In the 1950s, young people began to take more of an interest in politics than ever before. In the 1956 race, much to Howard's disgust, Richie decides to back the Democratic candidate, Adlai Stephenson against Dwight D. Eisenhower. Father and son argue very heatedly on this issue because Richie wants to make his own choices and Howard simply can't move past the fact that his son wants to back someone who isn't a Republican.
This episode highlights Richie's political awareness and the fact that he is grown up enough to make informed decisions as to which candidate he wishes to throw his support behind. Inevitably, of course, Eisenhower won the election, but 1960 brought with it the beginning of the Kennedy era and so if Richie decided to stick to his choice, maybe he got his way in the end.