Americans’ view of democracy in the United States has been on the decline in recent years alongside growing political divides. But journalist Anand Giridharadas still has hope for democracy — so long as Americans can find common ground again.

But finding common ground may be difficult as more Americans have “succumbed to really outlandish fantasies of what’s going on,” Giridharadas says, pointing to QAnon conspiracy theorists and 2020 election deniers.

In his new book, “The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy,” Giridharadas suggests one potential pathway to understanding is persuading conspiracy theorists into seeing that they’re being scammed.

“What I and many people do is ... argue back, counter, rebut the charges, sometimes make people feel stupid. It doesn't work,” Giridharadas told Boston Public Radio. “Some of the people I wrote about suggest the only thing you’ve got to do there is to play into people's desire to be critical thinkers, and their desire not to be fools. [Do] not rebut them, but try to show them how and why very powerful people are trying to con them for their own purposes.”

The same can be said for the use of social media to attack or “cancel” people, Giridharadas says.

“A lot of what social media encourages is a kind of, ‘If someone doesn't get it perfectly or says the wrong thing slightly, just dunk on them as quickly as possible.’ And again, it's not how you build a bigger ‘we,’” he said.

For those struggling to figure out how to talk to “the climate denier uncle” or for those falling down the QAnon rabbithole, Giridharadas has a guide to accompany “The Persuaders” on his website.

“There are ways of talking to people that don't drive them further into these things,” Giridharadas said. “And I think the biggest thing so many of us are doing in our outrage and sadness and despair about what's happening to America, we're actually pushing more people down the road of madness instead of pulling them toward us.”

Giridharadas is an author, journalist and the publisher of the newsletter “The.Ink."