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Heated White House race divides families, friends

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Husband and wife Buzz and Mary Ann Neff, of Dryden, talk about their differing politcial viewpoints Friday in downtown Homer.

CORTLAND — For the past year and a half, one of the most potent topics of discussion that takes a pleasant family dinner and turns it into a heated courtroom-like debate, is who should be the next president: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

In their 38 years of marriage, Maryann Neff of Dryden said she and her husband, Buzz, never conflicted over who they thought should be president. Until this year.

She is voting for Trump. Buzz is voting for Clinton.

Maryann Neff said they now avoid talking about politics, but with concerning news about both candidates coming out almost every day, she and Buzz tend to argue about the two candidates almost every night.

“I don’t let him (Buzz) watch CNN anymore,” she said as their disagreements tend to create friction between them at times.

She said she has seen what is reported about both Clinton and Trump and that both of them have faults, but she likes that “Trump is going to bring back the country” and his plans for helping it.

Buzz Neff said he just does not trust Trump and he “doesn’t want him in charge of the nuke button.”

Even though the two do not see eye-to-eye on whom they are voting for, Maryann Neff said she and Buzz are still a happy couple. And despite her disapproval of Buzz’s support for Clinton, she would not try to stop him from voting.

Heather Troup of Otisco, while on break from her job at the Cortland Regional Medical Center, said at times she gets pulled into arguments on the election when her boyfriend’s parents are around, as his father is for Trump, while his mother is for Clinton.

“They’ll argue and end up dragging us into it,” Troup said. “The conversations at times can get heated.”

They are not the only ones who will debate her on the candidates, either. She said her 9-year-old granddaughter will at times generate a debate, as the young girl wants Clinton to be president.

“She has no idea about any of the topics or issues,” Troup said. “She just wants a girl president.”

That is not the case for East Freetown native Pam Sutton’s 12-year-old granddaughter, who also supports Clinton. Sutton said her granddaughter stays on top of all of the news involving the candidates and will try to discuss politics with her. However, she tries to stay out of the conversation as she does not want to get into an argument and typically does not like to talk about politics anyway.

Sutton said she is still unsure of who she will vote for, so there is never any tension between her and her husband or any other family members.

“Every week there is a different news story about Clinton or Trump, that is why it is so confusing,” she said about trying to pick one to support.

For some of those who do have a clear idea of who they are going to vote for, they try to avoid the topic completely in conversation for fear of the arguments and friction it could cause with friends and family.

Kathy Galusha of Cortland said in her family a lot of the older people are going to vote for Clinton, while a majority of the rest of her family, including herself, will be voting for Trump. But to keep peace, she tries not to discuss the topic at all.

“I keep my opinion to myself and do what is necessary,” she said.

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