If you’re a liberal trying to convince a radical friend to vote to re-elect Obama, consider this…

There are only eight states where voting for president matters this year. If your friend doesn’t live in one of them, chill out. Have the discussion if you like, but don’t get angry. Voting for president in a safe state is a purely symbolic act, and life’s too short to damage friendships over acts of electoral symbolism.

And as for those eight states? One of them is Ohio, where progressive senator Sherrod Brown is in a tight race. If your friend lives there, go with that.

Then there’s Wisconsin, where progressive Tammy Baldwin is running to be the nation’s first openly gay senator. In, again, a very tight race. In Virginia, Tim Kaine isn’t great, but he’s running against the truly horrible George Allen, and that one’s going to be close too.

New Hampshire has a tossup governor’s race. Nevada has a tossup senate race. And all of Iowa’s House seats are ranked as competitive by the folks at Real Clear Politics, in a year when most others are going to be blowouts.

Colorado has a pot legalization referendum. Dude. Not decriminalization. Legalization. And it could pass, if folks turn out.

Which means that Florida is THE ONLY STATE IN THE COUNTRY where Obama is the only big reason for a left-leaning person to vote Dem. And Nate Silver says Florida has only a 1.9% chance of deciding the election this year.

The reality is — and I say this as a huge fan of voting — that for the vast majority of people you’re likely to encounter, whether or not they vote for Obama just doesn’t have any practical significance. And for the vast majority of the rest, you’ve got better arguments to make than the “Obama sucks but he sucks less than Romney” pitch so many of you have been leading with.

So chill out, liberals. Climb down off the high horse. Approach the conversation as a conversation, not a battle for the soul of America. Be receptive to your radical friends’ views, and listen to their arguments. You might even learn something.

If you’re going to have this discussion, be reasonable about it.

Because that’s your whole pitch, right?