I’ve seen enough of leftists arguing with conservatives on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and comment sections of conservative websites to have seen a very distinct pattern.

Leftists routinely don’t give conservatives enough credit. The constantly underestimate them and, therefore, quickly stoop to name-calling and ridicule instead of taking the arguments seriously and addressing the counterpoints.

Many conservatives will tell you it’s because leftists can’t win on the merits. That’s probably true, although I’ve debated with a few leftists who could hold their own and didn’t resort to such tactics.

But I believe it’s because most leftists enter the conversation with such disdain and loathing for their conservative opponents that out of sheer vitriol they descend quickly into dismissive comments.

Conversely, I think conservatives routinely enter such debates overestimating their leftist opponents. If you’ve read enough threads, you’d observe that it takes a bit before conservatives resort to name-calling or making fun. Usually, they spend an inordinate amount of time arguing, supporting, and providing evidence for their points of view.

Conservatives enter thinking they’ve got a good argument and they’re going to try to win over this leftist in good faith. They believe their leftist opponent is entering the forum with an open mind and a willingness to accept that there’s a better alternative to their own opinions.

Neither is true, but the divide in expectations only serves to widen the gap between the two sides ability to have any thoughtful, or even civil, conversation.