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Passed Down Politics

When the 2016 election was in full swing, many people were left guessing who our next president would be. The two front-runners, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both had skeletons in their closets, making the third party candidate, Gary Johnson, more appealing. Several qualified election forecasters predicted a Clinton win, while several others predicted a Trump win, leaving the public in the unknown.

Our polar opposite candidates left tensions running high among voters and news followers, making the election a topic of discussion in many American homes. Children were more involved in the election than ever this year. It was taught in school starting as early as kindergarten. When kids were asked who they want to be our next president, they even choose a candidate to side with. Most of the time they chose the person they know, if they only know one, or the person they know their parents like. Usually children want to be just like their parents, so if Mom and Dad like him/her, then I like him/her.  Family ideology has the most influence on a teenager/child when shaping their political views. This is because throughout that child’s entire life, the values of their parents, and their parents’ political party have been instilled in them. Parents may not intend for this to happen, but it is very difficult for someone to not display their views in the slightest way if you spend every day with them. According to a poll on, 70% of teens align with the same political party as their parents. Phillip Longman, a senior fellow at the New America Foundation, says this doesn’t surprise him and that, “Today’s young people are exceptionally bonded to their parents,” The values taught at such a young age stay with the child. He also found that, “even among baby boomers, those who wound up having children have turned out to be remarkably similar to their parents in their attitudes about ‘family’ values.”

Surprisingly to some, the millennial generation is actually just as large as the baby boomer generation. Alliance with the party you were raised in may dwindle, but about 50% of elderly people still identify with the political party of their parents. If we continue to see a trend in “passing down” political ideology, it will make it easy to predict the outcomes of elections and the future of many political parties.