Contentious election driving wedge through political family

RALEIGH, N.C. -- The serrated edge of our election divide runs right through a townhouse in Raleigh, North Carolina -- right through the family of Joyce Woodhouse.


Joyce Woodhouse

CBS News

Joyce’s two sons, Brad and Dallas, grew up side by side, but wound up on opposite sides of a split screen.  

Dallas is executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party while Brad runs a pro-Clinton Super PAC. Perhaps you’ve seen them before, biting each other’s head off on the cable news channels or taking calls on C-SPAN.

One such call came from a very familiar voice. “You’re right I’m from down South,” the caller said.

Dallas knew instantly: “Oh God, it’s mom.”

“And I disagree that all families are like ours,” Joyce said in front of a national TV audience.


Dallas, left, and Brad Woodhouse when Joyce called in to C-SPAN


“I rocked them in the same rocking chair,” she said. But maybe she rocked one on her right side and one on her left.

The family’s relationship is such a circus that someone once did a whole documentary about it. 

At least in the film you could tell much of their banter was good-natured. But it was all shot before Trump versus Clinton.

“I’m used to them getting angry and debating, but this has been the most difficult election. It was the first time that I just got very sad about it.” Joyce said.

This past summer, as the election boiled, Joyce says her sons stopped talking to each other altogether. “I cried a lot,” she said.


The Woodhouse family, in happier times

Woodhouse Family

And for too many Americans, this is what our election has come to. It has driven us apart and muddled our minds.

Today we may think we hate the other side, but the fact is, more often than not, we actually love a lot of those people. In some cases, with all our hearts.

And some good news: The brothers are talking again.

“I pray that all families can come together and love each other and realize that family is the most important,” Joyce said.

That is something we can all vote for.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.