Pundit Prodigy: Madeleine McAulay
A local teen uses new media to make her mark on the national scene
Sixteen-year-old Madeleine McAulay from Huntersville spends a lot of time on social media—but not like you’d think. She isn’t texting or updating her Facebook page. Instead, she burns up bandwidth talking politics.
“Most teenagers are more concerned about the party on Friday night,” says Madeleine. “I’m more worried about what’s the political news of the day.”
Her love for politics happened rather organically. Her parents aren’t activists, yet she was always drawn to their occasional political conversations. “When I was younger, probably fourth or fifth grade, I used to ask people if they were elephants or donkeys,” she says.
But it wasn’t until 2008 that Madeleine became fully engaged in the political arena. “I never really realized a woman could be in politics, I guess, until Sarah Palin came out onto the stage for the [Republican National] Convention. I was very intrigued by her—that she was a wife and a mom, and still this major political figure.”
Madeleine developed her passion into her Faith, Hope, and Politics blog (faithhopeandpolitics.com), which debuted last summer. She then joined Twitter (@m_mcaulay) as a way to share links to her blog posts, and there she became increasingly vocal about her beliefs: smaller government, pro-life, anti-Obama.
Last fall, she used Twitter to connect with popular conservative activist Andrew Breitbart (who passed away in March). Shortly after, she started blogging for breitbart.com, which garners more than 1.3 million visitors per month. Her Twitter audience expanded in a high profile way when Fox News’s Sean Hannity began following her tweets. “He and I have Twitter conversations on a weekly basis,” she says. And in April, her idol, Palin, started following her—a real coup considering the former Republican vice presidential nominee only follows about 125 people.
Because not everyone in the Twittersphere agrees with the views expressed by the self-professed “teenage political maverick,” her parents keep tabs on things.
“My wife Pam is connected to all of her [social media] accounts and can monitor all of the communication that goes back and forth,” says Arthur McAulay, Madeleine’s father.
To provide a more flexible schedule for her political activities, McAulay started home school last year after previously attending Mooresville Christian Academy. This winter, she traveled to the prominent Conservative Political Action Conference, where she met Palin and other influential Republican leaders. She also plans to spend part of her summer volunteering with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
With her budding visibility and hectic schedule, it’s easy to forget that Madeleine is really still a kid. That is, until she reminds you. “I always start my day by jumping on the trampoline,” she says. “That’s kind of my venting, thinking space.”