What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Divided on Trump, how this couple keeps their relationship together

In rural Virginia, 150 miles from the White House, sits one of the more than 200 counties in the U.S. that voted for President Obama twice and then President Trump in 2016. As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, Amna Nawaz talks to Lisa Bogan and Jimmy Clowry, a politically divided couple living in a politically divided county, about how they manage their opposing perspectives on Trump.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In rural Virginia, about 150 miles southwest of the White House, sits one of the more than 200 counties in the U.S. that voted for President Obama twice and then President Trump in 2016.

    With the 2020 campaign now in full swing, Amna Nawaz recently visited one couple living in a politically divided house in this politically divided country.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    For three years, Lisa Bogan and Jimmy Clowry have lived and worked together, caring for goats and chickens on their ranch in Buckingham County, Virginia.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    This is from one of our first trips. We went up to Upstate New York just camping. We used to camp a lot.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Cooks Falls.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Cooks Falls. I told you he would know where.

    One of the things I think that really helped seed this relationship in the beginning was commonality.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Does Lisa do all of the cooking?

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    She does most of the cooking. I make the best egg sandwich.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    The best.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jimmy and Lisa now are planning for their future together.

    Look at that.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    So, the banner, as we were breaking it out, I take a knee, and I'm like, "Will you marry me?"

    And I'm holding the ring. And she's chewing food.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    … like that.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    But not long after Lisa said yes, things changed.

    At what point did you first realize, wait a second, we're on two very different pages here?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    I think the 2016 election really stamped and, like, resonated with both of us.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jimmy, a retired Marine, likes to listen to conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh on his hour-long drive to work.

    Lisa, a waitress, listens to NPR. Jimmy voted for President Trump. And though he doesn't agree with everything the president says or tweets, he likes what the president's been doing.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    The economy's doing well. You know, the military is getting the support that it needs, which is a big, big thing.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa was a Hillary Clinton voter in 2016. Her top issues now are health care and climate change. She says President Trump doesn't represent her or the country.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    I am so, so dead against our president. I don't feel like he is someone that we can respect. I don't think Jimmy really grasps how much it upsets me. But there are a lot of issues.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jimmy, what's it like for you to see her get that upset about the person you voted for?

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    You know, she's got to — she's got to flow and roll with her emotion. I mean, it's just — it's a way of getting it out, whatever it is. I can't — I don't have any control over that. But…

  • Lisa Bogan:

    But he impacts my life directly.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Well…

  • Lisa Bogan:

    That someone of his demeanor, especially as his actions are towards women. I mean, I just feel like he's disrespectful.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The division here in Lisa and Jimmy's home is actually playing itself out across the entire country. In fact, one study by the Pew Research Center actually measured the partisan political divide in America and found that, over the last 20 years, that gap had more than doubled.

  • Jocelyn Kiley:

    Trump is the most polarizing president we have ever had.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jocelyn Kiley is the associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. She says couples like Jimmy and Lisa are increasingly rare.

  • Jocelyn Kiley:

    For the most part, people say that their spouses or partner share their same party or lean towards the same party. So about nine in 10 of both Democrats and Republicans say this. So it's certainly not the case that it's common to have a politically mixed couple.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Jimmy and Lisa have learned firsthand some of the challenges of disagreeing politically with a partner. Take immigration.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    This was our argument last night. This is what we were arguing about.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You were arguing about immigration last night?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Lisa was deeply opposed to the Trump policy of family separation at the Mexican border. Jimmy's undecided on the president's proposed border wall, but largely agrees with his positions, especially with the increase of migrant families crossing the southern border.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Hold it like that. Put the clip in.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Like that?

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When it comes to gun laws, Lisa says she wants to see more restrictions.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    That scares people who like their guns. They don't want more control. It makes them think that someone is going to come and take their guns away. And then how are they going to protect themselves?

  • Amna Nawaz:

    I notice you won't even look at Jimmy when you're making these points.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    No.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Why is that?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Because I'm afraid.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Afraid of what?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Reaction.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    What do you think, Jimmy? What you think about what she's saying?

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    You know again, that's her — that's her opinion.

    It's not the weapon that does it. It's a human. More background checks, I'm not against that. I think it should happen.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    We agree on something.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    But now there's a new battle brewing on the horizon, the 2020 presidential election.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Is that the number one issue for you, is which of these candidates you think can beat President Trump?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Yes, it is.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Which of these candidates can beat the person that Jimmy is going to vote for?

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Yes. Sorry, but yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    And, Jimmy, you're dead set; you know you're going to vote for President Trump again?

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The fact that their union can withstand a deep political divide, they say, should offer hope to the rest of the country, and maybe even some lessons for elected officials on different sides of the aisle.

  • Lisa Bogan:

    Try and find the points that you do agree on, maybe, and have more conversations about that.

  • Jimmy Clowry:

    I wouldn't want to overstep my bounds and say something that's just irresponsible because I want my side to be right.

    I don't want anything to be about just being right. I want it to be something that you can both come together with and go in the right positive direction.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz in Buckingham County, Virginia.

Listen to this Segment

The Latest