Seniors shift on politics

Graduates discuss changes in their political views over their four years of high school

Political reversals are human nature. People join political parties one year and decide their values are unaligned a decade later. Others experience events which wholly alter their mindsets.

Some politicians historically reversed their stances.A young Ronald Reagan was a Democrat who backed the New Deal and served as a union leader while in Hollywood. He became a Republican in 1962, famously stating, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

President Theodore Roosevelt started his own political party. He served as a Progressive Republican until he grew dissatisfied over his successor, William Howard Taft. Roosevelt eventually formed the Bull Moose Party to protest the Republicans’ “standaptism”- the refusal to consider change.

To what extent have Lincoln seniors’ changed politically?

Senior Kelly Ryu urges that all political opinions are important. She believes that she has not significantly “changed [her] stance between liberalism and conservatism.”

However, she states that when she was younger, she was more “liberally biased.”

She adds that she was never “truly” on one side of the political spectrum. Ryu says that the with movements such as Never Again and Black Lives Matter, the “whole idea of conservatism is being slightly undermined.”

The former Constitution Team member notes that her experience with the organization and others such as the Senior Advocates for Generational Equity- a youth leadership advisory board- has allowed her “to listen to different perspectives.”

Ryu adds that she is not “saying that [she] agrees with all conservative statements, but [she] feels that [her] view that everyone’s’ opinions matter have been a growing change in my political stance.”

Senior Olivia Loibner says she has “learned to always evaluate both sides of any argument” and that she is “socially more liberal than before.”

Loibner adds that she has grown “very cynical about politics since 2016, so a lot of [her] political growth hasn’t been due to maturity but more to circumstance.”

She states that the 2016 US Presidential Election and the “avalanche of scandals that came out of it” made her political views more cynical.

Loibner also says that other events such as the Special Counsel Investigation to “appointing people with no political experience to important positions” contributed to her now sardonic views.

She  concludes that “Trump’s election was a reflection of divisive populism that is rampant when citizens are angry.”


Senior Lea Kapur similarly says that her political stances have “become more advanced” as her knowledge of political events has increased. Now an independent, she was once a Democrat.

Kapur describes herself currently “as socially liberal and fiscally conservative.” However, she states that she used to be “totally stubborn.”As an underclassman, she used to “not listen to what others had to say.” Now a senior, the former Constitution Team member realizes “how much of a liberal bubble Portland is when compared to the rest of the US.”  

Kapur attributes her political shift to her time in the Constitution Team, wherein she “started to learn about politics.”

Senior Holden Lee states that he “didn’t really think much about politics as a freshman” and recollects that he was “politically oblivious” during his first year at Lincoln.

Lee struggles to recall when he began to fixate on politics, but he presumes it was his sophomore year.

He adds that the “driving force” behind his interest in politics was “a blend of taking gov/econ, and a desire to be accepted onto [Constitution] Team.”

His “worldview expanded a lot” and he found that he “agreed with liberal ideas,” such as those on society, gun control and social security.

As a sophomore, Lee eventually became a liberal authoritarian, because he backed strong government regulation.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, he began to follow the news more and grow more politically-aware. Lee was disconcerted with the way presidential candidate Donald Trump “forced control of any debate he took part in, and that no one would shut him up.”

In contrast, senior Jay Sharabu says that his political beliefs are relatively similar to those of freshman year, except for that “he is more educated on many issues.”

Sharabu adds that he is more informed on functions of government, “interactions between the state and individuals and different political ideologies and their rationale.”