Now that the elections are over, we can see that the nation prefers democracy to a Christian nationalist totalitarian regime. In large part, we have Generation Z voters to thank.

Gen Z, as defined by The Pew Research Center, are those born between 1997 and (tentatively) 2012. The young voters were the second highest in almost three decades. About 27% of Gen Z voters voted in the 2022 elections, and about 60% voted for Democrat candidates. Support for Democrats was even higher among Black youth at 89% and Latino youth at 68%.

After years of assaulting our democracy in several cases, such as Citizens United (2010), which let corporations spend unlimited amounts of money on candidates and gutting the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder (2013), young voters had had enough. It seems the ultra-conservative Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade was the catalyst that caused an unprecedented number of Gen Z voters, some of whom voted for the first time, to turn out to protect a woman’s right to choose.

But beware. Just because the red-wave Christian Nationalists expected didn’t happen doesn’t mean they have gone away. Far from it.

I recently found an article by senior editor John Davidson in the Federalist, an ultra-conservative Christian nationalist online magazine. Davidson argues conservatives must protect what they value: the lives of the unborn, marriage as the union of one man and one woman, assigning sexual identity based on physical appearance at birth, and defining America as a Christian nation. He believes liberals are working to “dismantle our constitutional system and transform America into a woke dystopia.” Davidson believes conservatives have been asleep while liberals passed laws that snuffed out the life of the unborn, re-defined marriage, blurred the distinction between men and women, and assaulted Christianity.

Davidson isn’t content to complain, however. He advises Christian Nationalists to save the country by ultimately ending liberalism. He writes, “accommodation or compromises with the left is impossible” and “the left will only stop when conservatives stop them.”

Advertisement

Davidson argues that agreeing to reasonable limits on abortion is the same as agreeing to reasonable limits on premeditated murder. He goes on to say that “parents who take their kids to drag shows should be arrested and charged with child abuse; that doctors who perform “gender-affirming” interventions should be thrown in prison and have their medical licenses revoked; and that teachers who expose their students to (age-appropriate and factual) sexually explicit material should not just be fired but be criminally prosecuted.”

This is the worldview that Gen Z and other voters rejected on Election Day. A worldview that denies a woman the right to choose, denies one the right to marry whom one loves, restricts the freedom to express one’s sexual identity based on what is between their ears and not by what is between their legs, and dictating cultural norms based on the unfounded beliefs of one religion.

In short, because of the razor-thin margins in the election, our democracy could be in peril. I encourage those who value democracy to preserve the gains made in the 2022 election and increase them in the 2024 election.

It will take all of us, conservative and liberal voters alike, to stay alert and vote for leaders who respect the rule of law and make decisions based on logic and reason. Gen Z voters have shown that when those who value equality in our nation get out and vote, we can have the country it claims to be.

Tom Waddell is president of the Maine Chapter of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. He welcomes comments at [email protected] and ffrfmaine.org.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.