Help me, Dalai, how do I keep my friends that don’t share my ideology?

OK, here’s one for you.  I need advice.
There’s a line from the Big Chill, where Sam (the actor) was reminiscing about days at Michigan and he said something like: “I thought since they looked like us, and acted like us, that they were like us.”
I have friends from high school and college that I still have interaction with …  all of them were by “best friends” at one point in my life.  All are very successful – One, I know, got a $110,000 bonus a few years ago (he’s a banker); Another owns his own business and recently built a second home in Florida; A third owns his own business and just bought a second home ($750K) in Georgia.
I can’t talk politics with these guys at all. They pull out all the cards, like “Obama is not a citizen” or “Obama is a Marxist” or “Obama is a liar” – they stop short of saying what might be the real reason, which is the color of his skin.  But, they don’t appear, on the surface, to be racial bigots. I do know that there’s no sense in discussing these matters when they start spouting off things like, “I’ve done my research” or “what he’s done is contrary to the constitution.”  I’ve even been shown (proudly) pictures of them with Trump.  These are educated people, mind you.
What bothers me more than anything though is that they have no respect … they “despise” him, or they say “he’s never been my president” or “I hate him” or “He’ll bankrupt the US when he runs out of taking other people’s money, like us hard-working business people.”
Years ago, which I attribute to my journalism training, I refused to join either party.  But, it also felt good to me – I was resolved to not vote party line … I wanted to vote for whomever I thought was the best choice, regardless of their party.  Then, about 10 years ago, when talking with my then-boss, he said the only way to vote was party line, and that he would vote straight Republican ticket every time.  From then on, to cancel him out, I voted straight Democratic ticket.
Now, I worry that’s what everyone is doing.  Our polarization has grown – the right and the left appear to be pulling further apart and almost demanding that you take a side.  If I go back to voting for the “best” candidate, is that a non-vote? Have the politicians become so extreme, that there is no “best” candidate.
And, how do you treat your “friends”?  How can I be friends with these people? Do I just rely on new friends, friends whose ideology best aligns with mine?  How do you do it?
“Help me O-B1, you’re my only hope.”
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