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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  Presidential Election Trends (Moderator: Virginiá)
  An atheist for President?
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Author Topic: An atheist for President?  (Read 686 times)
mathstatman
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« on: December 17, 2019, 10:37:19 am »

In 1978, only 26% of Americans surveyed said they would vote for a "homosexual" as President if he or she were nominated by their party. By comparison, 40% said the same about an atheist.

By the mid-2010s, a clear majority of 59% would vote for a gay or lesbian President (to no one's surprise, and unlike in 1978, there was a huge gap between self-identified Democrats and Republicans)-- a jump of 33%. By comparison, only 49% said they would vote for an atheist-- only a 9-point increase in nearly 40 years.

Does an atheist have a reasonable shot at the Presidency? On the one hand, more Americans under 40 have rejected religion than ever in our history; religion (especially Christianity) is often associated with a right-wing political and social agenda, not necessarily popular. On the other hand, many liberals today feel comfortable in certain religious bodies, such as mainline (NCCCUSA-affiliated) Protestant churches, and have no issue with invoking the teachings of Jesus to promote social or economic justice.

Well.. what do you think? I think it's a longshot for at least another 20 years or so.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2019, 12:00:34 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.
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Orser67
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« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2019, 12:31:05 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

I disagree that it's as simple as that; as OP states, there's an unusually high number of people who wouldn't vote for an atheist for president. E.g., comparing to other groups that represent a single digit percentage of the population, 538 shows that people are more likely to say that they wouldn't vote for an atheist than for someone who is Jewish, Muslim, or gay. In fact, the only group that's more unpopular than atheists in the poll are socialists.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2019, 12:36:49 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

I disagree that it's as simple as that; as OP states, there's an unusually high number of people who wouldn't vote for an atheist for president. E.g., comparing to other groups that represent a single digit percentage of the population, 538 shows that people are more likely to say that they wouldn't vote for an atheist than for someone who is Jewish, Muslim, or gay. In fact, the only group that's more unpopular than atheists in the poll are socialists.

Yeah, I mostly agree with what you're saying.  I was just making the point that people lazily conflate "non-religious" with "atheist," and atheists make up a very, very small percent of the country, and a majority of the growth in the "Nones" is not people adopting an atheistic stance, but rather usually an agnostic or "spiritual but not religious" one.
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giving birth to thunder
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2019, 02:46:18 pm »

In the US identifying as an atheist aside from simply "none" is seen as a political statement and basically the same as "new atheism", for example even Kyrsten Sinema doesn't identify as an atheist, she simply describes herself as "non-religious". So very low.
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When Tables Deserve To Die
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2019, 03:00:15 pm »

Not courting secret atheists like Obama and Trump I doubt it.
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brucejoel99
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« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2019, 03:03:45 pm »

If you expand atheist to include "nonreligious" or agnostic, then I think that it's just a matter of time 'til we have such a nominee.

In the US identifying as an atheist aside from simply "none" is seen as a political statement and basically the same as "new atheism", for example even Kyrsten Sinema doesn't identify as an atheist, she simply describes herself as "non-religious". So very low.

This. Few nonreligious people call themselves atheists because that term is more aggressive & comes laden with baggage.
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Tartarus Sauce
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« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2019, 03:34:57 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

They’re 10% of the population, if we go by the textbook definition of rejecting belief in God or a higher power. Only around 3% explicitly identify with the label of atheist, but as others have said, that has more to do with the baggage weighted to the term than an actual embrace of spiritual beliefs by the other 7%.
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Where is my Freistaat Preußen avatar?
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« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2019, 08:39:00 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

There are a lot more people who are essentially atheist but identify themselves with diffrent terms.
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Orser67
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« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2019, 11:07:33 pm »

I think a self-described agnostic or otherwise irreligious person would have a solid chance of winning the Democratic nomination so long as they were respectful of other peoples' faith (though they'd have a tough time forming the right combination of voters). They'd probably suffer an electoral penalty in the general election, but it would probably only be 1-2% at most. I don't think they could win the Republican nomination, though.

A self-described atheist in the style of Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins might have a shot at the Democratic nomination, but they'd get blown out in the general.
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Grassr00ts
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« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2019, 09:29:46 am »

I wish we had an openly Atheist president, but all evidence points to Donald Trump himself being atheist, which is one of the few things I like about him personally.
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MarkD
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« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2019, 11:46:56 am »

I think a self-described agnostic or otherwise irreligious person would have a solid chance of winning the Democratic nomination so long as they were respectful of other peoples' faith (though they'd have a tough time forming the right combination of voters). They'd probably suffer an electoral penalty in the general election, but it would probably only be 1-2% at most. I don't think they could win the Republican nomination, though.

A self-described atheist in the style of Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins might have a shot at the Democratic nomination, but they'[woul]d get blown out in the general.

My thoughts exactly. They can't be condescending towards religious people.

And like the OP says, I don't think it can happen within the next 20 years or so. We might have to have a President Pete Buttigieg before we can have a President Kyrsten Sinema.
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2019, 05:02:14 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

There are a lot more people who are essentially atheist but identify themselves with diffrent terms.

I'd disagree that you even CAN be "essentially atheist" ... I mean, an atheist is someone who rejects ANY higher power or intelligence or first cause or whatever, not just a personal deity.  If one has a hang up believing that the physical Universe (or multiverse) created itself from nothing with no first, external cause ... well, that person might not be a Christian and might not believe in the Biblical "God," but he is not an atheist.  The Pew study says 33% of "Nones" do not believe in a higher power, which would put atheists at around 7.5%.
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Non Swing Voter
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« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2019, 09:53:26 pm »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

There are a lot more people who are essentially atheist but identify themselves with diffrent terms.

I'd disagree that you even CAN be "essentially atheist" ... I mean, an atheist is someone who rejects ANY higher power or intelligence or first cause or whatever, not just a personal deity.  If one has a hang up believing that the physical Universe (or multiverse) created itself from nothing with no first, external cause ... well, that person might not be a Christian and might not believe in the Biblical "God," but he is not an atheist.  The Pew study says 33% of "Nones" do not believe in a higher power, which would put atheists at around 7.5%.

wow that's so deep!
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RINO Tom
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« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2019, 01:14:58 am »

As reasonable of a shot as any other category of person that is only ~5% of the population.

There are a lot more people who are essentially atheist but identify themselves with diffrent terms.

I'd disagree that you even CAN be "essentially atheist" ... I mean, an atheist is someone who rejects ANY higher power or intelligence or first cause or whatever, not just a personal deity.  If one has a hang up believing that the physical Universe (or multiverse) created itself from nothing with no first, external cause ... well, that person might not be a Christian and might not believe in the Biblical "God," but he is not an atheist.  The Pew study says 33% of "Nones" do not believe in a higher power, which would put atheists at around 7.5%.

wow that's so deep!

Haha, you're such a simple poster.
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Technocracy Timmy
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« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2019, 03:28:44 am »

Americans generally expect presidential candidates to shower and wear deodorant which renders potential atheist candidates unworkable.
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Orser67
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« Reply #16 on: December 24, 2019, 03:03:12 am »

I thought this article/poll was interesting and relevant to the topic. Essentially, evangelicals are less tolerant of atheists/agnostics than vice versa:

Quote
...respondents were asked whether their selected group should be allowed to give speeches in the community, teach in public schools, run for public office and other liberties. Americans are not particularly tolerant of groups they dislike. Only 30 percent are willing to allow their disliked group three or more such activities.

But 65 percent of atheists and 53 percent of Democrats who listed Christian fundamentalists as their least-liked group are willing to allow them to engage in three or more of these activities. That’s a much higher proportion with tolerance than the sample overall.

...a smaller proportion of white evangelicals would behave with tolerance toward atheists than the proportion of atheists who would behave with tolerance toward them. Thirteen percent of white evangelical Protestants selected atheists as their least-liked group. Of those, 32 percent are willing to extend three or more of these rights to atheists. In fact, when we looked at all religious groups, atheists and agnostics were the most likely to extend rights to the groups they least liked.
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Cory Booker
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« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2019, 03:05:59 pm »

Blacks are more egotist than white candidates, there arent gonna be pure atheist, some say Obama was Muslim instead of Christian. More Blacks are less tradtl than whites, due to Genesis and origins of first man; consequently,  that's why Booker and Harris are gonna be Prez
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Fuzzy Bear Knows A Purge When He Sees One
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« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2019, 09:51:16 pm »

If you expand atheist to include "nonreligious" or agnostic, then I think that it's just a matter of time 'til we have such a nominee.

In the US identifying as an atheist aside from simply "none" is seen as a political statement and basically the same as "new atheism", for example even Kyrsten Sinema doesn't identify as an atheist, she simply describes herself as "non-religious". So very low.

This.
This. Few nonreligious people call themselves atheists because that term is more aggressive & comes laden with baggage.
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