Harvard: Taking Your Kids To Patriotic Events Will Turn Them Into Republicans

My husband is a registered Democrat, but actually quite conservative. I’m a libertarian. But our kids, ages 3 and 2, are apparently going to be Republicans. How do I know? It’s science! Researchers at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government just released a paper saying that kids who attend Fourth of July parades and celebrations are more likely to be GOPers and more likely to be politically engaged.

And my kids have attended multiple 4th of July parades. So I guess that settles that.

We just moved this year but in our old neighborhood, we had the craziest parade. It was always led by the amazing band that was based out of the 8th and I Marine Barracks, meaning we had probably the best band leading a 4th of July parade in the entire country. But it went downhill pretty quickly after that, but in a delightful way. There was the Princess Patrol, for instance. And then a Superhero group. Dogwalkers from competing local dogwalking parks. The local politicians all appeared and they ranged from Democrat to liberal Democrat. Anyway, you get the idea. My husband was not amused when the “car” portion of the parade included a MiniCooper with a Union Jack painted on the roof. It did seem that our neighborhood had trouble, at times, capturing the meaning of Independence Day. But a bastion of right-wingery — apart from the Marine band, perhaps — it was most definitely not.

Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam‘s paper, titled ”Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using a Natural Experiment,” examines how childhood experiences shape political views and activities later in life by looking at the impact of youth participation in Independence Day activities.

The researchers said they had two main problems with determining how important these experiences were. One was removing the effect of family, education, and peers. The second was the lack of data linking childhood experiences to what happens later in life. Apparently they used historical data on rainfall since rain is “random” and yet ruins 4th of July activities. And this way, somehow, researchers were able to isolate the effect of attending celebrations from other factors.

So maybe what the paper is really saying is that they’ve figured out why Seattlites are so liberal? I don’t know. It sounds a bit weird to me.

Whatever their means, the researchers say that attending a single 4th of July celebration before the age of 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent, voting for a Republican by 4 percent, voter turnout by just under 1 percent and it also increases campaign contributions by 3 percent.

”We were surprised to find that childhood experiences of Fourth July celebrations could have such persistent effects. The evidence suggests that important childhood events can have a permanent impact on political beliefs and behavior and that Fourth of July celebrations in the US affect the nation’s political landscape,” Yanagizawa-Drott said in a statement.

Apparently adults who celebrate the 4th of July are also more likely to vote GOP. So, plan your 4th of July accordingly. If you’re a Dem or want to raise your kids as such, hide them under a blanket in a sound-proofed room until Tuesday.

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