Rochester mom, son don't let views on Trump divide them

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ROCHESTER — The Craig household in the city’s voting Ward 2 is a house divided in political ideology, but not divided in whole.

Tracy Craig and her 19-year-old son Kealian have had plenty of intense debates in the lead up to Tuesday’s election because they support different presidential candidates. Tracy is an independent who backed Democrat Joe Biden, while Kealian cast his ballot for President Donald Trump.

“I’m glad he’s so passionate,” said Tracy Craig, describing her son as “very knowledgeable” and well researched about issues and current events.

However, despite their strong differences in opinions about each candidate and their platforms, the Craigs say their exchanges have remained civil.

That civility allowed Tuesday to be a happy occasion for the family, regardless of ultimate outcome, because Kealian Craig cast his vote for the first time.

“I think healthy civil debates, especially in the household, are good,” said Kealian Craig, sharing his belief that civility around hot-button issues and national politics can seem rare nowadays because of the divisiveness found on social media platforms and other corners of the internet.

The mother and son have disagreed on various points involving their preferred candidates.

Tracy, who works at a local school, said she’s seen far more substance from Biden on issues like healthcare and education.

While she considers herself more closely aligned with Democratic platforms than Republican ones, Tracy said her vote isn’t just about policy.

“I feel he’s really disrespectful,” said Tracy, specifically referencing the ways in which Trump has mocked people who are different or have different beliefs, including the ways in which Trump has mocked people with disabilities. “I can’t follow a leader who does that. I can’t respect a leader who does that.”

Kealian says he supports Trump based on “what’s going to be better for me as a person” and the community as a whole. He pointed to the nation’s safety and the economy.

He also said he supports Trump’s pro-life stance and policies on guns and immigration, but not Trump’s downplaying of climate change.

“I believe he wants what’s best for every American,” said Kealian.

Kealian believes some of Trump’s comments “have been taken out of context sometimes,” including those involving race. He believes that has skewed the public’s perception of the president.

“There is a lot of bias against our president,” he said.

While the Craigs disagree on Trump’s fitness as a leader, they said they have found common ground in their political chats.

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That includes the fact that both believe Trump’s economic policies have benefitted them personally.

“He’s definitely created a better financial state,” said Tracy. “Other than that I’m just too heated up because I just don’t respect the guy.”

While he knows he can’t change his mother’s mind on certain issues, nor other people’s, Kealian said he hopes people can find ways to come together despite their differences, regardless of the outcome of the election.

“No one is stronger than us when we come together as a country,” he said.

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