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Politically Divided Families Anticipate End To Contentious Election

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Since the country seems more divided than ever, we also wanted to hear from people with different political views who still love each other like this couple.

QUIANA STERNHAGEN: My name is Quiana Sternhagen. I am a stay at home mom.

SETH STERNHAGEN: I'm Seth Sternhagen. I'm married to Quiana Sternhagen. We have three kids together, and we live in New Orleans East.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Quiana is black and Seth is white. During the Republican primary, they both voted for John Kasich, but their extended families have very different political views.

S. STERNHAGEN: My father's a pastor, and we are Bible-believing people, so a lot of times we are conservative. Her family is more...

Q. STERNHAGEN: Yeah. My family is - because we're black, especially, a lot of times the Republican candidates are not something that my family would go for, and so they usually vote Democrat. And Seth's side, you know, they're staunch Republicans, and normally that's fine. But this year that's not OK to me.

CORNISH: Quiana Sternhagen is voting for Clinton today. Seth is abstaining, but he thinks most of his family's voting Trump. They haven't actually talked about it for a while.

S. STERNHAGEN: It's best not to bring it up sometimes.

Q. STERNHAGEN: Seth is very non-confrontational. Seth is very, you know, move along.

S. STERNHAGEN: Yeah. Yeah, you're not changing any minds or hearts. I think the only way you change somebody's perspective or their line of thinking is if they love you in a way.

Q. STERNHAGEN: I don't know about that.

(LAUGHTER)

S. STERNHAGEN: I mean, I think you've convinced me on a few things.

Q. STERNHAGEN: Yeah.

S. STERNHAGEN: And I think I've convinced you on others and...

Q. STERNHAGEN: Yeah. I don't know. I think that there's times when smiling and nodding is the way to go. But if you are amongst your family, I think that it maybe - it needs to be expressed every once in a while. But if you see that the conversation is deteriorating, you know, maybe that's when it's time to say, you know, what? We don't have the same views.

MCEVERS: We put a call out for your stories on social media and on the show, and we heard from a lot of people.

CORNISH: Reanna Orzechowski is a 16 year old from Troy, Mich. She wrote (reading) my mom is hardcore Hillary and my dad supports Trump. It's been hard to watch political views tear people apart, and I wish we could all just find some common ground.

MCEVERS: Jenny Robbins from Highlands Ranch, Colo., is voting for Clinton, and she wrote that her Republican husband, Brian, has, quote, "placed his first ever online wager on a nominee he can't stand." That would be Hillary Clinton. He's literally betting on a Clinton victory.

CORNISH: Jenny Robbins goes on, quote, "that way when she wins, his winning a little bit of money will reduce the sting." I think it's pretty hilarious.

MCEVERS: And Amy Voss of Atlanta sent us this thought about her politically divided marriage.

AMY VOSS: We both acknowledged that first and foremost it's important to always stand up for what you believe in as an individual and vote for what you think is best. And then after that, it's all about us never losing sight of what made us fall in love in the first place, which was definitely not our politics.

CORNISH: Thanks to everyone who responded to our call out for stories about politically divided families. We love hearing from you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

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