Psychologist/Blogger Helen Smith offers some useful advice on dealing with political disagreements among friends, family members and acquiantances:
So what can you do to get along when you vacation with loved ones or friends whose world views are different than yours? First, accept that everyone has differing opinions and that this might be a good thing . . . Second, if there are topics that hit a nerve such as discussing the religious right in derogatory terms, change the subject if possible to something more pleasant that you can both agree on or change the topic all together to the weather, sports or something neutral. Thirdly, if you choose to engage in a discussion, realize that it can get heated--perhaps you enjoy this type of verbal engagement--go for it, but do not let it get out of hand and realize that you will probably not change the person's mind.
I like a good (verbal) fight over politics and ideology. But it's also important to respect the feelings of people who dislike political arguments and prefer to avoid them. Much more difficult to deal with are the all-too-common obnoxious types who forcefully and aggressively express their own views, but get angry if anyone takes issue with them. Perhaps it's best to just ignore those who like to dish it out but can't take it. But it's a hard commitment to stick to....