Social Influence

Impeachment: The Way to Build Support

If you thought the first coupla years of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber paying pee hookers to piss on the Resolute Desk, the Constitution, and American values while he diddled himself on the couch and Kellyanne Conway stands by with the plastic gloves, lube, and tissues were some kinda knockdown drag out fight between the Resistance, Dems, and political norms, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet. If the first two years were a fight for our lives and democracy — remember, it’s not a fight for our country since the Ol’ USA can continue to exist as a pseudo-democratic authoritarian state, which we are on the road to — then we are in the fight for the Marvel Comics, Star Wars, and Harry Potter universes all rolled into one.

It may be a fight between the Resistance, Dems, political norms and the authoritarian Repubes, but it ain’t for the uninformed and disinterested so-called independent voters and the authoritarian conservative Repube base. Polls show this: POLITICO reported on its latest poll (31 May) with Morning Consult concerning impeachment, and it said that 43% of the electorate support impeachment which means that 57% are either against it or undecided. While the support has increased by five points since the last week. Of course, next week’s polls may — hopefully — shows a majority to impeach.

Minority Influence

The question that psychology can answer for us is how can the minority influence the majority’s views. This is a topic that has been addressed on Ye Olde Blogge before, but it’s been awhile. Let’s review minority influence! YAY!

Minority influence is the social process in which a group that is numerically smaller than the rest of the larger group changes the opinions or behaviors of the larger group. Real live controlled experiments starting way back in 1969 have suggested that there are four factors that are needed for the minority to convince the majority to side with them! These studies were originally conducted by Serge Moscavici in France.

Behavior Style

The way the minority is behaving around the issue has to be consistent. There opinion cannot waver. It must be unwavering. Think LGBTQ+ rights, marriage equality, BLM, the Parkland kids. All of those big changes — okay BLM and those Parkland kids haven’t changed us, yet, but they will! — were brought about by the advocates consistently holding their opinion. That consistency reflects their confidence in the correctness of their opinion. That sincerity and consistency is demonstrated by the minority applying it without bias and in the face of social pressure and abuse. Think the 1963 civil rights demonstration in Birmingham set upon by Bull Conner, police dogs, and fire hoses and the eventual passing of the Civil Rights Act or the Selma-to-Montgomery marchers crossing the Edmund Pettis Bridge being beaten by Alabama state troopers with WHIPS, night sticks, and tear gas and the Voting Rights Act. It is as if white folks watching all of that abuse on their black and white fuzzy TVs thought Damby Dumby! Iffn those black folks are willing to endure that kinda abuse, they must have a point! Maybe we should listen to them.

Contrast this behavior with that of terrorists. No one has ever reacted to the murder of an old man and the dumping of his body and his wheelchair into the Mediterranean Sea with, Gee those boys seem awfully upset, maybe they have a point. We should listen to them. Instead, terrorists are met with, Fuck those guys! They oughta be shot! I mean, come on, right?

The minority has to have a clear change that they are advocating for, and they have to be consistent both between the members of the minority and over time. Solidarity, unity, and clarity are important if the majority is going to be convinced.

Those of us for impeachment have to be very consistent in our advocacy. We cannot waiver if we’re going to convince Pelosi and the independent disinterested and uninformed (IUD’s — ha ha ha ha! See what I did there? Man, I just crack myself up sometimes) voters to change their minds about impeachment. Luckily, we have a very clear change that we’re advocating for.

Style of Thinking

This factor does not refer to the minority’s style of thinking. It refers to the majority’s style of thinking. Kahneman and other behavioral economists have convinced me that thinking is hard and people avoid it whenever possible. Having the comfort of other people around believing the same way you do makes it easy to never thinking too deeply or too much about unpopular ideas. It is easy to dismiss them. Just as MLK and the abuses of the police and authorities in the early 1960’s convinced white Americans outside of the South to think more deeply and carefully about civil and voting rights, those of us who are for impeachment have to convince those who are against it to think deeply and carefully about the crimes of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber.

You can see that one of the strategies of AG Barr the door of the Mueller Report is to stop people from thinking too deeply about the Ol’ Pussy Grabber’s Crimes. That’s why they have the simplistic and easily repeated mantra of NO COLLUSION-NO OBSTRUCTION and TOTAL EXONERATION. It is why AG Barr got his memo, Congressional testimony, and press conference out there before he released the redacted Mueller Report. He doesn’t want anyone thinking about it very deeply.

It is why the Ol’ Pussy Grabber is stonewalling the Dems in the House and defying every subpoena and request for documents and testimony. They know that if people were to hear Don McGahn describe the obstruction of justice that he was subjected to, the IUD’s would think about it more deeply and be more likely to support impeachment.

And it is why Nancy Pelosi and the House Dems must subpoena Mueller’s testimony so that it will be plastered all over social media and the TV and the Interwebs. It is why they must begin impeachment hearings so that they can get the evidence they need to present to the American people. We all must think deeply about the crimes of the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and the implications to our democracy.

Flexibility and Compromise

As any negotiator knows, compromise is the key to success. Essentially, the minority is negotiating with the majority albeit in a very indirect way. Think Don’t Ask-Don’t Tell and civil unions in the fight for marriage equality. While the minority has to be consistent in their opinion and have a clear change in mind, when the majority finally starts talking about changing, be flexible and compromise. Reagan was wrong about trickle down economics, but right about accepting half of the loaf today on his way to getting the other half tomorrow.

How can the pro-impeachment segment of the US electorate compromise with the anti-impeachment bunch? What would compromise and flexibility look like in this context.

The IUD’s are not fully supporting impeachment, but there is polling to suggest that many non-Repube Americans support investigating the Ol’ Pussy Grabber and believe he has committed crimes. Congressional investigations are a type of compromise, but with the Ol’ Pussy Grabber stonewalling, they are stalled. However, by demonstrating that they cannot investigate because of the stonewalling and that the only way to achieve investigation is to implement impeachment proceedings could be a way of being flexible and compromising. And, that is a way to bring the majority around to supporting impeachment.


The idea of identification is that people recognize those that are similar to themselves. This idea is important because, by definition, the minority differs from the majority and is not seen as being similar to the majority. To overcome this identification problem, the minority needs to recruit members of the majority to advocate for them among their peers.

White people advocating for minority rights, straight people advocating for the LGBTQ+ community, neurotypical advocating for the neurodiverse (non autistic people advocating for autistic, ADHD, and other type of people, repsectively). Those in the majority recognize themselves in the majority advocate and become more sympathetic to the minority.

With Congress on recess and representatives back in their districts, I’ve seen several interviews with various representatives from around the country saying that their constituents are asking them about impeachment. Those representatives are now advocating for impeachment. Those in the anti-impeachment crowd will, hopefully, recognize themselves in those newly minted pro-impeachment folks and become more sympathetic to the cause.

I feel the frustration of the pro-impeachment members of the electorate, but all is not lost. We need to embrace the lessons of minority influence and be consistently advocating for our position while being ready to sign on to steps toward impeachment and recruit anti-impeachers to the cause. If we do these things, we are likely to prevail.

4 replies »

  1. A lot of people who might be involved in conducting a Congressional investigation or testifying in one say they don’t want to be caught up in “a political circus”. The general public love to watch a circus. The more air time and column inches the circus gets, the less is available for Trump and his monkeys. Even when the robo-pundits on Fox “news” froth and scream about the unfairness of it all, it stays at the top of the feed. The resistance needs to use up as much of the oxygen in the room as possible, to seize control of the narrative and not let go. The impeachment process is a way to do that, but not the whole way. The Democrat candidates running for President have a role to play and are in danger of blowing it.

    They must pledge, absolutely and without exception, to all support in every way they are able the eventual nominee. There can be no “sour-grapes” among the losers or their followers. At the personal level, their debates need to be a love fest with the discussion being about tactics, policy, and plans, with explicit agreement on the definition of the problems, values, and goals. The stirring up of conflict between the supporters of Hillary and Bernie in 2016 was fatal to the cause and cannot be allowed again. Various actors on social media will work hard and long to make it happen and they must be called out, shut down, and hounded out. The candidates need a shared and consistent narrative and repeat it constantly. They need to make their number work for them, again, showing up everywhere and on every medium daily and making as much news with that narrative as possible.

    I do not think that Trump’s greatest danger comes from revelations of playing footsie with Russians or obstruction justice. It comes from what he most wants to hide, the financial records. It is in those that the proof lies that he is and has been for his entire career a fraud, an image without substance, and a really bad deal maker not to be trusted to keep any deal he makes, including with those loyal to him.


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