And so, in this exceedingly strange political year, what has become of the Catholic vote?
There was a time not so long ago when the actual or anticipated voting behavior of American Catholics was a matter of intense interest to the secular media. Not today. Up to now journalists have virtually ignored the Catholic vote, concentrating instead on Protestant evangelicals and their relations with Donald Trump.
For some people of course this falls in the category of mixed blessings. The blessing consists in being spared the ill-concealed hostility of some secular journalists arising from the Church’s stand on abortion and other social issues. But the other side of this coin is that journalists’ indifference reflects a perception that the Catholic vote—supposing you can even speak of such a thing these days—no longer matters much.
The reason can be summed up in a stark and undeniable fact. Exit polls back to 2004 show a majority of Catholic voters not only supporting the winner of each presidential election but doing so by nearly the same margin as the electorate as a whole. Thus 52% of Catholics went for Bush in 2004 compared with 51% of all voters; 53% for Obama in 2008 (54% overall) and 50% in 2012 (an identical 50% overall). CONTINUE READING