Is Political Preference a Deal Breaker? Would You Date a ____ Supporter?
(Edit: I started this piece in 2016 and just finished now. Yes, I am annoyed but Christmas and New Years and Holiday Parties happened. #IHateExcusesButSorry)
I think we can all agree [“we” referencing as literally everyone on Earth, not just the United States] that the US Election of 2016 has evidently been incomparable to any other election in the history of the world. Unless you have been living under a very dense rock, the new President-Elect for the US is Donald Trump — celebrity billionaire. He will start serving in 2017, and many of us can agree, we are going to deeply miss President Obama and his sweet family.
I currently live in Astoria, and according to a recent poll, more than 80% of my neighborhood voted Democrat. New York state has always been a [blue] Democratic win. New York City, compared to anywhere else in New York, is almost entirely Democratic. You’ll find some Republicans in the liberal city, but you’ll have a better chance of meeting them in upstate New York or out on Long Island. Here at my office in Midtown and back at home in Queens, almost all the people I have interacted with were Hillary supporters [or just not voting for Trump]. However, a huge chunk of these supporters were initial Bernie fans, but they knew in the bottom of their hearts writing his name on the ballot would essentially be a huge loss.
Political conversation is typically classified as a “no-no” when going out on a first or second date. Since it is such a controversial and personal topic [like religion or finances], it is advised to avoid talking politics if you want to move on to the second or third date. However, look at my parents, celebrating 30 years of marriage, and my dad has always classified himself as a conservative Republican and my mom has always classified herself as a liberal Democrat.
But this past election – the Election of 2016 – was different than any other election… way different. You would think that the first woman nominee for a U.S. president was the “different” I am referring to, but no. That was actually the more unsurprising candidate since she served as Secretary of State (and First Lady) in the past. The decision that shocked not only America, but the entire world, was the final decision of celebrity ‘billionaire‘ Donald Trump being the next President-elect.
I didn’t know a ton of information about Donald Trump before the primaries in 2015. I knew that he was the host of Celebrity Apprentice, I knew that his daughter Ivanka Trump is a fashion designer and some of her clothes I have tried on in TJMaxx, and that he has various estates and properties such as the Trump Hotel down the block from my office in NYC, and the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City that is apparently a shithole.
This election consumed all of America’s attention whether we liked it (most did not) or not. It was all over social media, all over the radio, and even if you weren’t watching the news, you couldn’t help but get hit by a promotional ad planted by one of the candidates during the commercials. People were becoming incredibly hostile – defriending colleagues or even family members on Facebook, getting into full-blown arguments in public, and even vandalizing public property. We have all been in that uncomfortable situation over the holidays, sitting at the dinner table, and wishing you were anywhere else on the planet than sitting through a political battle between your relatives. That is normal. But this election, this was just violent. I have never seen and heard so many offensive and inappropriate slurs from friend to friend or from relative to relative. Shit got intense.
One of the most common things you heard in this past election was, “I am choosing the lesser of two evils.” A heavy majority of people did not like either candidate, Clinton or Trump. This resulted in several ridiculous effects: people didn’t vote, people voted for a 3rd party candidate whom they truly knew wasn’t going to win, or people wrote in an absolutely ridiculous candidate (please click the hyperlink). Obviously though, there is still a large percentage of people who have [and still] absolutely adore their candidate. I have a friend that LOVES Donald Trump, and I have a cousin who LOVES Hilary Clinton. Putting these two in a room together would be extremely dangerous. This election was not just political banter and cursing, this election got personal. Racial slurs, sexism, and discrimination were part of this election more than anything in the past. Yes, Hilary Clinton is a female, but also… yes… Donald Trump is known for his comments against women in the past. Millions of people were incredibly heartbroken during the election and after the results were released. I have never seen New York City so traumatized (since September 11th). I rode the subway on November 11th, and people were wiping away tears, sitting on the corner of the street with their head curled up into their chest, and some didn’t even show up to work the next day.
What I am pondering after all of this, is that after such an intense election with some feeling so extreme about a certain candidate, is it possible to date someone with an opposing view? Like I said, my dad has always been a republican and my mom has always been a democrat. Yet, this election was just fucking different. I have trouble trying to find the perfect word to describe the election of 2016 – shocking? traumatizing? unbelievable? Some people would say it was “amazing” if they voted for Trump I guess. Then again, people who aren’t passionate about politics would probably just say something like “whatever” or “it is what it is.”
My roommate (original Bernie supporter, but eventual Hilary supporter) went on a date a few weeks ago with a guy who approached her at a bar we were at. My roommate is extremely passionate about politics, and it remains to be one of her favorite things to converse about. Not caring about the rules society enforces about dating, she goes right ahead and brings the topic up. She asks if he’s a Trump supporter, and he says… yes. She sits there, eyes wide open, waiting for him to utter out “just kidding.” But he didn’t. He voted for Trump, the person that she despises the most in the world.
She came home that night and told me that the date went well – BUT – he voted for Trump. She said, “I could never date him.”
My roommate is Latina, and it has been reported that Trump (although many Republican candidates have trouble with the Latin community, this was worse) had difficulties reaching minority communities, especially Latinos. For someone who is Latina and extremely passionate about politics, this was an obvious deal breaker. But besides this characteristic about him, the rest of the date she stated went well. They laughed and ate and walked together in symphony. Yet, she couldn’t detach the horrific truth from her mind of him supporting who she has considered one of the most disgusting humans on the planet.
I have been on a few dates over the past 6 months when the election was getting extremely heated. Most of the time, I can infer their political preference from where they grew up, from the way they talk about certain topics, or from their social media profile. Recently, there was a guy who I truly started to consider something with in the future. He was intelligent, aesthetically pleasing, hard-working, sweet, etc. However, it really annoyed me that I couldn’t figure out what his political preference was. Does it really matter? Would it really bother me if he voted for the candidate I hated if everything else about him is fantastic? I enjoy politics, but I would not classify it as a true passion of mine. In addition, many Millennials seem to have zero to little interest in politics these days. I believe that the guy my roommate went on a date with didn’t care much for either candidate, but he just voted for Trump because his parents and friends did. He admitted that the things Trump said in the past were racist, sexist, and downright disgusting. However, it still bothered my roommate that he somehow granted his vote to Trump.
What would you do? Would you date someone who voted for Hilary? Or for Trump? Would you date someone who didn’t care much for either, but voted for the “lesser of two evils?”