In order to reclaim the presidency for Republicans, Donald Trump had to pull a demographic away from the massive coalition that swept President Obama to two terms.
Everyone knows about how the current president-elect penetrated the seemingly impregnable “blue wall” of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, but what might be the surprise is the demographic switch that allowed Trump to do it – Catholics!
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According to F.H. Buckley of the New York Post, “Elections are won by the marginal voter, the swing voter, the guy right at 50 percent. And in American politics he’s generally a Catholic. That’s the story this time, too.”
Buckley points out that while white Evangelicals did vote “overwhelmingly for Trump,” that group also went for the Mormon Romney in 2012. “They aren’t the swing voters.”
“Catholics, on the other hand, were plus-2 for Obama in 2012 and plus-7 for Trump this year. Evangelicals helped Trump in states he was mostly going to win anyway. Catholics? Now we’re talking about Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin. And that was the election.”
In fact, Catholics overall went for Trump by 52 to 45 percent, a marked contrast to President Obama’s 50 to 48 percent win among the group in 2012.
Despite the fact that at one point during the election Trump’s campaign seemed to consider Catholics of “secondary importance,” Buckley writes about how Catholic leader Deal Hudson “single-handedly organized a big-name Catholic Advisory Committee, a conference call with state campaign directors, a conference call between Trump and Catholic leaders, a tweet and video from Trump when Mother Teresa was canonized and an interview with Trump on the Catholic EWTN television network.”
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Bishops and even the pope criticized Trump’s immigration positions. With some exceptions, the Catholic intellectuals went “NeverTrump” as well. However, working-class Catholics, the kind that have been hurt by years of disastrous Democratic trade policies that have literally gutted the rust belt, delivered a win for Trump among Catholics.
And in the big picture, that made all the difference.
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