tends to focus primarily on policy issues, I conclude that they could work better with each … Continue reading

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