Over the past decade, the percentage of Americans who don’t identify with any organized religion has been rising steadily. But the percentage of us who vote has not gone up at the same rate.
Just look at this depressing chart based off of numbers from PRRI: It shows how we went from roughly 14% of the population to 25% over the past two decades — still an underestimate compared to other surveys — but that the percentage of us who voted barely budged.
We’re a growing part of the American population but a shrinking part of the American electorate.
The stakes were as high as ever in 2016, and most Nones didn’t care enough to get off their asses and vote, and now we have an administration that’s anti-science, a Supreme Court that openly rejects church/state separation, and conservative Christians running everything despite their inability to do anything.
But here’s some good news.
According to the Pew Research Center, 28% of current registered voters are non-religious, nearly double what it was a decade ago. (White evangelicals are only 18%.)
Not only that: We’re 38% of the Democratic base.
Obviously what matters is how many of these registered voters actually complete the task. We know those white evangelicals will turn out; they always do and they have a lot to show for their loyalty. But if we’re headed for a record voter turnout across the country, as every indicator makes clear, it’s possible we’ll also see a dramatic jump in how many of those voters are non-religious, in part because we had so much ground to make up.
If non-religious Americans ever voted in proportion to how many of us there are in the country — in a way that benefitted Democrats — it would be a radical and welcome shift in the political landscape.
(via Religion Clause)