Standing outside the grocery store in Friendsville, Md., Rose Talbott says she’s never seen anything like Donald Trump.
“It’s too much,” she says. “Too much.”
She’s lived through about dozen different presidents, but this one, she says, is hard to avoid. There’s no getting away from news about Trump.
“He gets more attention than any of them,” Talbott says. “Ever!”
Political fatigue has hit Friendsville, population 475.
Even Trump supporter Dean Bennett, the manager at the local liquor store, complains Trump is overexposed.
“That would be one of my criticisms of him. He’s too in-your-face,” Bennett says.
“But I like his policies.”
The owner of the local diner says politics seem to be the main topic of conversation day after day, but too often, that debate turns to name-calling.
“It’s like if you mention Trump, you’re either a racist or you’re against gays,” Coy Riggleman says.
If there’s a sense in Friendsville that political debate is getting less friendly, the town isn’t alone.
A poll earlier this year, conducted by the Pew Research Center, found 85 per cent of Americans say the tone and nature of political debate in the US has become more negative. Only three per cent of respondents feel it has improved.
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Longtime Mayor Spencer Schlosnagle pins much of the blame on the current inhabitant of the White House.
“He thrives on it,” Schlosnagle says. “You just want to turn it off or walk away after a while. It’s frustrating.”
The Pew poll found 55 per cent of Americans feel Trump has changed the tone of political debate for the worse.
Morgantown is just a short drive west across the state line in West Virginia — one of the most pro-Trump states in the union. Whether it’s Trump fatigue or impeachment overload, a lot of people are fed up.
Elliott Dotson is a student at West Virginia University. He says all the attention Trump gets is part of a strategy.
“They want opponents, mainly Democrats, to say, ‘you know there’s just so much going on, it’s exhausting,'” Dotson says. “The Trump administration is very good at that.”
At the Classic Cutz Barber Shop just off Main Street, barber William Brown says political opinions are stronger and more divided, but he’s learned to tune it out.
“It’s like a parent with their children,” Brown says. “You almost go tone deaf because it’s so repetitive.”
Sitting in the chair as Brown cuts his hair, Cordell Rutland says he’s tired of hearing about politics.
“I would say I hear about it more than once a day,” Rutland says. “If you count social media, for sure. It’s everywhere you look.”
The over-saturation of news may be affecting independent voters most of all. A Gallup poll in October found two-thirds of independents agreed with the statement, “It is difficult to tell all the investigations in Washington apart.”
Just north of the state line in Uniontown, Pa., Marion Polito says she misses the old days. She’s a Republican but says John F. Kennedy was her favourite president.
“My parents, I can remember them voting,” she says.
“You just went in and voted, and you came out. You didn’t hear all this crap for months and months and years.”