In my work on the campaign trail, I’ve come across lots and lots of couples that are on opposite ends of the political spectrum. One of them is #FeelingTheBern while the other is sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat. And these aren’t quirky college hookups – these are people that have been married for decades. And I can’t help but wonder how they do it. I don’t know if I could hypothetically even date a Jeb! supporter, let alone a socialist that scoffs at FAuX N3WZz!!!!
while they get their information from Buzzfeed and Gawker. I think that there are two explanations for that: political rhetoric has only become more polarized in recent generations and politics aren’t that large of a part of these people’s lives. Of course, there are plenty of exceptions. But as a general rule, I think that these couples are able to last because while they know what they believe and know that they believe different things, their lives don’t revolve around their ideologies and they are able to agree to disagree, and love each other anyway. It’s inspiring, and there’s a message to be taken from it. But could I do it? I very much so doubt it.
But I decided to ask around among my politically involved peers on the conservative side, not expecting much of a difference from the liberal side. While liberals are generally more closed minded than conservatives in my experience, liberal women are much more interestedin conservative men than conservative women are interested in liberal men; the short explanation being that at the end of the day, when all of the gender theory BS is put aside, women want real men, and conservative men stereotypically fit that mold.
The consensus was an overwhelming “no.” Several students were more open to it. Sarah, from New York noted that she wouldn’t dismiss it as a possibility as long as they were respectful of one another. While Madison from Georgia expressed hesitations about courting a “full blown liberal,” she noted that political disagreement could make for a more interesting relationship, and wanted to be challenged by her significant other. Mercedes and Devin invoked their parents’ bipartisan marriages (both liberal women married to conservative men) as reason for them willing to date across the aisle. Nathan from Michigan, a conservative libertarian that’s been dating Bernie supporter for the past four years insisted that real, meaningful love could survive despite difference in views.
As for the explanations of why people would prefer to date within the party, the answers were pretty similar. Kyle from Florida pointed out that while he wouldn’t date a liberal, it wouldn’t be just because they were liberal, but because he wants a significant other that will support his passion, not try to combat it. Jorge from Jersey explained that while he’s considered it, he doubts it could work because they would have to avoid talking politics, and politics are 85% of his life. Joshua from Texas insisted that the people closest to you need to have similar values, and it’s impossible to date someone that undermines a cause that you’re dedicated to. Many people brought up exes from the left that have convinced them never to cross the aisle again. Christian from New York said that the conversations with their parents got awkward. Evan from Montana added that his ex constantly accused him of not caring about people, while Miranda from Florida recounted a liberal ex making her feel stupid for her beliefs.
Most people insisted that their political views were such fundamental aspects of who they were that they couldn’t see themselves dating people that they couldn’t share that with, and bond over that with. And I’m with them. Frankly, Ben Affleck’s political views took him from an 11 to a 6.5 to me. I’m a passionate, strongly willed person and politics are quite literally my life. I can’t imagine a future for myself that doesn’t involve DC. The vast majority of my friends and acquaintances are liberals, and most of them are pretty far left at that. I can respect and platonically love someone that I don’t agree with on anything, no problem. But while I can put aside the anger and heartache that I feel at my core when someone I barely talks about abortion more casually than a teeth cleaning in a Facebook post, I couldn’t stomach that in a significant other.
When I’m complaining about my professors at the end of the day, I don’t want to be with someone that sees no issue with teachers giving lectures and assignments that positively portray Marxism and feminism in classes completely unrelated to those subjects, with little room for discourse. I don’t want to be with someone that thinks hurt feelings are more important than the first amendment, or national security for that matter.
Does that make me a bad person? I don’t think so. But I guess that it makes me more closed minded than I’d like to believe. But at the end of the day, I want someone that is honest with me and honest with themselves, that’s driven to succeed, that doesn’t make excuses, that is going to stand firmly in their beliefs regardless of popular opinion, and ultimately, that’s going to motivate me to be a better person. And while I’m positive that these qualities aren’t exclusive to the political right, they are certainly more reflected in conservative dogma. If someone is convinced that white supremacy, capitalism, and the patriarchy are to blame for any and everything bad that’s happened, how can I expect them to call me out and hold me accountable when I’m acting immaturely or irresponsibly?
As much as I respect people that are able to make it work in spite of different world views, liberal boyfriends, like communism, sound much better in theory than they do in practice to me. A man that expects the government to provide for him for the grand accomplishment of being born isn’t a man that I want to commit to. When I spend my entire day being accosted in real life and on social media by Bernie and Hillary supporters, the last thing I want to come home to is more of it. Maybe I have a lot more to learn, but as of now I’d like to keep the Bern as far away from my bedroom as possible.