The Secret Lives of Democratic Women Married to MAGA Men
The distraught wives and girlfriends of Trump voters have built a community around my radio show
Days before the 2018 midterm elections, a woman named Lisa was driving on a remote road in sun-baked Eastern Washington. An area that encompasses all of the state East of the Cascade Range — which is to say, most of the state — Eastern Washington over the past decade has been home to several unsuccessful movements to secede from liberal Seattle and the Pacific Coast to become the 51st U.S. state.
Not surprisingly, it is ruby red Trump country.
On this particular day, Lisa was listening to the live call-in radio show I host weekday afternoons on SiriusXM. We were talking about politics but also about a topic that would soon emerge as a recurring theme on the show: the divide inside marriages that Donald Trump and his presidency had created. A woman was on the line from her kitchen in rural Michigan, recounting her struggles as a progressive Democrat married to a Trump supporter.
Lisa, a college-educated white professional in her forties, painfully related to what she heard. She pulled over to the side of the road and phoned in.
“Wow, I’m not even sure what to say,” Lisa began. “This hit so much home. I almost wanted to cry.”
It was an early instance of what would, over the next year, become a surprising — and strong — community of Democrats married to Trump supporters reaching out to each other through my satellite radio show on SiriusXM’s Progress channel. (All callers to the radio program use only their first names and locations, and I am using that convention for the women I spoke with by phone or through Facebook, too, so they could feel free to discuss sensitive marital matters.)
Lisa’s husband, a farmer from a family that had been in the business for generations, told her he was a registered Democrat when they first met. “Back then, six years ago, we didn’t talk about politics because it really wasn’t part of our relationship at that time,” Lisa told the listeners. “Then, when we went through the election, I voted for Hillary Clinton and he voted for Trump. And our relationship has been on the rocks ever since.”