We asked Pittsburgh-area kids, their parents and experts what they make of this election.

by Meg St. Espirit

If the political climate of the United States is confusing for adults, imagine how staggeringly overwhelming it is for children.

How exactly are local kids understanding this election? We asked them directly. Their answers were surprising — even to some of their parents, who we asked to interview their kids on how they are feeling. The children had a wide range of views and beliefs, and different levels of understanding about the platforms of President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. We also spoke to their parents and several experts in the field to provide a window into how children are processing the 2020 election.

Stylized black and white photo of 7-year-old McKenna with red and blue artistic circles behind her.


McKenna, 7, North Side

McKenna lives with her mom and two brothers — and a crew of awesome pets, including two dogs, two guinea pigs and a bearded dragon — in Pittsburgh’s North Side. She loves reading and Legos. McKenna has a special talent for calming down her classmates. Since her school is fully virtual right now, she’s been learning at a community learning hub. When McKenna grows up she either wants to rule the world or be a police officer. McKenna hears her mom and adult brother talk about the election and knows they plan to vote for Biden.

She isn’t sure of Trump’s goals for the country, but she is concerned he doesn’t wear a mask. “He doesn’t like Black people, and he only likes rich people.” When she ponders Biden, she notes that she sees him wear a mask and thinks that he cares a lot about Black people. “He likes rich people and poor people.” McKenna gets most of her information about the election from ads she sees on YouTube, about both candidates. They show up amidst the content geared for kids she likes to watch. When listening to these ads, as well as adults around her discussing the election, she has formed the opinion that the most important thing about being the president is to care about people of all skin colors, no matter if they are rich orpoor.

If — when — McKenna runs for president, she plans to use “Black Lives Matter” as herslogan.




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