Thursday, March 10, 2016

Conservative Catholic Elites Oppose Trump… as He Rides Catholic Vote to Victory in Michigan

Much ink has already been spilled trying to parse Donald Trump’s appeal to evangelicals. Are they “Trumpvangelicals” more concerned with “immigration, Islamophobia, and guns” than abortion and gay marriage? Or just bad evangelicals? Or are they Appalachian rednecks, the descendants of the Scots-Irish who colonized the southern highlands with a distinct cultural folkway that combined a fierce distrust of central authority with the worship of charismatic leaders, seething xenophobia, a penchant for retributive justice, and, in the words of David Hackett Fischer, an “intense hostility to organized churches and established clergy … and an abiding interest in religion.”

My vote is with the latter. Trump’s appeal to evangelicals is more folkway than religious. But as the last couple of election cycles have demonstrated, the evangelical vote doesn’t deliver the general election. If it did, we would have Mitt Romney in the White House. But the Catholic vote does. And now the conservative Catholic cabal that teamed up with evangelical power brokers to deliver us George W. Bush, and tried to shove Romney down the nation’s throat, is in a full-fledged panic that white, Catholic, working-class voters might throw their support behind Donald Trump and upset their neocon apple cart.

In “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” published in the National Review, “natural rights” proponent Robert P. George and Pope John Paul II biographer George Weigel lament that the Republican Party, which has been a flawed but “serviceable” vehicle for “promoting causes at the center of Catholic social concern in the United States,” is about to be hijacked by one Donald J. Trump.

Read more at Religion Dispatches >>

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