The Party of Death
Catholics long were a bulwark of the Democratic Party. This allegiance crystalized in the 1884 election in which James Blaine and the Republicans smeared opponent Grover Cleveland’s Democrats as the party of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion,” referring to alcohol legality, Catholic churches, and former Confederate support. The phrase badly backfired on Blaine, making Cleveland president and creating a solid Catholic voting bloc for Democrats for a century.
Today, Catholic Americans are a pivotal swing voter group, with incredible success in deciding national winners. This bloc was especially determinative in 2016 when working-class Catholics in the Midwest, many of whom had voted twice for President Obama, flocked across the aisle and delivered Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin for Donald Trump. In fact, Trump won the Catholic vote by a 52 percent-45 percent spread, almost the same Catholic margin that had returned Obama to office in 2012.
Looking to 2020, Democrats’ task of reclaiming Catholic voters has become daunting due to recent pro-abortion extremism and the blatant anti-Catholicism of prominent Democratic politicians.
Last week New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, himself a Catholic, ordered the spire above the One World Trade Center illuminated in pink to commemorate passage of the most permissive abortion law in America, which allows the procedure to be performed all the way up to birth. In response, Albany Bishop Edward Scharfenberger wrote to Cuomo that “your advocacy of extreme abortion legislation is completely contrary to the teachings of our pope and our Church.” Politically speaking, Cuomo’s position is also contrary to overwhelming public opinion, as only 13 percent of Americans, per Gallup, support legal third-trimester abortion, including only 18 percent of Democratic voters.
But compared to the Democrats in Virginia, Cuomo actually seemed restrained. House Democrats there submitted an abortion bill that sponsor Kathy Tran admitted would permit pregnancy termination even once delivery of the baby begins. Gov. Ralph Northam -- who is a physician -- responded to the uproar by going even further, stating that “if a mother is in labor…the infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and family desired.” Apparently, the extremist governor of Virginia thinks that making a fully delivered newborn baby “comfortable” while his or her right to live is determined represents … compassion?
The Democratic Party has traversed from acceptance of early-stage abortion as something that is “safe, legal, and rare” to a wholesale celebration of abortion throughout pregnancy, and even beyond. In addition, Democratic protestations about protecting the health of mothers fall flat because their inclusion of a mother’s mental and emotional well-being allows for nearly anyone to abort at any point during pregnancy. This absolutist position amounts to an infanticide stance that makes even Roe v Wade supporters understandably queasy.
In addition to this abortion militancy, Democratic politicians have also made clear that faithful church members are not qualified for government appointments, including judgeships. For example, presidential candidate Kamala Harris harangued federal judicial nominee Brian Buescher about his faith and membership in the large Catholic charitable fraternity the Knights of Columbus. She dismissed this church “society comprised of primarily Catholic men … [that] opposes a woman’s right to choose.” The California senator also incredulously asked if Buescher was aware of this stance upon joining the service organization. As I previously wrote, the actual scandal would be if the Knights did not accept long-standing Catholic teaching on a matter as fundamental as the sanctity of life.
Harris also disparaged the group’s adherence to the eternal Catholic belief in marriage as a covenant between one man and one woman, asking the nominee, “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed marriage equality when you joined the organization?” For the virulently secular Democratic Party of 2019, the new McCarthyism asks, “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Knights of Columbus?”
President Trump, at last invited to deliver the State of the Union by Catholic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, should use that august occasion to encourage adoption in the case of unwanted pregnancy and assail the anti-life and anti-Catholic extremism of the new Democratic Party. Most pro-choice voters recoil at the idea of full-term babies dying by lethal injection in the womb. In calling out Democrats, Trump can promote a culture of life and reap the electoral benefits of opposing the growing radicalism of the Party of Death.