Bob Bestler

Bestler: Election 2016 is here, but keep it off the dinner table

By Bob Bestler

I try not to pay attention to politics these days, especially since presidential politics became all-Trump all the time.

But I notice we have just entered another election year, and that means I may have to put some friendships on hold.

That's the way it is when you're a Democrat in crimson-red South Carolina. Or when you spend time on such a Republican bastion as a golf course. Not many lefties out there, you know.

The thing is, according to columnists Ezra Klein and Alvin Chang, Republicans and Democrats dislike each other more than ever before.

In 1960, for instance, only about 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they would be upset if their son or daughter married someone of the other political party.

Five decades later, 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats called a mixed political marriage taboo.

Findings like this help explain why Congress is so dysfunctional. The place is filled with distrust and disdain and that, apparently, is but a reflection of the country as a whole. The enemy, dear Pogo, is us.

I seem to know a lot of Republicans — indeed, some of my best friends are Republicans — but I don't plan to marry them. I'm perfectly happy with my yellow-dog Democrat bride. We can only wonder how James Carville and Mary Matalin make it through the morning.

In study after study, the authors wrote, political scientists are finding that “Republicans and Democrats view each other with a growing disdain that borders on hatred.”

That contempt even carries over into TV talk shows. I have never spent five minutes with Fox News; I doubt that many Republicans know where to find MSNBC, the news channel du jour in our home.

I, of course, know and like too many Republicans to carry “hate” into our relationship.

One of those people is my oldest son. I think he votes Republican, but we seldom talk about it.

I certainly never bring it up. Life is short and I go crazy when talking politics with, you know, those people. But he's my son and I love him so we keep politics at a safe distance.

The same is true in South Carolina. Keep politics at a safe distance and enjoy all the rest the state has to offer. Maybe it will get me through this election year, Trump or no Trump.

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