Do July 4th Parades Turn Kids into Republicans?

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A young girl watches a Fourth of July parade in Great Falls, Virginia. And a new study shows she's more likely to become a Republican.

All that fireworks-watching, flag-waving and potato salad-eating this weekend could in fact lead to a vote for the Republican party for your child.

And the stats from Harvard back up the claim. When children were exposed at a young age to the Americana fanfare associated with the Fourth of July, they were more likely to vote Republican and make campaign contributions to the party.

Harvard researchers David Yanagizawa-Drott and Andreas Madestam found that kids who attended one rain-free July 4th celebration before the age of 18 were four percent more likely to vote Republican before the age of 40. And whether or not they went to the polls, young Independence Day revelers were more likely to identify with the right wing by 2 percent.

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But does this really mean festivities associated with Independence Day have the power to sway kids to the right? The numbers are minute, but when compared to Democrats, they’re meaningful. The authors, in the interest of bipartisanship, found that July 4th celebrations had no effect on increasing Democrats’ numbers.

The reason for the political influence stretches into the realm of ideology. The Republican Party is known to be more patriotic and focused on America’s symbols, according to the study. Children are certainly more open to the influence of this fanfare and are socialized to identify with the Republican values.

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This study might change the weekend plans of some parents who want to ensure their kids remain left-leaning, but if you’re willing to cast aside the ideological implications for a rocking Fourth of July celebration instead, look to the red states. The study notes, “Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place.”

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