“You have to watch this John Oliver segment on Trump,” I tell my husband, Pat Dixon, but as I start to queue it up on YouTube, I can already foresee the pointlessness of the endeavor.
“Fine, play it,” Pat concedes, his contempt scarcely hidden.
As Oliver’s segment progresses, my husband tries to refute various points, and I shush him to pay attention and listen. Then I proceed to interrupt to expound on a point Oliver is making, completely backtracking on my own ground rules. As Oliver’s grand finale of “DRUMPF” appears in the background with a hip-hop song rebranding the candidate as an imposter loser whose family changed its “dopey” name, Pat shakes his head in bewilderment.
“Do you really think this is political commentary?” my husband asks. “They’ve got nothing.”
It’s times like these that I squint my eyes at Pat sitting alone at his desk — just a few feet away from me in our tidy, hotel-room-size Chelsea apartment, still wearing the long-sleeve blue shirt and maroon striped tie he wears almost every night — and I wonder, “Who is this man?”
My name is Mandy, and my husband is a Donald Trump supporter.
When we got married in November, I never would have dreamed Trump could be an issue. But now our very young marriage is facing a relationship crucible: our first election year.
I glare at Pat and respond, “Yes, I think it’s fucking political commentary!”
Then I physically scoot away from my husband on the bed where we are sitting. He bristles, too. It’s apparent we are both repulsed by one another, and it sucks. If there were a sexual position called the Trump, it would be the one where you don’t have any because you’re too angry from fighting about Trump.
“You consider this a takedown?” Pat carries on about the Last Week Tonight sketch. “Some of that was lazy writing, too. ‘Sausage-fingered?’ That’s first-draft shit. I mean, they had to pore over his old tweets to find … what? That he displayed a degree of impertinence to Jon Stewart?”
“It shows he’s a liar!” I say, getting increasingly upset that my husband is not on my side. “He’s a big fat liar! And if you believe him that means you’re a liar who likes other liars! Liar, liar, liar. LIAR!”
I don’t want this screaming shitshow to be our marriage. I want to support my spouse no matter what. I want him to support me no matter what. But as it stands right now, Donald Trump is causing more problems for our marriage than if Pat were having a secret affair with Melania.
I read articles aloud and show him news segments. He returns with his own articles and news segments that refute mine. Pat maintains that Trump’s naysayers carelessly misquote him and make a lot of broad-stroke pronouncements but present few facts. To my husband, those who attack Trump consist of a “knee-jerk, ‘yes, and’-ing sewing circle of hypocritical snobs.”
He says Trump is the only candidate who is confident enough to speak extemporaneously, and that when you take into account how often he’s just winging it, he makes very few mistakes. He says if Trump is a liar, then he’s even more qualified to be POTUS.
Desperate to change his mind, I try to appeal to Pat’s sense of self-interest as a stand-up comedian. “He’s going to have a chilling effect on the First Amendment!” I cry. “You might not be able to do some of the comedy you do if the libel laws change and the standard is no longer set at demonstrating malice.”
“You don’t really believe that, do you?” he asks, looking incredulous.
I am scrambling here. This is the very reason that I prefer to stay out of political discussions to begin with: I know that my arsenal of data is going to be akin to an eighth-grader doing a book report.
I hate my husband having an answer for everything I hate about Donald Trump almost more than I hate the candidate himself.
Our Trump Slump began a few months ago around the time of the Megyn Kelly dustup. The topic began coming up daily, and then one day Pat finally spoke it aloud.
“The more I read and hear about Trump,” my husband said, “the more I like him.”
The first step of having a Donald Trump supporter for a husband is accepting you are powerless over having a husband who is a Donald Trump supporter. That’s where I’m at.
I even try to embrace the aspects of Trump that seem refreshing to me. I, too, find hashtag activists self-righteous and insulated from the real world. If I never have to read another apology from a comedian for making a joke, that would be too soon.
Pat speaks to what I like, emphasizing Trump’s revelatory skill as a performer: “He’s the closest to a stand-up comedian we’re ever going to get as president. Democrats hate him and Republicans hate him. The entire political establishment hates him. He’s got my vote.”
Pat keeps me informed of all the backtracking haters now, like when Donald Trump held a press conference on Super Tuesday, and Kelly said he looked “presidential.” See, Pat said, others are changing their minds; why can’t I?
I just can’t.
Sure, I can look past some degree of political lying and business bluster, but a candidate who can’t admit that he is wrong or made a mistake? That person is terrifying to me.
“He’s a misogynist,” I say.
“He’s an entertainer,” Pat counters.
“The name-calling, the put-downs, the focus on appearance …” I list Trump’s crimes against women, which are seemingly endless.
“Yeah,” Pat replies, “he says things. So what?”
But I just can’t swallow it in a presidential candidate. All the worst-case scenarios of political incorrectness turned full-on psychopathy are not just red flags, they’re deal-breakers.
Which leads me to ask myself during these fights: Why isn’t my husband’s support of Trump a deal-breaker for me?
I have only one answer. It’s the same reason that I would never disavow any person who supported Trump, or any other candidate.
Because I endorse the independent-minded instincts that lead to my husband’s Trump support, and I definitely don’t want him to absentmindedly participate in groupthink. To try to quell his beliefs is even more damaging than the damaging candidate himself.
But, on a purely selfish note, I am sick of our sex life experiencing the Trump Slump. Which is why I’ve declared a moratorium on political discussion before sleep.
“Another big win for Trump today,” Pat begins as we watch TV and settle into bed for the night.
“I don’t want to hear it,” I groan. “Let’s talk about literally anything else.”
Who’s to say whether Trump is going to make America great again. But one thing I know for sure: I’ll be damned if I let him make my marriage worse.