Seven tips for Democrats dating Republicans
No matter how mean, nasty, ugly, stupid, justice-obstruct-y or impeachable President Trump might be, Republicans still love him.
Trump’s GOP approval — from MAGA red-hats, to white supremacists and hard-core Christians, to blue bloods on Wall Street — has remained a solid 80–90 percent.
This is wonderful if you’re a Republican dating a Republican. You share a lot in common, such as enormous imaginary tax breaks and better Trumpcare; blackmail tariffs killing Midwest farmers and manufacturers; government dictating women’s personal reproductive choices; caged children at the Mexican border; and, countless other ways Trump is making America great again.
If married, GOP couples can keep love strong by remembering their wedding-day reading from 1 Corinthians: Trump is patient. Trump is kind. Trump does not envy or boast. Trump is not proud, rude or self-seeking. Trump is not easily angry and keeps no record of past mistakes. Trump does not delight in evil. Trump rejoices in the truth.
Love is harder when you’re a Democrat dating a Republican.
Time ago, cross-partisan mates were a bemusing sitcom-y Matalin-Carville/Hepburn-Spencer/Lemmon-Matthau odd couple, affectionately bickering over, for example, not if but how to support the less fortunate in America.
Today — whether Trump is the cause or symptom — Republicans and Democrats don’t just disagree, let alone agree to disagree. They personally despise, disrespect, denigrate and commit partisan murder most foul on each other. Even about whether the less fortunate deserve help.
The old Montagues and Capulets, Hatfields and McCoys, Jets and Sharks, Crips and Bloods, and Sprint and T-Mobile, among other mortal enemies, eventually hugged it out. Wake me from a beautiful yet icky dream where Mitch McConnell and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez embrace and agree in common cause for America, however disturbing the photos of their hugging would be.
“Love conquers all,” some ancient Roman or Greek poet said, giving false hope over the centuries to billions of mismatched couples that should have split up way sooner. “Love will keep us together,” Captain and Tennille topped the Billboard charts with and later divorced not amicably and then Tennille wrote a memoir saying Captain was a bad husband who tore them apart.
The challenges for today’s bipartisan couples are harder than ever:
Can love conquer all in the time of Trump and keep us together? Can we still have Muskrat Love? Even if large, musky rats mating is disgusting?
For Democrats trying to love one of the 80–90 percent Trump-favoring Republicans, here are a few tips to work it out:
1. Don’t talk about politics.
A Pew Research survey concluded, “Overall, 53% of Americans say talking about politics with people they disagree with is generally stressful and frustrating; fewer (45%) say such conversations are usually “interesting and informative.”
Why bring needless stress into the relationship? Your fight over politics isn’t going to change America anyway. Talk instead about less stressful topics such as money, sex, child-rearing and each other’s mothers.
2. Don’t talk about the news.
Current events are a minefield. No good can come of discussing the day-to-day of what’s happening.
Besides, as a Democrat you might blow a gasket if your Republican mate declares she doesn’t trust the mainstream media. But she believed everything the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other mainstream media painstakingly reported in great and gory detail about “Corrupt Hillary” including her emails, Benghazi, Whitewater, Clinton Foundation, uranium deal, Wall Street speeches, the FBI reopened probe into her emails just before election day, etc.
3. Leave the TV off.
Especially MSNBC, CNN or Fox. Even a few minutes of Maddow or Hannity could lead to beet-faced TV-yelling then huffy silence and zero intimate activity for 24 hours or weeks or ever.
DO NOT WATCH SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE TOGETHER. Especially any episode with a political cold open and most of all with Baldwin doing Trump, however good or bad he might be.
Indeed, beware no TV is safe — from lame network sitcoms to bingy streaming dramas, comedies and dramedies — since they’re all made by Hollywood liberals who sneakily propagate socialist propaganda in every production.
Your Republican mate senses the liberal media producers are screaming, “More socialism! We need more socialism!” as if socialism were cowbells.
4. Don’t talk about any policy issues.
Not healthcare. Not trade. Not immigration. Not race or gender. Or any collegiate “snowflake” issues such as how everything is racist, patriarchal, misogynist and culturally misappropriating.
For God’s sake, don’t bring up voting rights! And never foreign policy, unless you worked for the State Department (under different presidents). In which case, focus on China. Talk about China. Whatever your politics, you can agree China is bad. China can keep you together.
5. Don’t talk about the weather.
Weather is too hot, pun unavoidable. Weather is liberal.
Do not observe, for example, “Geez, honey, I hate to raise the issue, and I respect your personal agency and opinion, but have you noticed that our house, neighborhood and city have been destroyed a lot by intense storms, tornadoes and flooding?”
Warning: This might cause a major relationship conflict about whether climate change is real or just liberal scientists trying to get more government grants to pay rent, eat, and study climate change.
6. Avoid family.
There’s always a Trumpy uncle or Bernie aunt who knows you’re a mixed couple and will “innocently” blurt something stupid on many levels to start a shouty, teary family brawl and enjoy it.
Wait to see family again when Trump is completely gone from the White House and cleared from our political system. Someday America will shake this off like a bad flu and look back with a shudder asking WTF was that all about. And red-blue couples can go back to talking about politics, watching TV, following current events, and discussing policy, the weather and how his mom is so judgmental about the way you’re raising the kids.
7. Give up and go with it.
Even if you and your Republican mate have different values — you believe you’re open-minded, humanistic and progressive, while she’s narrow-minded, selfish and regressive — it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun together.
Lubricating with adult beverages don’t hurt.
Nor does venting passive-aggressively by, for instance, posting a piece like this on Medium.com she’ll never read because your stuff’s too liberal.
Most of all, have the zen discipline to focus on what brought you together and what you share. Grow and enjoy that.
But if she starts bloviating about immigration, informed by her confirmation-biased Facebook feed with postings from Breitbart by GOP friends, be like Elsa: Let it go. Your mate will love you more for loving her in spite of her being a Republican.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer.