Despite those findings, the young women I interviewed all had high aspirations — they wanted to become a novelist, an animal scientist and a basketball player. One, Ana Shepherd, 18, had decided to pursue politics as a direct result of what she saw the last four years. She was born in Mexico and felt she could help give immigrants a voice in policy.

Their thoughts had been molded by the racial justice protests, by Trump administration policies, by Hillary Clinton’s loss and those of other women in the 2020 Democratic primaries. They spoke eloquently about the importance of representation in government and giving voice to people who had been marginalized. In high school, they had named role models like Beyoncé, the Kardashians and their school principal. Now they mentioned Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Jordan Barrett, 19, was a supporter of Donald Trump in 2016 and the sole student from…

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