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Harvard Reports Says Fourth of July Weather During Childhood Affects Political Beliefs


Why does your co-worker still drive around with a Clinton bumper sticker on his old Camry?  Maybe Milli Vanilli was onto something when they (didn’t) sing, “Blame It On the Rain.”

Bocconi University assistant professor Andreas Madestam and Harvard Kennedy School assistant professor David Yanagizawa-Drott decided to examine how childhood experiences form adult political views. Specifically, “Does participation in national ceremonies and parades have a deeper impact by affecting children’s political beliefs, identity, and behavior?”

Since there are no records of which parents took their kids to the local park to watch fireworks, the researchers used historical data of rainfall on the Fourth of July — obviously, families are less likely to watch fireworks in a downpour and more likely to go in nice weather. And what did they conclude?

One Fourth of July without rain before age 18 increases the likelihood of identifying as a Republican at age 40 by 2 percent, the share of people voting for the Republican candidate at age 40 by 4 percent, and the share of people turning out to vote at age 40 by 0.9 percent.

It’s not fair to claim that all Democrats aren’t patriotic, of course, but the study also suggests that “there is political congruence between patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and Republican beliefs, as well as Fourth of July transmitting a non-partisan civic duty to vote.”

Yes, you read that correctly.  Fourth of July parades are right-wing community celebrations.  Let’s hope the ACLU doesn’t hear of this study, lest they redirect their efforts from preventing little Suzie from singing “Silent Night” at the school Christmas play to banning Fourth of July fireworks and sparklers.

Oh, and here’s praying for clear skies on Monday!

Nancy French is the co-author of Bristol Palin’s Not Afraid of Life and the upcoming Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War.


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