The Catholic vote has been moving steadily out of the Democrat camp and into the Republican camp for a couple of generations.
In the old days, the Republicans represented the WASP establishment, and the establishment was anti-Catholic. Catholics were mostly ethnics—Italians, Irish, Poles—and were looked down on and discriminated against. Catholics were mostly working class and a major part of the labor unions.
All that started to change with Roe v. Wade. If the bishops had been on the ball, the decision might even have been reversed. But lay Catholics started the pro-life movement, and have moved into the conservative camp more and more every year. Catholics were ahead of Evangelicals in the right to life movement, although no question that Evangelicals are now on board, too, and agreement on this point has done much to improve relations.
At least such was the case through 2004, when Bush and the Republican Party started to stumble. There is some risk that Catholics may shift over more slowly and Evangelicals may lose interest in the political process again. Let’s hope we can get the momentum going.
This is why it was a gigantic mistake to impose someone like McCain on the party—because there’s a terrible risk of losing heart and losing momentum.
Perhaps the Catholic childhood in me is part of what makes it so I cannot vote for McCain. Though, it is more likely his actions since 1998 that did the trick.