Noon Forum: Breeding Partisanship

   On April 4, Dr. Kenneth Blanchard, NSU Professor Political Science, spoke about a topic not known by many: political heritability. The very label suggests the idea that there exists genetic roots behind political behaviors and beliefs.
   This may sound preposterous, but given the information presented by Blanchard, it appears quite plausible.
   There were a number of studies quoted throughout the presentation. The first of which was a collection of studies done with identical twins. As they are as close to human clones as nature and mankind can currently get, they serve as a perfect basis for comparison. For those twins that were raised apart, they shared eerily similar lives – often having alike physiques, careers, spouses, and mannerisms. They also often had similar political beliefs, though they had different upbringings.
   Another study done by Dr. Nancy Segal highlighted what happens when twins are accidentally raised apart., such as one case in which one twin was mistaken for a different baby and sent home with the wrong family, leaving the other twin to be raised alongside a stranger.
   Though they were raised by separate families, with one believing another child was his sibling, the two still had far more in kind. Based on mannerisms alone, many distinctions could be made between the children.
   These studies led Blanchard to his key points: there are no heritable factors that say someone will choose one political party over the other, but there are some that indicate the probability that one will align with one political party over another.
   This inspired a number of questions from those present, including inquiries as to how this information may influence support for eugenics. One person asked whether the strong party alliances seen in the 2016 elections were at least a partial result of political heritability? According to Blanchard, it very well could be. However, there are few definitive answers to questions as complex as that.

Brooke Nelson