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what Catholic vote?

By Diogenes (articles ) | Nov 09, 2006

With a palpable sense of satisfaction, the Catholic Alliance for the Common Good-- the folks who brought you the it's-OK-to-vote-for-Democrats voter guide-- note a big swing in the Catholic voter bloc. In 2004 the Democratic Party couldn't hold its traditional Catholic majority; this year, they did. The results were particularly evident in the closely contested Senate races that restored the Democratic majority. In every "swing state," the Catholic vote for a Democratic Senate candidate was higher in 2006 than in 2000-- in most cases, substantially higher.

The Common Good crowd figures that Catholic voters were swayed by "'kitchen table' moral issues like the Iraq War and political corruption." (A "kitchen table" moral issue, in this context, is one on which Catholics are likely to agree with Democrats.) Unfortunately, it's tough to argue with that analysis. On a national scale, there's precious little evidence that Catholic voters made the "non-negotiable" moral issues-- abortion, marriage, cloning, euthanasia-- their primary considerations.

What would happen if political leaders made a concerted effort to appeal to the Catholic vote-- precisely along the lines of those "non-negotiable" issues? We don't really know. But this year there were a couple of "swing states" with a large Catholic population, where pro-life, pro-family alliances worked hard to get out the vote-- in Missouri, for a referendum on stem-cell research, and in Virginia, for a ballot measure on marriage. And guess what? Missouri and Virginia were the only swing states in which a (pro-life) Republican Senate candidates won more Catholic votes than their (pro-abortion) Democratic rivals. Coincidence?

In fairness we should add that in each of these states, the Republican candidate lost a close election. Winning "the Catholic vote" doesn't guarantee victory. But a lopsided loss of the Catholic vote -- check those results in Ohio and Pennslvania-- is a guarantee of defeat.

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Show 21 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ladybird - Nov. 14, 2006 12:37 PM ET USA

    Bottom line neyrot et al: The right to life is part of the Republican Party Platform; whereas, the "right" of a woman to terminate the life in her womb is enshrined in the Democratic Party Platform. A candidate who runs with the financial and organizational backing of one of these parties is necessarily beholden to the party and must, when called upon to do so, support the party position. That is all I need to know about a candidate. What is the tune that his piper will call!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 11, 2006 11:37 PM ET USA

    In Maine our pols are mostly pro choice. Both Snowe & Colins (practicing Orthodox & Catholic respectively) are prochoice Repubs. The Big Tent seems to be code for we want prolife votes, but will do precious little for them. My rep, Mike Michuad, is a Catholic Dem, and somewhat prolife. I don't see the Repubs as effectively anymore anti abortion than the Dems. Abortions are not down significantly under Bush & it seems he doesn't care. Telephones his speech into the March for Life.. armslength.

  • Posted by: Kathie - Nov. 11, 2006 3:21 PM ET USA

    Many feel our priests, bishops, archbishops and cardinals are failing us. Catholics, strong in their committment to the Faith really have to rely on prayer, little help if any is coming from the Catholic religious leadership. Catholic Political Leaders calling for abortion, partial-birth abortion, embryonic stem-cell research and gay marriage should be admonished and shunned. They will not do it! Kathie

  • Posted by: - Nov. 11, 2006 1:39 AM ET USA

    >>It's galling that Rep. Nancy Pelosi may be the speaker of the House with her pick-and-choose Catholic values. << What's galling is that US Bishops don't make public denunciations against these high profile, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-Catholic "catholic" politicians.

  • Posted by: Plainsman160 - Nov. 10, 2006 2:40 PM ET USA

    It is unfair to blame legislators for not "saving lives" during the last 14 years. First, it is not true. The laws that have been passed--see the NRLC website among others for descriptions--have saved and will save lives. Second, that abortion has not been banned generally is the fault of the courts, not the politicians. So many people blame legislators for not doing anything, when it is the courts that cram abortion down our throats! The loss of the Senate is a great setback here.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 10, 2006 12:06 PM ET USA

    They killed the pre-born but I did not vote for life because I felt that "we are in a 'war' not required for self defense." They killed the elderly but I did not vote for life because I felt that they are "corrupt and have violated their limited government principles." They are about to kill me because those who could stop them "deserve(d) to go." It has been 70+ years since the German Catholics stood by while the Nazis came to power. We have not learned much.

  • Posted by: Publicus - Nov. 10, 2006 11:36 AM ET USA

    wpatc64, your assessment of the GOP is grossly unfair. A lot has been accomplished with regards to life and family issues, much of which has yet born fruit (such as a more pro-life Supreme Court). I ask what more did you expect to happen given the political environment? Look how difficult it has been to get the no-brainer of no-brainers of pro-life legislation, the partial-birth abortion ban, through our political system. We have to be realistic here.

  • Posted by: Publicus - Nov. 10, 2006 11:32 AM ET USA

    I have no quarrel with Catholics who refuse to vote GOP over Iraq and the corruption issue (as vastly overblown as it is). However, there is still no viable reason to vote for a pro-abortion, pro--homosexual Democrat. There are usuallyother alternatives and write-in possibilities.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 10, 2006 9:44 AM ET USA

    Leo, evangelization begins at the top. Today's Bishops will ingnore, scorn and then squash all of our evangelical efforts. Someone will have to explain to me why V-II should be so revered. "The fruits of V-II have given us depraved priests, a feminist brigade of nuns, Bishops who act as princes rather than shephards and Catholics who consistantly vote on this side of the culture of death. This spiritual schism is so palpable it literally crys out for Christ's intervention. Come Lord Jesus!

  • Posted by: Cupertino - Nov. 10, 2006 7:58 AM ET USA

    In deciding how to vote even the most conservative Catholic who is solid on all the issues could decide to repudiate the Republicans and, obviously, many did. We are in a "war" not required for self defense. Soldiers are killed each day; no end is in sight. Republicans are corrupt and have violated their limited goverrnment principles wholesale. They deserve to go.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Nov. 10, 2006 5:53 AM ET USA

    I hesitate to point out that fourteen years of Republican control of Congress has given us no legislation that has actually saved a human life, has it? The Republicans use the Catholic voter to gain power, and then do nothing to increase the birth rate, save babies or defeat the "mercy" killers. And we are supposed to get excited about them again. Oh, I pinched my nose tight and voted mostly Republican on Tuesday, but knew that they would betray us if they retained control.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Nov. 10, 2006 12:02 AM ET USA

    Pray, pray, pray. And sacrifice.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2006 11:45 PM ET USA

    Satan must be dancing with glee at the defeats of South Dakota's abortion ban, the abortion parental notification initiative in California and Missouri's passage of the stem-cell constitutional amendment. What chatisement will Americans have wrought now? It's galling that Rep. Nancy Pelosi may be the speaker of the House with her pick-and-choose Catholic values. It's quite telling that the media, which generally delights in bashing the church, has fawned over her as a "devout Catholic mother."

  • Posted by: Gino - Nov. 09, 2006 8:39 PM ET USA

    Just a simple question; How many members of the USCCB are card carrying members of the pro abortion Democrat Party? Some brave bishops make a stand for innocent babies but you can count them on both hands. The sad truth is; the real Catholic vote is less than 15 million. Its sad but almost all the non church attending Catholics that I know support abortion and vote Democrat. They say the Church "really" does not care because they would come down on the pro abortion "Catholic" politicos.

  • Posted by: Plainsman160 - Nov. 09, 2006 6:23 PM ET USA

    Can't speak about Virginia, but here in Missouri, the bishops were outspoken and persistent in telling their flocks to vote against the clone-and-kill amendment. It was very refreshing. Nevertheless, I think the polls show 40-45% of Catholics voted for the amendment anyway. That is very chilling.

  • Posted by: Convert1994 - Nov. 09, 2006 4:10 PM ET USA

    The evangelical Protestants "get it." Why can't we?!?!?!??!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2006 3:48 PM ET USA

    Anyone who votes for a pro-infanticide candidate when there is a pro-life choice is guilty of participation in the deadly results of each pro-death act taken by the candidate. No true Catholic would endanger their soul in such an extreme manner. Thus, the true Catholic vote is very small and the pretend catholic vote is large.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2006 12:25 PM ET USA

    I was not surprised by the election results after the homily at Sunday Mass. It totally appealed to the "Common Good" lukewarm, wishy-washy cafeteria Catholic. Without a doubt after hearing that sermon, they would have felt good voting for any candidate. There was no mention of the issue of life being the issue aboveall others. It made me sick!

  • Posted by: - Nov. 09, 2006 10:57 AM ET USA

    Yeah, most of these Catholics actually think it's OK to use contraception, to vote for same-sex "marriage," etc. After all, did Cardinal McCarrick say civil unions were OK? Haven't a number of cardinals said condoms were OK? Catechesis is the only answer.

  • Posted by: Convert1994 - Nov. 09, 2006 10:43 AM ET USA

    We lash out against no one on this sad day, Leo. Here in Ohio I am mystified as can be at the results of Tuesday's election. You are right when you say proper evangelization and instruction are critical. We should not HAVE to look at one another and remind fellow believers to vote for life, for example. It should be obvious from what we are taught!

  • Posted by: Leo XIII727 - Nov. 09, 2006 10:28 AM ET USA

    There are various levels of commitment to the faith among Catholic voters, running from very strong to very weak. The work of Orthodox Catholics is not to lash out at these people. Our real work is to evangelize both within and outside the Church. It is a huge job, and much more important than the political issues of the day. Yes, we are seeing the fruits of 40 years of non-catechesis. Yes, the bishops are a weak-kneed bunch. All the more reason to evangelize.

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