Secret Republicans of New York
What’s a red-state girl to do when she leaves Arizona and moves to Blue York? Seek out the legion of closet conservatives and moderate Democrats. A portrait of deeply purple city.
Let me start by saying how much I love the city of New York. I always have—ever since I came here for college, and to get as far away from my last name and live in relative anonymity. If you follow my Twitter feed, you know I have recently moved back to the city. I returned for many reasons, but the truth is I really missed New York after nearly two years on the presidential campaign trail. However, living here now is nothing like when I attended Columbia.
For one thing, unlike most Republicans who live in New York, I don’t have the luxury of choosing whether to reveal my political affiliations or ideals. I recently discovered I’m the 42nd-most-followed person on Twitter for New York City. (Far behind Jimmy Fallon and Anderson Cooper but comfortably ahead of Katie Couric and Malcolm Gladwell.) So when someone figures out who I am, I’m often greeted with, “Listen, I voted for Obama, but...”—Sometimes I feel like the new attraction at the zoo—“Look, Timmy, there’s a Republican! In Brooklyn! ” The other day, a woman behind the counter at a boutique said to me, “I voted for your dad in 2000, but I couldn’t this time around.”
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One night a bouncer at a bar called me over and I was convinced I was being thrown out. But he just wanted to know if Sarah Palin is as beautiful in real life as she is on television.
My favorite people, however, are the “secret Republicans” I meet all over the city. These are the folks who give me the subtle wink or sly smile that lets me know I’m not alone. And it’s almost always impossible to predict the closet conservatives. One night a bouncer at a bar called me over and I was convinced I was being thrown out. But he just wanted to know if Sarah Palin is as beautiful in real life as she is on television. (Yes, she is.) This kind of interaction happens just about every day and I love it.
But it does complicate the dating scene. No matter who I’m with, no matter what the setting, the 2008 election and politics will always come up. Ever since my first Daily Beast column about dating, not much has changed. Unless you count my confessing to Stephen Colbert that I’m sexually active and the campy pickup lines that have followed. My personal favorite: “Meghan, I also love sex....and the Republican Party” followed by sending me an apple martini. For future reference, I drink Bud Light and whiskey. Hey, I’m still a red-state girl at heart.
Meghan McCain is a columnist for The Daily Beast. Originally from Phoenix, she graduated from Columbia University in 2007. She is a New York Times bestselling children's author, previously wrote for Newsweek magazine, and created the website mccainblogette.com.