Aron Ra Resigns as President of Atheist Alliance of America, Focuses on State Senate Run

Aron Ra- State Senate Ad- YouTube

Atheist Activist and Science Communicator Aron Ra. Image: YouTube screen capture.

Aron Ra, the atheist activist and science communicator, has resigned as President of the Atheist Alliance of America, according to an article from his blog. He has decided to move on from the organization to focus on an increasingly busy schedule related to his Texas State Senate run. “So in an effort to minimize distractions, I have resigned as President of Atheist Alliance of America to concentrate on my increasingly busy State Senate Campaign. Yes, I’m really doing this despite how much of a long shot this is,” Ra noted.

He is running as a Democrat in Texas State Senate District 2, whose incumbent, Bob Hall, is a Republican. If Ra wins the Democratic primary in the spring of 2018, he will face a district where a Democrat has not run since 2002. Nevertheless, as an insurgency grows against President Donald Trump and the GOP, he may have an opportunity to stage a spectacular upset.

During his time as Atheist Alliance of America president, he helped to relaunch the Secular Nation podcast (disclosure: co-hosted by yours truly), assisted with the coming relaunch of Secular Nation magazine, and helped rebuild its presence within the growing Atheist movement.

If you are interested in learning more about Aron Ra’s candidacy and ways to support, visit his campaign website, aronra.org.

Aron Ra announces intention to run for Texas State Senate

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Aron Ra, the charismatic science educator and atheist activist, has announced his intention to run for Texas State Senate in 2018. On a recent episode of Dogma Debate, Aron Ra explained why he felt the time was right to announce his intention to run. Inspired by Bernie Sanders and California State Senate candidate Steve Hill, Ra remarked that “in 2018, when I run for Texas State Senate, I’m going to do an advertising campaign along those lines, and I think people are going to be completely outraged at what they’ve had to put up with for the two years leading up to that point before I do.”

What he was referring to was the phenomenal success that both Hill and Sanders had as unconventional candidates. Hill ran for the California Senate as an open Satanist during the 2016 Democratic primary, garnering nearly 12% of the vote. Sanders ran as a “democratic socialist” and won 23 states, 1865 delegates, and over 13.2 million votes against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This makes Sanders the most successful non-Christian (he’s a secular Jew) Presidential candidate in US history.

Ra faces an uphill battle in his race for the Texas State Senate. He lives in Garland, which likely puts him in either district 2, 8, or 16. These districts are Republican strongholds, where Democrats and even Libertarians haven’t had much luck against the incumbents. Nevertheless, Ra is an extremely successful activist and science educator, using his YouTube channel, podcast, and other outlets to educate the public about the dangers of creationism in public schools. He was also a passionate Bernie Sanders supporter, which means that he likely cares about combating climate change, income inequality, and money in politics.

Aron Ra would be a welcome addition to the local politics in Texas and would show to the country that atheists and secularists are becoming a more influential voice in the United States.

Iowa and the Rejection of the Establishment

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Man, would I hate to be Jeb (!) Bush today. His Super PAC spent nearly $15 million in Iowa and he only received 2.8 percent of the vote. This means that, according to the Weekly Standard, he spent $2,884 per vote in the Iowa Caucus. This does not bode well for the establishment wing of the Republican Party, who is desperately trying to find someone who could potentially beat back both the ultra-conservative base and the presumptive Democratic nominee.

What does this say about Iowa all together?

Last night the politics of consensus were shattered, on both sides. The first place victory of Ted Cruz cements the possibility that the Republican Party could nominate its most divisive candidate since 1964. But then there’s Donald Trump, who is arguably more divisive that Cruz, and he placed second! Poor old Jeb placed sixth in Iowa, with the other establishment standard-bearers John Kasich and Chris Christie placing eighth and tenth, respectively. The only establishment pick that came close to Cruz and Trump, Marco Rubio, placed third. If the establishment wing of the party desires to win, they should encourage Bush, Kasich, and Christie to get out of the race and shift their energies to Rubio. But all bets are off on this one.

And then there’s the Democratic caucus, which is one of the closest races in Iowa history. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are in a virtual tie, separated by only four delegate votes. Some precincts were so close that a literal coin toss relegated its votes to Clinton. It was an amazing showing for Senator Sanders, who a year ago polled in the single digits in Iowa. Sanders may not have had a clear electoral victory last night, but he sure had a political one. The momentum his campaign gained going into New Hampshire might lead to one of the most unexpected upsets in recent memory.

Such is presidential politics at the nadir of the Obama era. The establishment bearers (Bush, Rubio, and Clinton) either placed far behind the pack or came away with a squeaker of a win. Conversely, the victors of the night were the firebrands, the radicals, and the disestablishmentarians (Cruz, Trump, Sanders). While Iowa isn’t always the best gauge on who will be the nominee (remember, Huckabee won in 2008 and Santorum won in 2012), it did provide a young, charismatic Senator from Illinois the momentum to pull off one of the most influential political candidacies in American history. In other words, Iowa matters.

Yet, what came of the young Senator’s idea of a new era of bipartisanship, pragmatism, and consensus building? It never really happened. Obama’s candidacy and subsequent presidency, successful in many areas of policy and politics, resulted in the country being more divided, ideologically rigid, and gridlocked.

But to blame all of this on Obama would be absurd, since George W. Bush ran on the same type of platform and dealt with the same frustrations. Rather, it speaks to the fact that Americans want an ideologically motivated president. They are tired of the politics of conciliation and want a candidate who is steadfast about their ideals. If they didn’t, the candidacies of Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders never would have gotten off the ground.

From my reading of this race and the Iowa caucus, Obama’s notion of a post-ideology America has bitten the dust, at least for now.