He’s For Trump, She’s For Biden: How A Politically Divided Marriage Thrives In A Tough Year

October 30, 2020
Matt and Hilary Glasgow at their home in Pueblo.Matt and Hilary Glasgow at their home in Pueblo.Bente Birkeland/CPR News
Matt and Hilary Glasgow at their home in Pueblo.

If you want to see America’s red-blue political divide in its most intimate form, just visit the home of Hilary and Matt Glasgow in Pueblo.

The couple — she’s a Democratic labor organizer, he’s a Republican mechanic — are deeply split on everything from President Donald Trump to health care policy to the pandemic. And unlike some families that disagree on politics and just avoid the topic altogether, they do the opposite, and tackle it head on. The couple has three children between them, and in the five years they’ve been married, they say they fight about politics more than anything else.

“Probably, at least once a day, we'll have an argument about something, at least,” says Hilary. She heads Colorado’s state employee union, Colorado WINS. Her husband Matt voted for Trump in 2016 and is backing him again, something his wife just can’t understand.

Need Some Ballot Assistance? Check Out Our 2020 Voter Guide

“It was one thing to vote for Trump the first time, you know? Like America maybe had an idea of what he would be,” she says. “We have crossed over into authoritarianism, into facisim. It's like, how are you guys all so law and order? And then you let this guy come in and break every law? I think we are dealing with, like, a cult sort of situation here.”

“And I disagree with that perception of it,” Matt responds. 

It’s the media and the left that sensationalize and overreact to the president, Matt says. He adds that no matter who wins the election, he doesn’t think it’s the end of the world. While he pays close attention to politics when he’s at home, he says the rest of the time he’s not focused on it.

“Like who cares who the president [is]? Don't you want healthy kids?” he asks his wife.

“You have a president who can't manage a pandemic response,” she responds. “Your kids are more at risk.”

Immediately they’ve launched into a fresh argument, about whether the president or the summer’s social justice movements are more to blame for the spread of the virus.

The Glasgow’s hometown, Pueblo, is almost as politically divided as their marriage. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, yet the county narrowly voted for Trump in 2016. This election it could play a key role in determining the outcome of Colorado's 3rd Congressional District race, where Republican newcomer Lauren Boebert and Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush are vying for the open seat.

Bente Birkeland/CPR News
The Glasgows argue daily about politics and have stopped speaking to each other occasionally when a fight has gotten too heated.

Hilary and Matt say they have sometimes gone a few days without speaking after a particularly bad political argument, but that’s rare. And they do have some areas where they agree. Hilary says it’s important to her that Matt supports abortion rights and values unions, the two issues most important to her. But beyond that everything’s fair game. 

Both describe themselves as argumentative and very opinionated — Matt once woke his wife up in the middle of the night to debate Obamacare. But even though they fail day after day to change the other person’s mind, they say that’s not really the point. 

“I don't see how interacting with somebody that might look at something different than you — how could it be bad? Too many people are in bubbles and only hang out with people that feel the same way,” says Matt. “I don't understand how you can't respect somebody else's opinion, how that is a courtesy that seems lost. Too many people focus on the little differences and we have way more in common than that.”

Hilary says her arguments at home have shaped her views too. 

“Where I used to land was that if I met someone who was a hardcore Republican or something, I was going to argue with them and that there was no thought that I was going to try to understand their point of view at all. So I would say that's different now. And I think that's good.”

While she definitely believes her husband votes wrong, “just because I disagree with you does not mean that I don't love you. I still love you,” she tells him.

But this year’s disagreements have cut a bit deeper than in the past. Usually Hilary is in charge of dropping off all of the family’s ballots. This election, she insisted Matt do it for himself. They say that back-and-forth over the ballot was yet another argument.