"I was out partying at Zuzu's until midnight last night, avoiding talking about Romney and gun control," Ryan Mitchell tells me when I call her last week.
Mitchell, 23, is tall, favors oversize glasses, and runs a startup. She was president of her college's tattoo club. On weekends, she goes clubbing at Heroes and Videodrome and the Pill. She's also a right-wing libertarian who opposes gun control, Obamacare, and the welfare state. She's going to vote for Romney.
"I don't like to talk about politics," she says. "I think that's pretty crucial to surviving house parties in Somerville."
Whatever that je ne sais quoi of the Young Republican, Mitchell doesn't have it. She grew up in a small town outside Seattle. "My parents are both relatively right-wing," she explains. "They're both card-carrying members of the NRA. They're also sky-diving instructors — they're cooler than I am. They go to punk-rock shows all the time."
Though she voted for Obama in the 2008 election, she says she won't do it a second time. "I didn't know as much back then," she says. "I was voting on social issues, not economic issues. . . . Now I vote on economic issues."
When Mitchell's friends talk about politics, she says, "they all vehemently agree with each other." But not with her. She relies on two coping mechanisms. In addition to keeping her mouth shut, she'll occasionally "try to suggest something, then back off before they realize that I disagree with them."
But, she points out, "ignoring things like [political views] for the sake of a friendship goes both ways. My friends like me as a person and I like them as people, and we tend to disagree on how much the government should spend on food and housing for homeless people, but meh, we're still friends." When she talks to her friends about voting for Romney, "they choose to ignore it."
On the night she met her boyfriend at the Brighton Music Hall, she came out as a conservative right away. "I think the reason it came up so early is that he's very into politics," she says. "He traveled down to [Washington] DC to watch Obama's inauguration. He was involved in Occupy. He works at a group home for intellectually disabled adults. He stops and talks to homeless people and gives them rides. He's awesome, and I love him to death — we don't choose to do the same thing with our lives, but we agree on the important issues."