[F]riendships should survive some political differences: I have friends who think differently than I do about everything from proper tax rates to abortion regulations. But having a friend who supports a blatantly (and proudly) bigoted candidate is categorically different. Everyone might have a different line about what issue to take some sort of moral stand on, but Trump has stepped over pretty much all of them. (The Lincoln comparison, moreover, doesn’t make much sense because it is Trump’s election that would tear the country apart.)
[Conservative pundit Peter] Wehner writes, “When political differences shatter friendships, when we attribute disagreements to deep character flaws, it usually means politics has become too central to our lives.” Call me moralistic, but I think being a racist or supporting a racist is a deep character flaw, and I don’t think I believe this because politics is too central to my life.
The problem here is … Trump. To talk about issues “deeper” than politics is to make the assumption that family and friendship have greater emotional meaning to us than, say, the precise makeup of the Senate. But what if you have family members or friends who are Muslims living overseas who want to visit America or Mexican American children worried about being stigmatized during a Trump administration? Wehner has been right to point out Trump’s unique brand of awfulness, which is why he shouldn’t have so much trouble understanding that this election has come to be about something more than “politics.”