I've been helping the son of a friend with his Common App essay. It started as an investigation of the common theme tying together a number of disparate interests, both academic and non-academic. It's since veered off into politics, and not just the procedural aspects to politics. It's at the point where a reader giving the essay a quick read may think the writer is making an analogy between a certain political figure's speech at a certain non-political rally, and rallies that led to really bad stuff middle of last century. I've tried to suggest that he walk this back a bit, perhaps to focus on the importance of the rule of law/principles, which is where the non-political version started, but each draft becomes more political! He's applying EA to one of the most selective schools, which is concerning, but I'm also concerned that a political essay is going to hurt him elsewhere. He's not explained himself very clearly at all or distanced himself from the analogy.
Not really sure what I'm asking -- maybe just how much I should push back on this? Encourage him to draw out a couple of other themes and downplay the politics? I can tell that there's a very good essay hiding in what he's written, but I'm limited in how much I can tell him what to do. How much of a no-no is it to write about politics in these essays? I've always heard (and I've done quite a lot of reading and research into this) that politics and religion are off-limits (when writing about views/substance). Nothing else on the application suggests political engagement, so it's not like the essay goes into a strong interest of his.