On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

Harvard warns: 4th of July parades turn kids into GOP supporters

Keep your kids away from patriotic events – celebrating America’s heritage will turn them into Republicans.

That’s the finding from Harvard University.

Furthermore, Democratic candidates need not bother attending Independence Day, say the researchers, since the events only energize right-wingers.

“Democratic political candidates can skip this weekend’s July 4th parades” writes Paul Bedard in the June 30, 2011 edition of U.S. News and World Report. “A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.


“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.

Here is what the study actually said:


“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats.

“According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.


“Their findings also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades,” said the study. “There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization,” the two wrote.


Here are the three key findings concerning those attending July 4th celebrations:

“When done before the age of 18, it increases the likelihood of a youth identifying as a Republican by at least 2 percent,” writes Bedard.

“It raises the likelihood that parade watchers will vote for a Republican candidate by 4 percent.

“It boosts the likelihood a reveler will vote by about 1 percent and increases the chances they’ll make a political contribution by 3 percent.


“What’s more,” writes Bedard, “the impact isn’t fleeting.

“Surprisingly, the estimates show that the impact on political preferences is permanent, with no evidence of the effects depreciating as individuals become older,”said the Harvard report.

Finally, the report suggests that if people are looking for a super-patriotic July 4th, they should head to Republican towns.

“Republican adults celebrate Fourth of July more intensively in the first place,” noted the report.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Tom

    This is truly disconcerting,

    I’m sure that somehow we, the Republican scourge, have paid for this “useful” information to be discovered. Perhaps it is time for the Democrats to examine their commitment to patriotic events in our country. After all, it is the Republican constituency that ultimately ends up paying for their give it all away programs.
    I think we’re in real trouble if this is the kind of thinking our higher learning institutions are spreading around using our own money through grants and aid to disseminate.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Henrietta22

    Harvard didn’t have anything better than this funny poll to take?

    No truth to this, but then I’m not a far leftie, so don’t think like they do.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lauren

    Weird. I am pretty much a liberal, and went to Fourth of July parades all dressed up in my red, white and blue with my liberal, similarly dressed parents and it never affected me. I think simplistic studies like this are silly. I’d like to see how they did this study.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Perry

    Really? Personally, I feel that the ideals of national pride coupled with the ideas of freedom and sacrifice reach way beyond political lines. I’m a moderate Democrat, but growing up in a small town where parades down Main Street and fireworks in the park with cookouts were the order of the day. The whole town would embrace the celebration. I’m sure if we were to survey all the men and women who serve the common good and fight for the liberties that we so dearly cherish, we would find a mixture of beliefs, thoughts, and ideas. It’s that mix of all these things that makes us uniquely Americans.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sarah Ross

    Please, if you are not proud to be an American, please, leave!!!! There are plenty of countries that would embrace your liberal views and anti-American ideas. Leave and let us recover our country and make it great again under God as it was intended.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jessica

    I find it SAD that Harvard would post such a ridiculous report. Being a Democrat myself, I’m also a proud American Citizen who believes in the right to bear arms, religious and political freedom, civil rights. I may not support all the reasons or all of the “wars” we’ve engaged but I and most of my friends embrace the reasons for why we are a FREE country. That is what our Independence Day parades are all about. I also find it Sad that the republican who commented chose to label all democrats as having the views that Harvard presented. I believe that MOST democrats would NOT share the view of the Harvard report. It’s the partisan blaming that continues to discourage young Americans (regardless of their political views). But the beauty of being PROUD AMERICANS – we can disagree without fear of repercussions from our government. RAISE YOUR FLAGS AND WAVE THEM HIGH. AMEN AND AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Donna

    This information is supposed to come from Harvard? Isn’t Harvard supposed to be one of our country’s finer sources of higher education? It does not seem to me that whoever did this study and/or wrote this article is of higher education – a study like this usually comes from someone who does not base their findings on facts but more on their own opinion. I had to read the article out of pure shock – I am a registered Republican but vote both ways depending on who I believe is the better candidate but I do not believe my political affiliation has anything to do with the celebration of Americas freedom. This article was downright ridiculous.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Clint

    Kind of funny how a scientific study from one of the best universities in our country can be untrue if it goes against your personal conviction.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Michael Tadano

    Funny how one poster said that if you are not proud to be an American to please leave and it was, of course, only aimed at those with liberal views and anti-American ideas as if those two are inseparable. That only those with anti-liberal views have real American ideas.

    I think that’s an idea that has no place in America.

    She needs to go back to the 8th grade civics/history class and review what really makes America great.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Cathy A. Moore

    I mainly take issue with those who believe that if one is liberal than that individual is anti-American(as noted above). What hogwash. Christianity originated in the Middle East, not here.

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