Thanksgiving serves up potential for political tension among families

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Supply chain management senior John Falke’s family is politically split between Democrats and Republicans. After this year’s heated election, many students like Falke are heading home for the first time.
Photo Credit: Juan Figueroa | Daily Texan Staff

Thanksgiving break is the first time some students will face their families since the election. 

For students like supply chain management senior John Falke, his family is split politically. Falke, his sister and mother voted for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, while his brother and father voted for Republican and President-elect Donald Trump. 

“If Thanksgiving was before election season, there I would be, smug as a bug because Hillary Clinton is going to win and she is going to be our 45th president,” Falke said. “But dealing with loss sucks, and it just sucks when you can’t convince people you love that your side is better. It hurts when your family doesn’t agree with your values.”

Falke said it is difficult to avoid talking about politics, even though his political values differ from some in his family.

Communication studies junior Zach Long identifies as a moderate Republican. Long voted for a Democratic candidate for the first time ever, because he prioritizes her policies relating to abortion and gay marriage.

When he told his family he was voting for Clinton, Long said they were in shock.

“My family is very conservative, very deeply rooted in Christian values,” Long said. “When I told them I was voting for Hillary Clinton, my grandparents were almost disgusted by it. My dad would just roll his eyes and scoff.”

Long said one of his uncles constantly messaged him fake news articles and tried to convince him he was wrong to vote for someone as unreliable as Clinton.

“I would just refuse to do anything at that point with him,” Long said. “It got to a point where I wouldn’t want to have a productive political conversation, because of the way he treated me, because of who I decided to support. It baffled me that family members would treat someone that way, just based off a political affiliation.”

Long said he is not going home for Thanksgiving break because he has to work. 

“Hopefully by Christmas when I go home, it will be kind of over by now,” Long said. “But we’ll see what happens.”

Journalism junior Savannah Schoffstall grew up in Pflugerville and identifies as a Republican. Schoffstall voted for Trump because she disagrees with Clinton’s stance on abortion and her immigration policies. 

Schoffstall said her family members share her political values, but she avoids talking about her political views at the University because she fears being judged.

“I never feel like I can say what I want to say because most people are not accepting of my views at all,” Schoffstall said. “I have to constantly put it aside, because I know that I can never be open about what I think and how I feel.”

Schoffstall said it makes her feel uncomfortable when people say all Trump supporters are xenophobic, homophobic, racist and sexist.

“I think it’s absolutely terrible,” Schoffstall said. “I think it’s disrespectful and rude, and yes, there are racist people still here, but it’s just stereotypical, and I don’t agree with it at all.”

Schoffstall said the people she grew up with ask her why she chose to attend UT, which is generally more liberal, when she could’ve gone to Texas A&M. 

“I’ve always kind of wanted to go to UT, regardless of what kind of school it is,” Schoffstall said. “I think it’s important to get a good education.”