Strange bedfellows: spouses splitting the vote in their homes

posted at 8:41 pm on February 8, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

Another of those strange little sidebar tales coming off the campaign trail popped up this week and it hits rather close to home for yours truly. Of course, the feature in this story from NPR Vermont is about two Democrats, but I have to wonder how much of this goes on across the country. This couple features only one spouse who is feeling the Bern.

Carol and Bob Backus have been married 15 years. They’re both engaged citizens and longstanding Democrats, but this year they watched the Democratic debate in separate rooms.

Like many Democrats in New Hampshire, the couple is split over their vote in this year’s primary. Carol is a fierce advocate of Sen. Bernie Sanders, and Bob is throwing his weight behind former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Though Bob was quick to point out that he and his wife did come together during the debate to make cookies.

At least they’re willing to eat at the same table. If you read the interview, both the husband and the wife are clearly engaged and trying to keep up with the issues, but arrive at different destinations. Perhaps one of the more amazing moments is when the wife compares Bernie Sanders to John F. Kennedy. (Sorry… I should have warned you to put your coffee down before tossing that one out there.)

This can’t be all that uncommon. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, I happen to be married to a Democrat, though she’s one who really doesn’t like Hillary Clinton. (She is feeling the Bern though, sadly.) I can speak to the depths these in house divisions run to, possibly more so than most folks. Back in 2012 I was top line staff in a congressional campaign for a Republican attempting to unseat a 20 year incumbent Democrat in a D +10ish district. It absorbed all my time as such things do and was the main subject of conversation between my wife and I when I managed to have some time at home. The race was drawing shockingly close for such a tough district and while we knew that we could still lose it was going to be a nail biter. We talked about how, if my guy won, we would have to move to D.C. as a staffer and the changes it would mean for us. My wife was not only supportive, but seemed excited at the prospect. She supported me fully in my work and seemed very positive about the prospect of a major career change.

And in the end she still voted for the Democrat anyway.

That was before I came up with the #HeadDesk hashtag, but it certainly would have applied. Thinking back on that I began wondering how much damage politics can do to your relationship. Should we only date and marry within our own “tribe” politically speaking? I managed to find this interview with “relationship expert” Joan Barnard a while ago which purports to answer some of those questions.

Barnard’s study showed women care more about politics than men do. Women were 20 percent more likely to respond with “very important” and “somewhat important” when asked how important it is to reveal political party affiliation in an online profile or during initial conversations.

Research also shows how age can influence your opinions. Men between 18 and 24 were 20 percent more likely than any other age group to admit to having changed their political beliefs due to a significant other’s influence.

The majority of men and women admit to dating across party lines. Seventy-five percent of respondents stated that they do date across political party lines.

Young people changing their views on politics isn’t all that surprising to me, and if you’re doing it “for love” at that age I suppose it’s forgiven. People do a lot for love. Later in life we seem to settle more into our ways and will be less likely to let a relationship throw us off track. But does it really hurt? Hasn’t seemed to do any damage in our house and it sounds like Carol and Bob Backus plan on sticking together no matter who gets the Dem nomination. I suppose love is still grand after all.

But just to be sure we might want to check back in on Carol and Bob this September.

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Comments

Who cares?

Dick Richard on February 8, 2016 at 8:44 PM

And in the end she still voted for the Democrat anyway.

…that’s gotta leave a bruise…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 8, 2016 at 8:44 PM

But just to be sure we might want to check back in on Carol and Bob this September.

…they’ll both be voting for Biden…heh…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 8, 2016 at 8:45 PM

Funny you should mention JFK as being compared to the Bern. JFK would be a republican today and is more conservative then at least 2 of the Republicans running for the nomination. The Bern would probably be in jail for some of his anti American comments as a communist sympathizer.

ArthurMachado on February 8, 2016 at 8:47 PM

They should both be beaten with a shovel.

M240H on February 8, 2016 at 8:48 PM

One goes to the federal motel, the other to the institution. Jedem das Seine.

Rix on February 8, 2016 at 8:48 PM

My wife was a Dem when we married. Now she is a fervent Cruz supporter. She moved to the right as I moved to the Libertarian camp. We don’t see eye to eye on all issues, but at least I fixed the main problem.

tdarrington on February 8, 2016 at 8:49 PM

I’ve wondered how people from different ends of the political spectrum survive through election season. It would be really tough, especially if one or both of them was very passionate about their candidate.

lineholder on February 8, 2016 at 8:50 PM

I’ve wondered how people from different ends of the political spectrum survive through election season. It would be really tough, especially if one or both of them was very passionate about their candidate.

lineholder on February 8, 2016 at 8:50 PM

One word: sex. Keep her mouth busy and she won’t argue.

Rix on February 8, 2016 at 8:55 PM

I’ve wondered how people from different ends of the political spectrum survive through election season. It would be really tough, especially if one or both of them was very passionate about their candidate.

lineholder on February 8, 2016 at 8:50 PM

…we’ll see an “Election Babies” commercial at next year’s SBowl…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 8, 2016 at 8:55 PM

vote how I tell you and make me a sandwich…

oh wait, I’m divorced

wolly4321 on February 8, 2016 at 8:55 PM

NPR concocts bs scenarios. I listen to them all the time. You always gotta ask yourself when you hear an NPR story: “how did NPR get together with this individual or individuals?”. Did they call NPR on the phone and say “hey look at us! Dude likes Hillary and chick likes Bernie! Get someone over here to interview us quick!”.

Look into these people and you’ll likely find them playing roles in other leftist media scenarios in the past.

Buddahpundit on February 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM

Of course, the feature in this story from NPR Vermont is about two Democrats, but I have to wonder how much of this goes on across the country. This couple features only one spouse who is feeling the Bern.

They’ve got bigger problems than who to vote for this time around.

Cleombrotus on February 8, 2016 at 9:01 PM

My wife is a recovering Liberal. She even worked on one of Dennis Kucinich’s campaigns a long time ago. Proud to say I’ve brought her to the dark side.

tommytom02 on February 8, 2016 at 9:03 PM

vote how I tell you and make me a sandwich…

oh wait, I’m divorced

wolly4321 on February 8, 2016 at 8:55 PM

…the wife loved that…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 8, 2016 at 9:05 PM

…wait till Skank finds out her hubby voted for Trump…

Pelosi Schmelosi on February 8, 2016 at 9:06 PM

I’ve got no problem dating Democrat women. I’ve often found it’s far easier to get into their pants than it is with Republican women. Then again, I can’t say as I’d want to settle down with a DW for the rest of life. I mean, if they’re that shallow to allow feelings to trump facts and logic, I’m sure some least little thing I might do that’s un-PC or just stupid would set them off.

TXUS on February 8, 2016 at 9:07 PM

Most women want to be kept….by Uncle Sam ….well at least to have him waiting if they need him.

#feminism

CWforFreedom on February 8, 2016 at 9:10 PM

Crawled over broken glass to get Mrs. Strozek to vote for Mittens (bleech!)last time around, but I’m afraid the best I’ll do this year is cancel her vote for Hilldabeast.

(It’s true – Hillary is catnip for Women of a Certain Age.)

Bruno Strozek on February 8, 2016 at 9:11 PM

Mom and Dad were married 58 years. Dad voted Democrat and Mom voted Republican their entire lives. Dad was always a little weird about it but Mom thought it was funny and so did I. They’d come back from voting and Mom would say, don’t worry, I cancelled his vote.

I was a bleeding heart Liberal and Hubby a conservative Republican when we met in college. Having children changed my views and I turned conservative and Hubby went into the business world and turned Libertarian. He now says he wasted a lot of votes voting Libertarian and will vote Republican again (for Trump).

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 9:16 PM

My wife was a Dem when we married. Now she is a fervent Cruz supporter. She moved to the right as I moved to the Libertarian camp. We don’t see eye to eye on all issues, but at least I fixed the main problem.

tdarrington on February 8, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Excellent job, sir.

kim roy on February 8, 2016 at 9:17 PM

Here in SC, I’ll be voting for Cruz, but the missus might be voting for Trump. No big deal here. We all hate Hillary and Bernie, so that sustains us. And by “all” I include my kids as well, with who, I am doing a splendid job of conservative indoctrination. Had to get to ’em before the colleges.

NY2SC on February 8, 2016 at 9:21 PM

Bruno Strozek on February 8, 2016 at 9:11 PM

That is pretty much her base, older women.

I’m one of those oldies, but I’m smart enough to be Republican(although I’m having doubts if that is being much smarter). :)

Barred on February 8, 2016 at 9:24 PM

Carol and Bob

Started laughing right there :D

DarkCurrent on February 8, 2016 at 9:27 PM

Started laughing right there :D

DarkCurrent on February 8, 2016 at 9:27 PM

Yeah, Ted and Alice are split between Trump and Cruz…

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 9:28 PM

NPR concocts bs scenarios. I listen to them all the time. You always gotta ask yourself when you hear an NPR story: “how did NPR get together with this individual or individuals?”. Did they call NPR on the phone and say “hey look at us! Dude likes Hillary and chick likes Bernie! Get someone over here to interview us quick!”.

Look into these people and you’ll likely find them playing roles in other leftist media scenarios in the past.

Buddahpundit on February 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM

In Sept we were at our second place where radio reception is not all that good except for NPR…subliminal commie nonsense comes through lima charlie. Anyways, it kept me company while doing my kitchen slave duties but validated what I always thought. All about the white hipster/avante garde/black…black and more black with latino throwed in there. I know, I’m a racist hater. Just got that out there. Okay, they did have a few pretty cool interviews that made me think.

arnold ziffel on February 8, 2016 at 9:30 PM

This can’t be all that uncommon. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, I happen to be married to a Democrat

Man up Jazz. I married an actual ChiCom 26 years ago. Now she mostly votes Republican.

(Our votes did cancel out in the WA State referendum to legalize marijuana, but otherwise perfectly in sync.)

DarkCurrent on February 8, 2016 at 9:31 PM

Men probably voted for women’s suffrage thinking they would have control over the wife’s vote. Heh, we should not have universal suffrage, only those invested in the country should have the power of the vote.
Those who defend it and those who fund it.

Constitutionalist on February 8, 2016 at 9:36 PM

Constitutionalist on February 8, 2016 at 9:36 PM

Either you’re not married, or your wife “REALLY” loves you……

Barred on February 8, 2016 at 9:41 PM

I’ve got no problem dating Democrat women. I’ve often found it’s far easier to get into their pants than it is with Republican women. Then again, I can’t say as I’d want to settle down with a DW for the rest of life. I mean, if they’re that shallow to allow feelings to trump facts and logic, I’m sure some least little thing I might do that’s un-PC or just stupid would set them off.

TXUS on February 8, 2016 at 9:07 PM

Liberal women are only for sport and practice when you’re young

Have fun with them while you’re sowing your wild oats, then settle down with an actual adult, a.k.a. a conservative

I’ll be damned if some idiot socialist is going to spew her PC venom out of one side of her mouth, then enjoy the fruits of my labor and success living in my big house and going out to nice dinners and vacations

It used to be plausible years ago, but society is so polarized now it’s hard to be around a self-espoused progressive for more than a few minutes now without them vomiting some BS talking points from MSNBC and insulting those of us who work hard and are successful

thurman on February 8, 2016 at 9:47 PM

Either you’re not married, or your wife “REALLY” loves you……

Barred on February 8, 2016 at 9:41 PM

The wife says that she really loves me.

Constitutionalist on February 8, 2016 at 9:51 PM

thurman on February 8, 2016 at 9:47 PM

Preachin’ to the choir, Bro!

TXUS on February 8, 2016 at 10:02 PM

….bedtime!

JugEarsButtHurt on February 8, 2016 at 10:57 PM

Only debate between me and my husband is whether to vote for Cruz or Trump. We are in a blue state and not voting until super Tuesday, so it doesn’t matter much anyway. We will decide our strategy when we see who’s leading at that point. I’m inclined to vote for Trump because I want to stop the GOPe and I think he’s more electable in the general, but I might go with Cruz because I like him, and if Trump is way ahead anyway, then I’d like to give Cruz a boost to stop Rubio. It’s annoying that the early states have so much power, especially when you see interviews with some of the clueless undecideds who plan to vote.

MassConservative on February 8, 2016 at 11:03 PM

Wow. Imagine that. Jazz is so persuasive that his wife is voting for Bernie.

But I could have told you that by reading just a few of his columns. His arguments always stink, and I bet his wife beats him in every debate they have.

As one of the commentators said, man up Jazz.

deadite on February 8, 2016 at 11:08 PM

NPR concocts bs scenarios. I listen to them all the time. You always gotta ask yourself when you hear an NPR story: “how did NPR get together with this individual or individuals?”.

Buddahpundit on February 8, 2016 at 8:57 PM

My wife got sucked into an interview with NPR once. They were doing a special on juvenile gymnastics injuries and were referred to her by my son’s doctor — a nationally renowned wrist specialist.

They talked to her for two hours, and in the end picked out about a minute’s worth of stuff that made her into an Asian Tiger Mom trying to live vicariously through our son, and, while doing so, screwing him up medically. Nothing about the fact that if my son was enthusiastic about gymnastics, and everything my wife said about the fact that if he didn’t want to do what he was doing, we would have dropped the gymnastics lessons in a heartbeat — because there’s quite a bit to be said about not wasting time with things you don’t want to do.

She still seethes at what NPR turned her into.

unclesmrgol on February 8, 2016 at 11:30 PM

My hubs likes Obama snuggling Christie while I am a Trump howler monkey. My daughter favors Cruz and my future son in law feels the Bern. We are all in the anybody but Hillary camp. She’s the one candidate who seems able to pull this nation together.

polly2150 on February 8, 2016 at 11:43 PM

One more reminder why I never got married.

Two much trouble for too little reward.

jake1246 on February 9, 2016 at 12:04 AM

And in the end she still voted for the Democrat anyway.

Sorry, but I couldn’t be married to someone that’s stupid.

spinach.chin on February 9, 2016 at 12:04 AM

This is why the Left wanted womens’ suffrage. When it was technically one man, one vote, in practice that meant “one family, one vote”. Once women were empowered to cancel out their husbands’ votes, that shifted a great deal of power to singles and welfare cases.

joe_doufu on February 9, 2016 at 12:06 AM

Funny you should mention JFK as being compared to the Bern. JFK would be a republican today and is more conservative then at least 2 of the Republicans running for the nomination. The Bern would probably be in jail for some of his anti American comments as a communist sympathizer.

ArthurMachado on February 8, 2016 at 8:47 PM

Indeed.

This is why the Left wanted womens’ suffrage. When it was technically one man, one vote, in practice that meant “one family, one vote”. Once women were empowered to cancel out their husbands’ votes, that shifted a great deal of power to singles and welfare cases.

joe_doufu on February 9, 2016 at 12:06 AM

Interesting point. Not sure if I agree, but it’s something that could actually be researched.

AesopFan on February 9, 2016 at 12:23 AM

Carol and Bob

Started laughing right there :D

DarkCurrent on February 8, 2016 at 9:27 PM

Yeah, Ted and Alice are split between Trump and Cruz…

Fallon on February 8, 2016 at 9:28 PM

lol

AesopFan on February 9, 2016 at 12:25 AM

If you and your spouse agree on everything one of you is unnecessary.

JS on February 9, 2016 at 1:59 AM

Liberal women, fun to date, claim to be atheists but spend a lot of time praying to God with their ankles.
Remember one in particular that had me feeling the “burn” for weeks afterwards.
And their houses always smelled like cat pee.
Spawned with a rare Kalifornia conservative in the end, thankfully.

Exninja on February 9, 2016 at 2:01 AM

If you and your spouse agree on everything one of you is unnecessary.

JS on February 9, 2016 at 1:59 AM

To some extent this is true, but that does not apply to everything that you share.

Compatible people can agree and/or disagree on many things, but a spouse that believes that Bernie Sanders has some goshdern good ideas either:

A) Is woefully uninformed
B) Desires a world that is functionally and morally opposed to everything that a conservative believes in

spinach.chin on February 9, 2016 at 2:25 AM

I figured I’d marry a Republican woman, but dated Democrats in college in the 1980s. I wanted to have some fun first. Within 15-20 years, most of them had registered Republican. I should have stayed with the fun and let events take their course!

Picaro on February 9, 2016 at 3:34 AM

The funny part is the pussy beta male wants to vote for Shrillery and the missus is willing to go to her special hell.

MJBrutus on February 9, 2016 at 6:18 AM

This is me to a tee. I would vote for Trump if he were the nominee and my wife will vote for Hillary if he is. She voted Republican in every election since we met.

My points on Hillary – the mismanagement of state secrets for example had zero impact. She is a politician and knows how things work end of story my mind is closed so shut up.

My kids in high school, have teen twins – son is Rubio, daughter Hillary – of course she has a former Democratic staffer as a teacher who evangelizes instead of teaches – shows videos that make Republicans look bad, shows documentaries on how Muslims are just like other religious people.

timoric on February 9, 2016 at 7:44 AM

If you continue a relationship with somebody whose political views are antithetical to yours you are a moron and deserve endless domestic strife.

redware on February 9, 2016 at 8:58 AM

This is why the Left wanted womens’ suffrage. When it was technically one man, one vote, in practice that meant “one family, one vote”. Once women were empowered to cancel out their husbands’ votes, that shifted a great deal of power to singles and welfare cases.
joe_doufu on February 9, 2016 at 12:06 AM

Interesting point. Not sure if I agree, but it’s something that could actually be researched.
AesopFan on February 9, 2016 at 12:23 AM

Actually, it has been researched. Women voters are more likely to vote for more government programs because women tend to make less than men do, and sometimes married women stay home altogether—so when they can’t bargain with their husbands over divorce terms, they’re more likely to end up poor. Thus, they have strong reason to value an economic support system.

Conservative Samizdat on February 9, 2016 at 9:28 AM

…I happen to be married to a Democrat, though she’s one who…

Wait… SHE?

I thought Jazz was gay? Or am I remembering that wrong?

wearyman on February 9, 2016 at 9:31 AM

If you continue a relationship with somebody whose political views are antithetical to yours you are a moron and deserve endless domestic strife.

redware on February 9, 2016 at 8:58 AM

Or you are so one dimensional that there is nothing else in your life but politics.

When I got married I was a life long moderate Democrat from a family of Democrats and my spouse was a life long BHL Democrat from a family like that. Over the years we both have moved right – I now consider myself a moderate/conservative Republican and husband a moderate Democrat.

He doesn’t like either Bernie or Hillary but unless the GOP nominates one of the squishy moderates he will most likely vote for Hillary because he does believe in a strong govt role in social issues.

We discuss politics occasionally but he has his opinions and I have mine. We’ve been married for decades and are neither morons or have domestic strife.

katiejane on February 9, 2016 at 9:37 AM

Married 31 years, we have voted for the same person twice. One Democrat (Mark Warner for Gov. of VA) and one Republican for Congress (Mike Fitzpatrick, PA-8).

rockmom on February 9, 2016 at 10:46 AM

I could absolutely NOT be married to a woman that would either support the liberalcrats or the GOPecrats.

No freaking way. Them supporting the socialist, progressive, liberal way would totally hose the relationship. Stupid is cute when you’re drunk at a bar and she’s all ditzy and stuff, but you have to wake up and sober up eventually. Then it’s just nasty.

You wake to discover that she woke up first and was trying desperately to figure out the password to your computer so she can see your bank account and financial spreadsheets, she’s been at your phone, and your desk has been gone through because she’s looking for the checkbook, you can’t find your pants because she took them to the bathroom to rifle through the pockets out of sight, but the one thing she hasn’t touched is the gun you keep near the bed. You slip on some cover and go into the bathroom and ask her what the hell she’s doing going through your stuff in the closet, instead of answering she asks why you have this and that, and why is everything password protected.

You call her a cab next, then check her pockets and her purse before you set the hairy beast on the front porch to wait for her cab to arrive, and lock the door behind her. If she starts pounding on the door and ringing the bell constantly, you call your buddy the state trooper to come over for a quick cup of coffee and the chance to toss yet another liberal skank in the holding cell for a day. As she’s hauled off, you once again swear off liberal stink bags, and wash your junk in anti viral soap with a teaspoon of bleach, then put a sticky note reminder on the fridge to schedule yet another doctor visit to make sure you aren’t infected with anything, even though condoms are your best friend. Safety….second at least.

Typical Saturday night/Sunday morning at the edge of the big city.

Andy__B on February 9, 2016 at 12:53 PM