American Catholics could swing the US election in Hillary Clinton’s favour and cost Donald Trump the Presidency.
Or – depending on how you look at it – they could save America, and the world, by preventing the billionaire tycoon from becoming the most powerful man on the planet.
A report in the Washington Post says that of the many different demographics in the US, the Catholics have moved furthest away from the Republican party since the last election.
Catholics make up around a quarter of the voters in the US – 25 percent in 2012 exit polls. Only slightly lower than non-whites (28%) and Independents (29%).
Trump is behind in the polls with many demographics – such as women, blacks, Hispanics and young people. However, these groups are ones that the Republicans don’t expect to win over, and the current figures are similar to the figures that Mitt Romney had in 2012.
It is the Catholics who are currently proving to be the swing voters. Romney lost the Catholic vote by two points – 50-48.
Trump is currently behind a massive 25 points (55-32) to Clinton with the Catholic vote. It is one of the biggest ever shifts in any demographic group from one election to the next.
Trump has recently been criticised by the Pope who slammed his idea to build a wall as being ‘not Christian’.
Pope Francis of the wall: “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”
Many Catholics in the US are Latino and it is no surprise that they are not in favour of Trump. However, Trump is not doing significantly worse with Latino Catholics than Mitt Romney did in 2012 (Trump is currently behind Clinton with Latino Catholics by a 76-13 margin – Romney’s figure was 75-21)
It is white Catholics who have also turned their backs on the Republicans in huge numbers and many are speculating that it is because they are turned off by Trumps anti-immigrant stance.
As the Religion News Services’ John Gehring said: “Part of Catholics’ DNA is an appreciation for how Irish and other immigrants toiled and thrived in the shadow of a suspicious, fiercely anti-Catholic culture dominated by white Anglo-Saxon Protestants. …
“When Trump calls for a religious test for Muslims entering the country; questions the faith of Hillary Clinton, President Obama and Mitt Romney; and demonizes undocumented immigrants as “rapists,” it’s a reminder of the ugly nativism that Catholics once faced.
“While this contemporary strain of old xenophobia is particularly felt by Latinos who increasingly are the face of the Catholic Church in the United States, many white Catholics surely take pride in family stories of grandparents and great-grandparents who were strangers in a new land. Trump has dug himself a deep hole he is unlikely to climb out of with these voters.”
Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcalling