Did "Catholics Abandon Democrats" in 2014?
Folks, it comes as no surprise to you, given my absence, that I'm no longer blogging. Haven't been for a while. So, don't be surprised if this is the last post you ever see at this blog. But I felt like I needed to say something, and, given the overriding theme of this blog for the past 10 years, a post about the so-called "Catholic Vote", and whether such a thing even exists, seems as good a way to wrap things up as there is.
Today, the Catholic League put out a press release on the results of the 2014 elections:
Just two years ago, Catholics voted for President Barack Obama by a margin of 50 percent to 48 percent. On Tuesday, they abandoned Obama’s party: 54 percent voted for Republican candidates and 45 percent went for the Democrats (60 percent of white Catholics chose GOP candidates). What is most startling about the Catholic vote is that it represents an exact turnaround from 2008: 54 percent voted for Obama and 45 percent cast their ballot for Senator John McCain.Catholics are pragmatic. Until the McGovernization of the Democratic Party in 1972, they were among the most reliably Democratic voters in the nation. Since that time, they have been politically homeless, which is why both parties vie for their vote so aggressively. Catholics are a bellwether: whoever wins their vote, generally wins the election. By contrast, Protestants vote Republican and Jews vote Democrat...
I'm sorry, but these particular numbers regarding "the Catholic Vote" just don't stand out to me. In fact, it's time we stop talking about "the Catholic vote" or "Catholic voters" because such a thing no longer exists.
Bill Donohue says "Catholics are pragmatic." But when I look at these numbers, all I see is Catholics supporting the Democrats in 2012 by the same proportion as the rest of the country, and Catholics supporting Republicans in 2014 by the same proportion as the rest of the country.
In other words, there doesn't appear to be anything unique to or distinct about Catholic voters that differentiates them from the rest of the country at large. Catholic voters appear to be merely a mirror of the rest of society in their voting patterns. And that's just sad.
Catholics appear to have become what many of our forebears, culminating in the election of President John F. Kennedy, seem to have wanted - to just fit in. To be seen as "normal Americans". To not be seen by the rest of the country as in any way beholden to our Faith (certainly not be be seen as beholden to a "foreign power", i.e. the Pope).
But "fitting in" isn't what is required of us. We're called to be in the world, but not of it. We're called to be counter-cultural. We're called to be witnesses of our Faith. We're supposed to change the world, NOT let the world change us.
So, no, I don't believe that "Catholics abandoned Democrats" in the 2014 elections. The VOTERS abandoned the Democrats in the 2014 election, and Catholics just went along for the ride. By contrast, our evangelical brethren voted against the Democrats in a proportion that FAR exceeded the proportion of the electorate at large. THERE's an instance where faith seems to make a difference in voting patterns. With us Catholics, not so much. Again, sad.