When I was growing up, I heard the adage to never discuss two things with guests: religion and politics. The rationale was that these two subjects more often lead to contention and strong feelings. This year those strong feelings and contentious discussions are leading to more than arguments and awkward moments with friends and family: they’re leading to the end of relationships. We’ve gone from being able to agree to disagree to believing that politics are bringing out the worst in others.
A poll conducted by Monmouth University lays the situation out pretty clearly: “Fully 70% of American voters say that this year’s presidential campaign has brought out the worst in people. Only 4% say it has brought out the best in people. Another 5% say it has done a little of both and 20% say it has done neither. Democrats (78%), Republicans (65%), and independents (66%) agree that the 2016 campaign has brought out the worst in people.” The poll finds 7 percent of Americans reporting they’ve lost a friend over this election. Slightly more Hillary Clinton supporters than Donald Trump supporters reported losing friends.
When the worst of all of us is out in full force, it’s bad news for our relationships. Social media makes it more difficult to avoid politics with even distant acquaintances, and seeing the political views and stories that people choose to share when feelings are so volatile can make it hard to maintain friendships with people who fall on different sides of the issues.
Read more at The Federalist.