Seth C. McKee, Ph.D. Professor, College of Arts and Sciences
University of South Florida St. Petersburg
My first encounter of the political kind occurred in 1992, when a kindergarten classmate asked me who my parents voted for. Based on some dinner conversations, which went mostly over my head, I knew they voted for Bill Clinton. He told me his parents voted for Bush. At that time, a "party" was something associated only with birthdays and I was unaware of the existence of the word "ideology." I understood, however, that politics entails conflict. His parents voted for someone different than my parents voted for: his parents lost and my parents won. Over the next several years, my understanding of politics increased only by knowing that my mother is a Democrat, my father is a Republican, Bill Clinton had an affair, my grandmother yells at the Republicans on Meet the Press every Sunday morning, and she never voted for one in all of her eighty-plus years. I did not know about the nature of the disagreements between the two parties, but I knew the conflict is not so grave that you cannot be married to someone from the opposing party; that some people, like my father, sometimes vote for candidates from the opposing party; and others, like my grandmother, never vote for candidates from the opposing party.
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Manter, Charles Jolm, "The Nature and Intersection of Partisanship and Ideology" (2010). USF St. Petersburg campus Honors Program Theses (Undergraduate).