“Christian voters are starting to feel that the angels really are on the side of the Donald,” writes Freddy Gray for the Catholic Herald.
In an article May 15 titled “The ‘Catholic vote’ is an elusive thing. Which way will it go?” Mr. Gray suggests that President Trump’s evident outward flaws combined with his no-nonsense support of religious liberty and the right to life endear him in particular to believing Christians.
While Joe Biden is culturally Catholic, he is “a frightful hypocrite,” Gray writes. “He wears a rosary on his wrist and goes on television with a cross on his forehead on Ash Wednesday. At the same time, he is very pro-abortion and entirely on board with the LGBT agenda.”
Mr. Trump, on the other hand, may occasionally call people “scum” on Twitter, Gray notes, but his ace card with the devout is his “extraordinary success in nominating conservative and pro-life judges.”
For many years now, mere affiliation with the Catholic Church means relatively little in terms of how people will vote, since Catholics do not vote as a monolithic bloc.
In the last series of presidential elections, people’s religious affiliation was less an indicator of their voting outcome than their religious conviction and activity, meaning that denominational differences matter far less than religious practice, such as personal prayer, moral conviction, and attendance at worship services.
This trend seems destined to repeat itself in the 2020 elections.
A poll conducted by EWTN News and RealClear Opinion Research last December to gauge the attitudes of Catholic voters revealed a clear divide between the “most active” Catholics — defined as those who say they accept all or most Church teachings — and those whose faith has less impact on their lives.
Thus, while Trump’s overall job approval rating stood at just 44 percent among all Catholics, it jumped to 52 percent among the “most active” Catholics. Meanwhile, those Catholics who say that faith plays only a minor role in their lives gave the president an approval rating of just 28 percent.
Regarding next November’s election, a combined total of 53 percent of “active Catholics” said that either they are sure to vote for Trump (43 percent) or that there is a “good chance they will do so” (12 percent).
Among less active Catholics the numbers look quite different. Only 32 percent of those Catholics who reject certain key teachings of the faith said they are sure to vote for Trump or that there is a good chance they will do so, while fewer still (23 percent) of those whose faith plays only a minor role in their lives think they will vote for Trump in 2020.
In the 2016 presidential election, Catholics voted for Donald Trump by a greater margin than for any other Republican candidate in the five elections of the new millennium, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Catholics favored the Democrat candidate in three out of the five elections held since 2000, Pew found, and in the only other election where Catholics tilted Republican (2004), Catholics voted for George W. Bush over John Kerry by only 5 percentage points. In 2016, Catholics favored Trump by a margin of 7 percentage points, with 52 percent voting for him as opposed to only 45 percent voting for Hillary Clinton.
As the elections approach, Catholic bishops across the nation will feel obliged — as they have in past elections — to make statements underscoring the importance of abortion as the premier social justice issue of our time. As pastors, they will also have to point out that despite his Catholic affiliation, Joe Biden works actively against the Church his support for legal abortion-on-demand.
In the 2020 election, Catholics will inevitably split their vote between the two candidates, with the more “active” among them tilting toward Mr. Trump.