Skip to comments.“Up for grabs”: a Democratic strategist on how to win the Catholic vote
Posted on 05/21/2012 3:38:33 PM PDT by NYer
Here’s another take on this election from Jim Arkedis of the Progressive Policy Institute. It offers a window into how Democrats are thinking about Catholics:
Catholics are up for grabs this year. A Gallup poll from April has President Obama and Mitt Romney tied among Catholics, 46 percent each. At nearly 20 percent of the population, Catholics have roughly mirrored the popular votein the last eight elections. They voted for Ronald Reagan and George Bush, but switched to Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. In 2000, Catholics, like the country, went under 50 percent for George W. Bush; but against John Kerry,Bush took 52 percent; by 2008, theyd flipped to Barack Obama, 54-45.
Its unclear whether the Obama campaign will specifically organize Catholic supporters or try to persuade moderate ones. This Monday, the campaign hired Michael Wear as its faith vote director. Thats an excellent first step, and Wears experience organizing faith-based outreach for Obama in 2008 and in the White House indicates that the Obama campaign is taking people who make their faith a priority seriously. Wear might have too much on his plate, however the campaign Web site groups Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Southern Baptists and Muslims under a one-size-fits-all Voters of Faith outreach program. Its a mistake to treat the Catholic vote just like the rest.
Perhaps no presidential candidate since John F. Kennedy has been able to unite this disparate flock. But President Obamas task isnt that tough. The key to winning the Catholic vote is to understand its composition litmus-test abortion voters, moderates, women and Hispanics and to aim to carry persuadable Catholics by healthy margins in crucial swing states. Failure to deliver them could cost the president re-election.
Recent events suggest that these vast groups of Catholic voters (again: women, moderates, Latinos) are now more open to a progressive faith-based message than they have been perhaps since Kennedy-Nixon. The Obama campaign should tread lightly, however, and resist any poll-driven urge to drive a wedge between the faithful and official church positions on womens issues or same-sex marriage. Divisive messaging probably wont fly among most Catholics, who may grumble about their religious leaders positions, but dont seek overt separation from them. I cant say that theres any scientific evidence to support this theory, but it comes from my observations over a lifetime in the Catholic community.
The Obama campaigns message should unequivocally stand with the church and Jesus Christs humble message of social justice, equality and inclusion. These are distinctly Catholic themes that draw sharp contrasts for Catholics who have tired of a Republican Party with less room for those who are not straight, male, white and self-sufficient…
…What would a Catholic voter outreach program look like? The Roman Catholic Church doesnt exactly let political operatives walk in the front door and set up shop, but there are several progressive Catholic organizations Catholics United, Catholics in Alliance, Catholic Democrats that the campaign could engage first to build a volunteer corps. Within each district office, the campaign could identify Catholic precinct captains to recruit Catholic door-knockers to reach out to their friends from church. Then theres advertising. It would be more difficult to construct this architecture from scratch, but however its done, its a must: a positive social justice message could be what tips the balance toward re-election for the president.
As a moderate Democrat and a Catholic, I disagree with my party when I say that I believe life begins at conception or that abortions should be performed only in cases of rape, incest or when a pregnancy threatens a mothers life. In another era, those beliefs might have made me a Republican target. But Im a Democrat, in part, because of the partys deep belief in social justice: Were the ones who make equality and inclusion central to our very being; we stick up for the little guy; we dont believe everyone should fend for themselves all the time. Thats what Jesus said, and thats the society President Obama wants to build.
Read it all.
I am not Catholic, but I stand with these people.
The election is still a long way off, so who knows what we might find on the ground in November. However, at this moment, with many devout Catholics, Obama is persona non grata.
As I've posted elsewhere on FR, I was at a large meeting of Knights of Columbus earlier this month. It is a meeting that I've attended every May for over a decade, including during several election years. It is something of a taboo to talk serious politics at these meetings, and I'd never heard much political talk in years past. Maybe a quiet conversation here or there, but it is a written rule of the Order to leave politics out of our work and deliberations.
This year, I heard many, many folks loudly denouncing the Kenyan anti-Christ. In fact, we listened to a message from our Supreme Knight Carl Anderson, and our Supreme Chaplain Archbishop Lori all but denouncing Obama by name, stating that his regime is a direct threat to religious liberty and our freedom as Catholics.
There is a new movie coming out next month, For Greater Glory, about the Cristiada War in Mexico where the atheist-inspired government tried to eliminate the religious liberties of Catholics and then to wipe out the Catholic Church, and murdered upwards of 30,000 Catholics, including many priests. This movie was heavily promoted at our meeting, and it was clear just what was the context.
I was chatting with one of my friends, and said something interpreted as hostile to the anti-Christ. An African-American gentleman sitting in front of me overheard our conversation, turned around, and vehemently agreed with me.
I think that Church-going Catholics may break sharply for Romney this year.
We should all pray for that final result.
As a Catholic of some 70 years , I hope we’re not that easily lead. IF OUR CATHOLIC VOTERS CAN CONSIDER VOTING FOR the Abortionist in Chief then they are not really Catholic.
Any one who supports Killing the most defenseless in our Society will chose others to kill for other reasons.
That's the heart of the matter. There is no limit - none at all - to which these killers without conscience will not go. Slaughter and atrocity for the sake of it.
Obama has been attacking Catholics and Catholic institutions including diocoeses with the HHS mandate. I doubt that he will get much of a Catholic vote this time around.
They always cite these numbers as if they are based on solid evidence (but I don’t remember it being as high as 54% before—I thought 53 or 52%). How did they determine how many Catholics voted for Obama and how many for McCain? How many of those Catholics had been inside a church in the past month? or the past year? I think they include as Catholic everyone who was baptized as one and has not joined another religion.
and resist any poll-driven urge to drive a wedge between the faithful and official church positions on womens issues or same-sex marriage.
.........wouldn’t want this guys job after the events of the last couple of weeks.
When you look at Catholics being only 12 % of the voting public — those numbers got skewed — probably with people who said they were Catholic but did not attend church regularly.
Many more people of other denominations voted for Obama than did Catholics.
That a strategist is needed at all outta tell the Catholics they are dealing with liars.
My wife and I have seen that in her parish also. Four years ago, there were all kinds of Obama stickers on the cars in the parking lot, and people handing out flyers after church.
After the abortion mandate, all those stickers went away.
The most dishonest thing in that whole representation of the Church is the eagerness to count those who have wandered away from the Church to become nothing as still Catholic, but those who have wandered away to become Protestants and Protestants. Its as if some believe that God needs lies to bolster Him and that the Truth, which is God Himself can be discarded to advance ones own beliefs.
CCC 2469 - "Men could not live with one another if there were not mutual confidence that they were being truthful to one another." The virtue of truth gives another his just due. Truthfulness keeps to the just mean between what ought to be expressed and what ought to be kept secret: it entails honesty and discretion. In justice, "as a matter of honor, one man owes it to another to manifest the truth."
The two things that struck me were 1) how vociferous folks were about getting rid of the garbage in the White House and 2) the fact that folks would say anything at all.
It is a formal policy of the Order not to discuss politics, especially at official events. And most everyone at this event was a senior member of some standing.
“litmus-test abortion voters, moderates, women and Hispanics and to aim to carry persuadable Catholics by healthy margins in crucial swing states.”
In ‘08 pres. Obama actually lost the Catholic vote in Ohio and Pa with McCain getting 52% according to the wonders of exit polling. Florida voted 50%, slightly shading towards pres. Obama. There’s a lot of dumb so called Catholics out there as Obama won nationally among those that call themselves Catholics, but I have to think that he hasn’t helped his cause in the last four years.
The Catholic vote consists of people who call themselves members of the Catholic church, and that the Pope counts as Catholics.
The New York Times gave the figure of 27% for the Catholic voter percentage in 2008, do you still believe that a Catholic who is baptized is a Catholic forever?
Someone may tell an exit poller that he's Catholic even if he last went to church 20 years ago--and someone like that may be more likely to vote Democrat.
Yes, a baptized person who considers himself a Catholic, a recognized Catholic, a person doesn’t have to be baptized to call himself a Protestant when the pollster asks him, the ‘guy’ might even be an Obama voting, lesbian, Episcopal priestess, and she is counted as a Protestant if she says she isn’t Catholic, yet a Christian.
A Catholic is a member of a single church, someone baptized in that church, someone who knows they are a Catholic.
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