By Phil Zuckerman
Every election cycle has its “firsts.”
This year, the selection of Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate presented the U.S. with its first politician of Indian heritage – and the first Black woman – to be on a major party ticket. It followed Hillary Clinton’s becoming the first woman to win the popular vote for president in a 2016 election to replace America’s first Black president, Barack Obama.
Meanwhile, Pete Buttigieg became the first openly gay candidate to win a presidential primary and Ted Cruz became the first Latino to do so. In recent years Americans saw the first Jewish American win a primary, Bernie Sanders, and Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar became the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
But in this era of increasing diversity and the breaking of long-rigid political-demographic barriers, there is no self-identifying atheist in national politics. Indeed, throughout history, only one self-identified atheist in the U.S. Congress comes to mind, the late California Democrat Peter Stark.
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