The “demoralizing” nature of last year’s election cycle might be the one thing on which partisans around the table can agree, and that’s not just on Trump—both candidates carried historic unfavorable ratings. Only one candidate, however, could inflame tensions on both sides by the sheer mention of his name alone. With emotions running the gamut from elation to dread in the first few weeks after his shocking victory, Trump seems to have given many people a reason to avoid breaking bread with their political opposites.
Journalist Alaina Boukedes is one of them. She calls Chicago, one of the country’s bluest cities, home, but she was raised in deep-red Alabama and returns there for Thanksgiving each year. For Boukedes and her sister—a bureaucrat at the Environmental Protection Agency—the election was deeply personal, with Trump specifically targeting each of their professions. And while it had never been unusual for them to find themselves at political loggerheads with their father, a staunch Republican army veteran, over Thanksgiving dinners in the past, Trump’s unique derision for their callings deepened what had previously been a navigable divide.
“It was strange to think that my dad prioritized certain things that I couldn’t fathom in the first place,” Boukedes says.