There are a lot of reasons Democrats got crushed on Election Day, but this particular bit of information is worth noting: “Nones” — who are atheists, Agnostics, and people who may believe in God but don’t use a religious label — make up nearly 20% of the adult population… but, according to exit polls, we were only 12% of the electorate:
Meanwhile, nearly 80% of the population is some form of Christian and nearly 80% of the electorate was, too.
I know that even if 100% of us who are non-religious voted, we’d still be vastly outnumbered by the fraction of theists who vote, but those demographics are constantly changing in our direction, and it’s still no excuse to not vote. If anything, we should be more engaged because we have the most to lose by staying at home.
It also suggests Democrats have a lot to gain by reaching out to our communities or at least talking about the issues that matter to most of us — things like civil rights for LGBT people, church/state separation, women’s rights, and all the other social issues they avoided discussing (for some odd reason) over the past few months. It’s not that we’re all going to vote Republican if they don’t reach out to us, but we may end up not voting at all. It still hurts our issues in the long run.
On another note, I’m curious how much that voter apathy would change on our end if we had more candidates who were openly non-theistic. Would non-religious people get off their butts for people who weren’t ashamed of admitting they didn’t believe in God?
For what it’s worth, I saw no indication that Arizona State Rep. Juan Mendez was re-elected because of his atheism… but I also didn’t see any evidence that Daniel Moran (Texas State House candidate) or James Woods (Congressional candidate from Arizona) were not elected as a result of their atheism.
That label alone wasn’t a political liability in two pretty red states. Maybe that fact will encourage more non-theistic candidates to be honest about their beliefs in the future. If they did, especially in states where the “Nones” make up a larger segment of the population, maybe it’d excite us enough to vote — and encourage others to join us.
(via Sarah Posner)