Sometimes it's so bad they can't get anything done. Just look to recent examples in Springfield and Washington.
But political differences also live on in the after life. And one example is right here in central Illinois.
Just north of the Woodford County line near Carlock, you will find two small cemeteries on opposite sides of the same road.
Neither cemetery is really enough to make you look twice if you were driving by, but they both have a story with deep roots in history and politics.
"When people from outside learn about it, they become intrigued and they do visit. We have had visitors from many places," said historian Nola Marquardt.
The stories both start around the mid-1800's, Marquardt estimates.
In 1850, a man named Abraham Carlock started one of the cemeteries on what was then his family property.
Carlock was also a prominent Democrat.
"He had such a strong reputation. That was what he was most proud of," Marquardt said.
When Carlock died in 1884, he took his political views to the grave in a very public way.
Marquardt said, "It's really popularly known as the Democratic cemetery."
That's because Carlock had "Here Lies the Old Democrat" inscribed on his tombstone. As such, it is thought other Democrats and his family members followed suit and were also buried in the same cemetery.
By the same token, Republicans got a cemetery for themselves starting around 1860.
"We have the Carlock or Democrat Cemetery here there was no question about that. Why not have a Republican cemetery?" Marquardt poised.
The effort was led by members of the John Benson family, who were prominent Whigs before they became Republicans.
Marquardt believes one of Benson's sons started the cemetery so the relatives could all be buried together.
"I think that got started more as a family cemetery just like this one (Carlock) did just because that is what people wanted to do is be buried with their relatives," she said.
But why so close to each other on the same road?
Marquardt said it likely does not have anything to do with being enemies.
She said, "I don't think there was any competition at all. I just occurred."
In fact, at least some members of the two families liked each other enough to get married and are now buried in the opposite families' cemetery.
"Probably politics doesn't play in an important role in determining where people would be buried. It's whether they like it or not I think and whether their relatives like it or not," Marquardt said.
It's a clear sign of bipartisanship that could perhaps do leaders some good today.
However, Marquardt believes we might never know the exact reason why members of each family chose their final resting place.
"You'd have to know a little more about their voting history I guess," she said.
The Carlock (Democrat) Cemetery has about 500 plots and is still open.
The Benson (Republican) Cemetery has about 300 plots and is now closed to burials.