The public opinion in many democracies is more polarized than ever, causing societies to become divided into factions. Many writers have analyzed why from different perspectives already, blaming social media, domestic agitators, foreign powers and technology.
I won't repeat that. Instead, I'd like to offer my experience, upon noticing that I've been changing a political opinion in the last couple of weeks.
The elections for the EU parliament are about to be held. Since I aim to be a rational and open-minded person, I didn't simply want to vote for the party that I feel most affiliated with. To that end, I listened to interviews with all of the top candidates of the nine Swedish parties currently represented in the EU parliament. Then I tested my opinions in a couple of "election compasses", websites where both you and the parties' candidates answer several political questions. Upon completion, you're shown which candidates match your opinions the best.
During the interviews, I noticed being drawn to an unexpected candidate, of a party that I'd rarely consider voting for. And the election compasses also matched me with candidates, whose opinions I'd normally not consider my own.
Cognitive dissonance is the difference between how you believe things work, and evidence from the world. Humans generally cannot handle too much cognitive dissonance and will aim to decrease it. You can decrease it by either 1) updating your beliefs about the world, or by 2) discarding evidence that contradicts your worldview.
My cognitive dissonance was growing, and I needed to resolve the tension.
I wondered whether, perhaps, I was the type of person who can change parties. Even though I have dogmatic opinions in some cases, perhaps I'm open-minded enough?
On the other hand, perhaps my opinions on a couple of key questions were out of touch with how the world works? Perhaps my go-to party knew what they're talking about, and I'm simply mistaken?
Over the days since I listened to the interviews and answered the compasses' questions, I've gradually changed opinions, to fall in line more with my original party's opinions. In the end, I voted for that party, apparently discarding the evidence of me having more similar opinions to another party.
Guide to changing your opinion
Prerequisite: Be of the opinion that some political party is better than others. It probably works with any group or organization that has opinions on a large range of matters.
With an open mind, select a couple of your political opinions (such as something specific about medicine, schools, military, immigration, taxes, the environment, etc.). Prefer those where you don't know what your party's official opinion is. You might want to write them down, to better notice any changes.
Listen to interviews of party representatives from multiple different parties. Be curious about what they have to say about your opinion. If you find that you identify with another party's candidates rather than those of your "own", this opinion could be one to consider.
Think about this opinion more, research why "your" party thinks the way it does.
Maybe you'll notice your opinion morph. Perhaps you "hadn't thought it through", but now "understand" better, choosing to follow the party-line also in this matter. Or perhaps you're ready to vote for another party?