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I work in tech in an urban area where my close co-workers are outspokenly and vehemently liberal, and our lunch conversations generally include some sort of trump bash during some portion of the conversation. Our team is spread across the world and members can go years without ever actually meeting each other face to face.

Circumstances are such that we are all meeting for some workshops and corporate events, and several very well respected senior members of the team are on-site. Circumstances are also such that I met these senior members first before my co-workers did (I am a VERY junior member).

I have observed that these senior members, who are very well liked and extremely nice, are conservative. Furthermore, I have observed them taking several steps to hide it. I am not surprised, this area is nearly 100% liberal. They don't want to stick out.

How can I slip the word to my other co-workers to avoid the daily bashing of conservatives during lunch? We will be meeting later this week all together, also for lunch. The liberal and conservative parties haven't met each other in person. Only I have met both sides.

I understand it is not my personal responsibility to deal with this. I want to communicate that the topic is a no-go to my liberal senior team members, without seeming disrespectful, without raising an actual HR issue and without risking it happening. They are smart enough to know not to bring it up, if they were aware, but they aren't.

I want to indicate the situation to the other team members in a totally plausibly deniable way that cannot possibly make this MY issue. What can I do?

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    I'd just go with "There are probably folks who are getting tired of it; there may be some who are just being too polite to argue -- how about giving it a rest and declaring lunch a no-politics zone?" – keshlam Jan 24 '17 at 2:47
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    Half of them probably voted for Trump after bashing him anyway... – Stephan Bijzitter Jan 24 '17 at 15:02
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    @keshlam That does not seem like a well-tailored solution. I don't see anything in the question that would evince the first two assertions (about how people are feeling), and a blanket ban seems drastic when the questioner only asks for help with a singular case of discretion. – Harris Jan 24 '17 at 15:36
  • Do you actually mean conservative here and not the far right - I know plenty of Republicans who have nothing odd to say about the current president. – Neuromancer Apr 28 at 15:35
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As a conservative in a very liberal industry, I say "so?" I have no problem with discussing conflicting views and would feel insulted that someone would try to insulate me from the team's personality.

If your motivation is to help teammates avoid embarrassing themselves then simply mention that you've met these people before and they seem to be more conservative. If your teammates aren't afraid about embarrassing themselves then why should you worry for them?

I'm sure the people coming in to town haven't become senior members by having thin skin. Let them speak for themselves if they don't appreciate the tone of conversation.

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You claim that the two groups haven't talked with each other in person, yet. In my mind, it seems like you may be preempting a scenario that may not actually happen at all.

The only realistic thing to do is to familiarize yourself with company policy; if there is a policy against political conversation, then that would be what you would want to lean on to avoid the conversation.

But in all honesty...the only real way that anything will happen is if someone ignores basic polite discourse. Your teammates very likely know when to disengage in any impolite political discussion, and if they ignore the cues from the other side, they will have to deal with an HR issue anyway.

If you're feeling like the issue could still come up, then it's fine to mention to them that you don't think they'd appreciate the political banter. From there, it falls out of your hands and firmly into HR's lap, should the matter escalate or become tense.

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