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Exhausted and Anxious, Voters Find the Country More Divided Than Ever


“I feel like this is the beginning of something to the tune of the 1960s with massive protests in the streets, and maybe something close to violence,” he said. “There is just so much outrage that has been building over the last four years, and the skeletons are falling out of the closet.”

One of the main diagnoses of our national discord is that the warring halves of the country live and work in different places and watch competing news shows. But this is not entirely the case. There are plenty with strong views who have found themselves living among the other half.

Bryan Koehler, 55, manages a brewery with two locations in rural Western Pennsylvania, deep in the heart of Trump Country. A Republican who is aghast at how Mr. Trump has run things, Mr. Koehler keeps his opinions mostly to himself at the brewery and at the regular card games with old friends. They surely know what he thinks. But they also know not to ask about it.

“It’s like there’s something there that’s nagging that’s not right, the world’s not spinning the right way,” he said of living among people who see the world so differently. “And you ask yourself, ‘What am I missing here? Should I be seeing the world a different way?’”

Still, he does not see his beliefs about right and wrong changing, anymore than he sees his friends coming around to his views. And now, after this election reinforced what the half of the country he lives in truly wants, he will say even less.

“Get up tomorrow and keep going,” he said, by way of self-advice. “Take care of the things that you need to take care of over the next four years. And hope we start to head in a different direction.”

Audra D. S. Burch reported from Hollywood, and Campbell Robertson from Erie, Pa. Reporting was contributed by Caitlin Dickerson from Brownsville, Texas, Manny Fernandez from Houston, Kay Nolan from Milwaukee, Traci Angel from Independence, Mo., and Louis Keene from Los Angeles.

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