Part of why the 2016 election results felt so shocking to so many was that a lot of people weren't talking about how they truly felt before they cast their votes. This year, in partnership with The New York Times, we invited you to share your deepest, darkest, and most private thoughts when it comes to politics. Did you tell your friends you voted when you actually didn't? Do you share your family members' political beliefs in public, but not in private? If this sounds like you, you aren't alone.
The Pew Research Center found in late 2017 that partisan differences between Republicans and Democrats are bigger than they've ever been in the past. But more than a third of Americans don't want to talk about politics, a poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found.
And actually, women are even more resistant to talk about politics than men, the AP-NORC survey discovered. It's not always easy to lay out exactly what you believe when you're talking to someone who you know holds a different opinion. But sometimes, just getting it off your chest helps.
The Bustle Trends Group gathered responses by surveying the Bustle Digital Group Hive, an inclusive community of BDG readers. The New York Times reached out to its readers as well. Bustle then collected these political secrets, which included lighthearted jabs at parents from their loving (though annoyed) children as well as confessions from people who felt that if they told their spouse, family member, or friend the truth, it could ruin their relationship for good.
"Some Secrets Save Marriages"
"My husband would divorce me if he knew I voted for Trump. Some secrets save marriages."
— J., 23, Utah
"I'm A Female Democrat ... Yet, I Have Pro-Life Sympathies"
"I’m a female Democrat, hard-left-leaning Democrat who voted for Bernie in the primary and Clinton in the general. I think and read and listen to politics every day. And yet, I have pro-life sympathies. Logically, I am pro-choice because of a complicated belief in what the government’s role ought to be, but I really do not think all the rhetoric about it being simply a woman’s right accurately describes the situation."
— K., 36, Michigan
"I Can't Make Myself DO Anything About It"
"I care deeply about activating against Trump and the toxic culture we're currently living in but I can't make myself DO anything about it. I guess I don't care *that* much?"
— L., 28, California
"I Thought I Was A Republican"
"I lived in a very liberal state during the 2016 elections, and I thought I was a Republican simply because I held slightly more conservative beliefs than my neighbors. Then I moved to the Midwest and realized how foolish I was. My biggest secret: I voted for Trump, and now the only thing that makes me feel better is the knowledge that those electoral college votes did not go to him."
— H., 29, Illinois
"I Always Had An Excuse Not To Volunteer For Him"
"One of my best friend's dad was running for some local office. I hated the guy, always have— nothing political, just the man drove me nuts. During the campaigning, I always had an excuse not to volunteer/canvass for him (mind you this is before social media so I didn't have to show solidarity online). Finally, as the election date approached my friend gave me a ton of fliers, posters and balloons to distribute. I left the campaign office, went to the other side of town, and threw it all in the trash. Obviously, I didn't vote for him either. Guy didn't win, not sorry about it."
— C., 31, Ohio
"If My Family Knew I Was Pro-Choice ..."
"I grew up in the 'Bible-Belt' in South Carolina in an extremely conservative and religious family. I'm now an atheist and extremely liberal. If my family knew I was pro-choice, the reaction might be worse than when I told them I was no longer a Christian (my mother told me it would have been easier if I'd told her I had cancer). My youngest brother has Down Syndrome, so my family views 'pro-choice' as the belief that my brother doesn't deserve to be alive. Politics has become our own 'don't ask, don't tell.'"
— K., 31, Ohio
"As His Daughter, That Broke Me"
"My dad voted for Trump, and I voted for Hillary. I've never told him how much it hurt, not that he voted for his own interests, but that he never stated any disagreement with Trump's treatment of women. As his daughter, that broke me. I don't care about the political disagreement. We've always had the freedom to argue about ideas. But his indifference toward the blatant disrespecting of women was painful. He has no idea how much therapy I've had to do just to learn to love and trust him again. I don't know if I can ever tell him."
— J., 23, Chicago
"I Am A Republican, But ..."
"I am a Republican, but I do feel like it’s a woman’s choice whether or not to terminate pregnancy (very early on)."
— K., 26,
"It Would Be Like Coming Out A Second Time"
"I’m a socialist but haven’t told my parents, because it would be like coming out a second time."
— A., 17, New York
"I Voted For Obama Both Times ..."
"I voted for Obama both times, and I voted for Trump. I would also vote for him again if he runs."
— T., 44, Missouri
"I Pretend To Be A Democrat"
"I pretend to be a Democrat because I feel like people assume Democrats are 'good' and Republicans are 'bad.' I am pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, anti-hate, but Democrats to me are even bigger hypocrites than Republicans. I always vote for the most socially liberal Republican, and I lie about it."
— B., 30, New York
"I Fell In Love With A Republican"
"I feel like the universe played a trick on me, because I fell in love with a Republican. I’m afraid to tell my friends, even though we’re getting married in the spring."
— D., 27, Florida
"I Don't Care To Inform Myself"
"I don't know enough about politics to understand the importance of voting in every election and I don't care to inform myself because I don’t feel like my vote makes a difference."
— K., 24
"I Very Rarely/Never Mention It"
"I’ve had two abortions (in 1973 and 1974), but I very rarely/never mention it when saying I am pro-choice, support abortion rights, and am a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood."
— L., 71, New York
"I Found The Password To My Parents' Direct TV"
"I found the password to my parents’ Direct TV and called and had Fox News marked as a restricted channel. I knew it wouldn’t last long (my mom called and unblocked it), but one week without my dad listening to Tucker Carlson’s bullshit was worth it."
— A., 32, Bangkok
Some of these quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.