America's Latest Social Crisis: Couples Call It Quits Over Trump

Turn on any 'news' channel and you are bombarded by images of individual discontent, civil unrest, and breakdowns in societal norms as 'The Left' deals with being Told "no" for the first time in their lives. But, as Reuters reports, the scorched earth tactics in evidence in Berkeley last week hide a deeper breakdown in American society as burning passions over Donald Trump's presidency are taking a personal toll on both sides of the political divide.

For Gayle McCormick, it is particularly wrenching: she has separated from her husband of 22 years.

 

 

The retired California prison guard, a self-described "Democrat leaning toward socialist," was stunned when her husband casually mentioned during a lunch with friends last year that he planned to vote for Trump – a revelation she described as a "deal breaker."

 

"It totally undid me that he could vote for Trump," said McCormick, 73, who had not thought of leaving the conservative Republican before but felt "betrayed" by his support for Trump.

 

"I felt like I had been fooling myself," she said. "It opened up areas between us I had not faced before. I realized how far I had gone in my life to accept things I would have never accepted when I was younger."

And Gayle is not alone, three months after the most divisive election in modern U.S. politics fractured families and upended relationships, a number of Americans say the emotional wounds are as raw as ever and show few signs of healing.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll shows 39% of respondents have argued with family and friends over politics in the last month (up from 33% before the election).

16% said they have stopped talking to a family member or friend because of the election (22% among those who voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton).

"It's been pretty rough for me," said Rob Brunello, 25, of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, a truck driver who faced a backlash from friends and family for backing Trump.

 

"Once people found out I had voted for Trump the stuff started flying," said William Lomey, 64, a retired cop in Philadelphia who no longer speaks with a friend he grew up with after they clashed on Facebook over the election. "I questioned him on a few things, he didn't like it, he blew up and left me a nasty message and we haven't talked since."

 

He said his friend is gay and worries about Trump's sometimes demeaning campaign rhetoric about minority groups including Muslims, Hispanics, immigrants and the disabled.

 

"I think people are getting too wound up," Lomey said.

 

Sue Koren, 57, a Clinton supporter in Dayton, Ohio, said she can barely speak to her two Trump-backing sons and has unfriended "maybe about 50" people on Facebook who support the president.

 

"Life is not what it was before the election," she said. "It's my anger, my frustration, my disbelief. They think our current president is a hero and I think he's a nut."

 

George Ingmire, 48, a radio documentary producer in New Orleans, said he broke off a close relationship with an uncle who had helped him through his father's suicide because of his uncle's fervent support for Trump.

 

"We had some back and forth and it just got really deep, really ugly," Ingmire said. "I don't see this ever being fixed."

While arguing over Trump has become a bitter reality for many Americans, Reuters concludes on a positive that many people reported their relationships have not suffered because of the election. The poll found about 40% had not argued with a family member or friend over the race.

The election also enabled a significant number to forge new bonds - 21 percent said they became friends with someone they did not know because of the election, though the poll question did not ask respondents to specify if the friendship was with someone from a different party.

 

Sandi Corbin, a retiree in East Galesburg, Illinois, said she has visited some of the new friends she made because of their shared support for Clinton. "We talk all the time now," she said. "I would say that's a plus from the election."

Still, "discussion" does not sell papers, so the media will focus on the disagreements and tensions... because the politics of division is all they know now.