The Secular Vote Key To Democratic Successes In Midterms

By James A. Haught | 15 November 2022
Church and State

(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

Historically, the political party controlling the White House suffers heavy losses in off-year midterm elections. But it didn’t happen in 2022. This raises hope that the spectacular growth of young secular “nones” in America finally is showing some electoral power.

A CNN report said voters under age 30 made up only twelve percent of the Nov. 8 electorate – about typical for their cohort. But they overwhelmingly backed progressive nominees and supported women’s right to end pregnancies if they want.

“Democrats would have gotten crushed without young voter support,” CNN said. “Democratic House candidates won voters under the age of 45 by 13 points… Breaking it down further, House Democratic candidates won voters under 30 by 28 points – that’s an increase from their 26-point edge with this group two years ago…. Notably, today’s Democratic Party relies on the youngest of voters in a way that it historically hadn’t – at least not until the last few elections.”

By far, the young are the least-religious segment in the United States. Several secular groups strive to mobilize the 75 million Americans who say their supernatural faith is “none” – as a way to improve human rights, democracy and living conditions for the whole populace. I hope sociology researchers make scientific studies to determine whether “nones” swung the election and prevented a “red wave.”

An Associated Press analysis noted that voters in Michigan and Kentucky supported women’s right to choose. In Republican Kentucky, an attempt to deny protection for abortion failed strongly. Southern Baptist leader Albert Mohler called the result an “unmitigated disaster.” It followed a similar vote in August in another red state, Kansas.

Catholics for Choice president Jamie Manson issued a statement saying: “In red states and blue states, with religious voters and secular voters, wherever abortion was on the ballot, abortion rights disproportionately won.”

Professor John Fea at Messiah University in Pennsylvania commented: “The Christian right, despite the fact that they got what they wanted with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, is not getting the extent of the victory they had hoped.”

The AP added: “Large majorities of voters who describe themselves as nonreligious voted for the Democrats and supported abortion rights in their decisions on the Michigan and Kentucky ballot measures.”

Professor Fea said the 2022 results also displayed “a vote against an extreme brand of Christian nationalism, combined with election-denying.” He’s author of Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

The AP concluded:

“Overall, among voters nationwide, about 4 in 10 say they attend religious services at least monthly; about a third say they never attend. About a fifth say they go once a week or more. Democrats largely attend religious services less frequently – about 7 in 10 go less than monthly. Among Republicans, 46 percent attend at least monthly, while 54 percent go less often.”

Britain’s Guardian wrote “It is estimated that 27 percent of young voters aged 18-29 cast a ballot in 2022, making this the midterm election with the second-highest youth voter turnout in almost three decades, after 2018. In some key battleground states, turnout was even higher, at 31 percent, and support for Democratic candidates was roughly over 60 percent, driven in large part by the fight for abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade.”

Cristina Ramirez, president of NextGen, said:

“This is the most politically engaged cohort of young voters in American history – even higher than in the 1960s in the United States. They’re voting more. They’re participating in protests. They are more avid readers of politics and social issues.”

She said Democrats have the youth to thank for key Senate race victories. “In Pennsylvania, we contacted 2.1 million young eligible voters – nine out of 10 young voters in that state. John Fetterman is the new senator of Pennsylvania because of young voters.” Young Pennsylvanians voted seventy percent for Fetterman, according to exit polls.

The Guardian added: “At the University of Michigan, some students waited for six hours to vote, casting their ballot at 2 am.”

Senator Bernie Sanders thanked the group:

“Without the major turnout of younger voters, we would have seen a very different outcome in last night’s election.”

Let’s hope that secularism is becoming a permanent political force in America.

James A. HaughtJames A. Haught is editor emeritus of West Virginia’s The Charleston Gazette-Mail and a senior editor of the Free Inquiry magazine. He is also the author of numerous books and articles; his most recent book is Religion is Dying: Soaring Secularism in America and the West (Gustav Broukal Press, 2010). Haught has won 21 national newswriting awards and thirty of his columns have been distributed by national syndicates. He is in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Contemporary Authors, and 2000 Outstanding Intellectuals of the 21st Century. His website is

How the Youth Vote Impacted the Midterm Elections

How Democrats’ Midterms Fight Has Been Boosted By Young Voters

Examining the impact of young voter turnout on the midterm elections

Young People Were The Game Changers In Midterms, Says Historian

Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here