Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

He's For Trump, She's For Biden: How A Married Couple Navigate Political Differences


There's no escaping America's red-blue divide for one Colorado couple. They live each day with deep partisan differences on everything from President Trump to health care. Bente Birkeland from Colorado Public Radio spent time with them as they navigate this tense election season.

BENTE BIRKELAND, BYLINE: When some families disagree on politics, they decide it's best to just avoid the topic altogether. That is not the case for Hilary and Matt Glasgow. They invite me into their living room to chat.

HILARY GLASGOW: This is my husband Matt.

BIRKELAND: Hi, nice to meet you.

H GLASGOW: And this is Bente.

BIRKELAND: Hilary and Matt have been married for five years and have three kids between them. The couple settles in on a large sofa. They say they fight about politics more than anything else.

H GLASGOW: Probably at least once a day, we have an argument about something - at least.

BIRKELAND: Hilary heads Colorado's state employee union. She's a diehard Democrat. Her husband, Matt, is a mechanic who works nights at a Target distribution center. He's a Republican. He voted for Trump in 2016 and is backing him again. His wife can't understand it.

H GLASGOW: It was one thing to vote for Trump the first time. You know, like, America maybe had an idea of what he would be. This - we have crossed over into authoritarianism, into fascism. To me, it's like, how are you guys all so law and order, and then you let this guy come in and break every law?

MATT GLASGOW: And I disagree with that perception of it.

BIRKELAND: It's the media and the left that sensationalize and overreact to the president, Matt says. And he says no matter who wins the election, it's not the end of the world.

M GLASGOW: Like, who cares who the president - don't you want healthy kids more so than...

H GLASGOW: Yeah, but you might - if you have a president who can't manage a pandemic response, your kids are more at risk.

M GLASGOW: Oh, my God. Yeah, you're right. The month long of looting and rioting in every single state in America had nothing to do with it.

H GLASGOW: The only time that your side cares about anything is if capital gets destroyed.


H GLASGOW: Like, oh...

M GLASGOW: Like, I'm just saying...

BIRKELAND: The Glasgows live in Pueblo, a majority-Latino town about two hours south of Denver. Even though registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, the county narrowly voted for Trump. Statewide, Colorado backed Clinton.

M GLASGOW: Well, it was...

H GLASGOW: No, I'm not saying that.

BIRKELAND: After more than an hour of back and forth, it's clear that when it comes to politics, they don't agree on much.

H GLASGOW: And you woke me up one night and you - I was sleeping. And you were like, do you really think that health care is a right and not a privilege? And I was like, of course that's what I think. Of course it's a right. Everybody...

M GLASGOW: Hey, then let's everybody pay for it.

BIRKELAND: Matt says the left's solution to universal health care is just to have the rich pick up the tab.

M GLASGOW: It's so insane. Take all their money. It's still not going to work out like that, guys.

H GLASGOW: I mean...

M GLASGOW: So let's be honest about it.

BIRKELAND: Both describe themselves as argumentative and opinionated. And even though they've never changed the other person's mind, they say that's not really the point.

M GLASGOW: I don't see how interacting with somebody that might look at something different than you isn't - how could it be bad? Too many people are in bubbles.

BIRKELAND: The couple does have some common ground. Hilary says it's important to her that Matt supports abortion rights and values unions. Beyond that, everything's fair game.

H GLASGOW: Just 'cause I disagree with you does not mean that I don't love you. I still love you.

BIRKELAND: That doesn't mean she was willing to turn in her husband's ballot at the drop box with the rest of the family like she usually does. She says, this election, he had to do that for himself.

For NPR News, I'm Bente Birkeland in Pueblo, Colo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bente Birkeland has covered Colorado politics and government since spring of 2006. She loves the variety and challenge of the state capitol beat and talking to people from all walks of life. Bente's work has aired on NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, American PublicMedia'sMarketplace, and she was a contributor for WNYC's The Next Big Thing. She has won numerous local and national awards, including best beat reporting from the Association of Capitol Reporters and Editors. Bente grew up in Minnesota and England, and loves skiing, hiking, and is an aspiring cello player. She lives in Lakewood with her husband.
Bente Birkeland
Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.