A simple search on Google or TikTok will easily lead you to Claudia Conway and the controversy that surrounds her. She exhibits a growing pattern highlighted on social media platforms like Tiktok and Twitter; kids of high profile conservatives in American politics speak out against their parents. How do Claudia and others like her impact young people across the country and in the CA community?
Claudia Conway is an extreme example. She is the daughter of Kellyanne Conway, the former senior advisor to President Trump, and Geroge Conway, a conservative, anti-Trump lawyer and former member of the Lincoln Project. Claudia began gaining a following on TikTok this summer, attracting the most attention after she posted a video featuring her and her friends at a Black Lives Matter protest. Now, she has amassed 1.5 million followers under the username @claudiamconway. Since her growth on TikTok, she has used her platform to spread information about her leftist views and encourages all of her viewers to vote blue and “settle for Biden.” Mixed into her political content is dancing to trending music, videos with her friends, and musings on her life. She is a typical sixteen year old girl in a very unique position.
What has caused Claudia Conway to attract the most attention, though, is the contrast between her views and the well-known views of her mother and father. Claudia Conway has opened up about her relationship with her mother and their differing perspectives on life. In one TikTok, she says, “you think you can hurt my feelings? lol my mom is Kellyanne Conway.” In another, she says, “Kellyanne just called me and said I’m putting her life in danger by speaking out and how I’m gonna get arrested again for making ‘false allegations.’” In addition, she’s duetted several videos that other people have posted about her mother abusing her. She has described how she is on a liberal island amongst a family of conservative beliefs and is frequently at odds with the choices that her family makes.
With the upcoming election, and such high tensions between voters of opposite political parties, Claudia is not the only one in this situation. As mentioned in an article by the New York Times, Stephanie Regan, the daughter of Robert Regan who ran for a position as Michigan state representative this year, publicly tweeted, “If you’re in Michigan and 18+ pls for the love of god do not vote for my dad for state rep. tell everyone.” These public demonstrations of familial discourse show the ways that social media can highlight the complex world of family politics.
More and more frequently, public statements of differing political opinions make the news and come to light around dinner tables. Kids are peeling away from what their parents have taught them, and are beginning to form opinions based on their own research and experiences. Parents have less control now than ever before over what their kids are exposed to. With widespread access to the internet and social media, kids are branching out sooner than before and learning for themselves about politics. While parents used to largely control the ideology in their homes, kids and teenagers now have the freedom to form their own opinions and have increased exposure to those with different views.
According to an article in The Atlantic, research done by Pete Hatemi, a professor of political science at Penn State University, found that when children have different political views than their parents, their views tend to be more liberal. Throughout history younger people have almost always been more liberal, but now pose a stronger front than before after gaining traction online. Jeffry Lyons, a political science professor at Boise State University said that during “active political climates, the role of the parents diminishes.” Political polarization as well as going to college, getting a new job, moving to a different place or meeting different people changes kids’ political perspectives sooner and quicker. As kids become more exposed to new ideas and perspectives they begin to form opinions based on their own experiences and ideas and less on the norms of what their parents had. While kids are more often more liberal than their parents, it goes both ways. For example, Stephen Miller, a senior advisor to the President was raised by Democratic parents and turned towards right-wing perspectives in adulthood. With the internet, schools, and peers opening up kids to new ideas, conservative and liberal alike, it shines a light on how kids are using the internet to inform themselves and change their ideas.
Now more than ever, kids who cannot vote and even those that can have taken to Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter and their dinner tables to voice their opinions and field support for what they believe is important. Kids within the CA community and around the world find themselves in the same positions as Claudia and Stephanie. Through the internet, their schools, their peers and their own family members, kids are tasked with building their political perspectives and learning how to grow up amidst an increasingly politically diverse and polarized society.