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The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

The student news site of Inglemoor High School

Nordic News

Republican teens confront their political minority status

Republican+teens+confront+their+political+minority+status

Growing up in a conservative Catholic home had a big influence on junior Will Moore’s (he/him) political beliefs. He spent nine years at a Catholic school and said it was an environment that enforced the conservative side of issues, such as being pro-life, a belief taught by his teachers. Though Moore disagrees with his former school on that particular issue, he did say that going to Catholic school influenced his current political beliefs. 

The family institution also has an significant impact on the political affiliation of children as they mature into adulthood, according to a report published in the Journal of Psycho-educational Sciences. In the Inglemoor community, only 9% of students consider themselves Republican or Republican-leaning in their political affiliation. Within that group, 75% said that their family has been the largest influence on their political beliefs, according to a Nordic News survey of 173 students. Moore said his father and his family in Oregon influenced his Republican beliefs. 

“I have quite a bit of a family that lives in Central Oregon, and they’re ranchers. And so economically, I guess it makes most sense for them to be kind of Republican just because they are the working class. They support themselves and [think] that every dollar they make should be going to them and should not be taxed. So, I guess that’s kind of influenced my opinions, too,” Moore said. 

Location can play a significant role in shaping political opinion, especially for teenagers, according to an independent study published in the Plos One Scientific Journal and referenced in the National Library of Medicine. Senior Baldo Ochoa (he/him) grew up in Kansas, where 44% of adults identify as Republican, which is the largest political party in Kansas according to the Kansas Secretary of State’s website. Ochoa said that, like many kids who identify as Democrats here in Washington, becoming Republican in Kansas was simply a product of his environment. However, after Ochoa moved to Washington in his sophomore year and made new friends while growing closer to his father — an immigrant from Mexico — his political affiliations began to change. 

“I would say before, I was very passionate about being a Republican, but now, the more time I spend here in Washington and the stronger my relationship gets with my Mexican culture — I would say I don’t really have a side,” Ochoa said. 

Due to their position as the political minority at Inglemoor, Republican students can feel underrepresented and sometimes even unheard in their classes, Ochoa said. He said that certain classes can lean Democrat in their curriculum, and due to the overwhelming Democratic presence at Inglemoor, debates or conversations in class can feel like a losing battle — a feeling that sometimes extends into daily school life. 

“I feel it’s weird because I don’t really feel like I have a voice — sometimes you feel that way,” Ochoa said. “And then sometimes when you converse with other students on certain topics, you sort of have to hold back, just because you’re not sure the way they’ll take it, right?

Because no one wants to be outcasted, which is why I feel that I really hold back sometimes during conversation.” 

Studies from the Pew Research Center show an increasing divide between Republican and Democrat beliefs, as well as a decrease in ideological overlap between the two parties. There is less that unites them as Americans and more that separates them as political rivals.

Joanna Walker (she/her), an IB English teacher, said a curriculum — not necessarily at Inglemoor — that leans to one political side of the spectrum can negatively impact a student who identifies on the opposite side of the spectrum. Walker also said the political environment

at Inglemoor has changed for both Democrats and Republicans since she first started teaching here.

“When I first started teaching 17 years ago, 18 years ago at Inglemoor, there wasn’t that sort of self censorship — but I’ve noticed that students are a little bit more — they hold their cards tight. And they’re a little less quick to share what they might think might be sensitive topics or sensitive thinking or sensitive issues.”

The American Psychological Association describes highly structured inter-group discussion as the best way of reducing this divide. Both Moore and Ochoa encourage open discussions, regardless of political affiliation.

“I would say that unless you have a conversation with someone, then you won’t really understand their views, right?” Ochoa said. “Because there’s different kinds of Democrats, different kinds of Republicans. There’s not just one kind. There are people who are extremely far right, extremely far left. But unless you converse with someone, then you won’t know their views.”

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About the Contributors
Lucas Talbot (he/him)
Junior Lucas Talbot is starting his first year on Nordic as a reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. He is looking forward to learning more about journalism and improving his writing skills as he puts together engaging articles for the Inglemoor community. Outside of Nordic he is a captain for the Inglemoor cross country team, plays various other sports and enjoys spending time with friends and family. 
Camille Pierce (she/her)
Camille Pierce (she/her), Co-Copy Editor
Junior Camille Pierce is one of the copy editors for the 2023-24 school year. During her second year on staff, she hopes to further develop her writing and photography skills and write unique stories that represent the Inglemoor community. Outside of Nordic, she is part of various clubs (join SARA!) and Inglemoor’s swim and dive team. In her slowly-disappearing free time, she likes to make very long to-do lists, go on picnics with her friends and gush about her two (very cute) cats.

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