Should Republicans be more concerned about winning over the nones in the 2016 election than Evangelicals?
Republicans have a one-track approach to presidential polls. They have one eye towards the White House and one eye on Scriptures. It is no wonder all GOP candidates are fighting for the votes of evangelical Protestants, the single biggest religious voting bloc. The irony is that given their efforts to courting evangelicals, they should court a much bigger section of the population: the people who do not consider themselves as religious.
It is to be mentioned that the non-religious category is dispersed in a number of demographics. There are people who identify themselves as spiritual and shy away from being termed religious. Then there are the atheists and the agnostics. There are a large number of people who are extremely tired of any kind of politics which are based on exclusions and against the insertion of religion into secular governance. They are called the “nones.”
The numbers linked with this particular category have attracted collective shrugs from Republicans and Democrats. There are a number of reasons for this: this demographic is too diverse and too much fractured for courtship. There is also the emphasis of following the American Christian tradition in the White House. It is no wonder that this mosaic group does not get its due credit.
The increase in the population of nones can be seen as astronomical when it is seen in the political and historical context. They are the fastest growing population in the US, in fact much faster than the Hispanic population. However, the difference between nones and Hispanics is that the former have already proved themselves to a major voting bloc in the vital swing states. One thing is clear: the bloc plays a pivotal role in any election.
The Republicans still continue to repeat the same mistake they did in 2012. At that time, Mitt Romney tried his utmost best to attract the Religious Right. The math said he was correct. Getting the religious vote was thought to be the straight path to the presidency for any Republican. However, his campaign managers did not take into account the shrinking size of such a group, with a robust non-religious streak only getting thicker with the emergence of the millennial voters. All such actions cost him the election. Even as Republicans captured the Religious Right vote, the moderate faithful and nones gave President Barack Obama the advantage he required in the important swing states.