At Thanksgiving, Long Island families nix politics at dinner table

Andrea Walsh has carefully considered her family’s thanksgiving feast: Turkey? Check. Ham? Check.

But this year, she’s added something new: conversation starters clipped from a magazine, intended to keep the tone light.

Like many Long Island families, Walsh is grappling with a new reality where seemingly everything is political, turning what was once friendly banter into a minefield at holiday gatherings. For some families, that has meant making new rules or abandoning old ones in order to keep the peace at the dinner table.

Nearly a third of Americans are dreading the topic of politics at their Thanksgiving meal, according to a new poll. A recent study from researchers at the University of California at Los Angeles and Washington State University found that Americans left their 2016 Thanksgiving gatherings an average 20 to 30 minutes early — and shortened them by as much as an hour in political battleground states — as a result of political divides.

“We made a family commitment last year that we wouldn’t talk about politics,” Walsh, 56, of Miller Place, said. “It’s unprecedented.”

Walsh said her family gathering of about 13 people always had differing views. However, Trump’s election brought stronger feelings, leading to a politics ban in 2016. This year, they’re…


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