The voting trends and political affiliation of American voter demographics have always left me somewhat perplexed. Catholics and Protestants, minorities, women and men, middle-class and business owners have a tendency to affiliate themselves with a political party/ candidate that’s in line with their social and economic views. Among the most baffling of these coteries are Catholics. The "elusive Catholic vote" - as once described in a newspaper article - doesn't solely commit to candidates that reflect Catholic social teaching on many of the political-hot-potato issues that dominate much of the debates during an election year runoff. Some Catholic voters - not to mention aspiring Catholic White House handshakers such as John Kerry and other political enthusiasts - haven’t the slightest objectionable twitch against running a campaign that contradicts virtually every social teaching of the tradition they were raised in. Same can be said of the Kennedy’s of Massachusetts and other politicking Catholics not mentioned here.
As Catholics, we are diverse. We are not Bible thumping, uneducated, fire and brimstone fundamentalists who vote according to their truncated, literalist convictions. Having said that, why do we go against the teachings of the Church when it comes to the imperative issues of life? Are the standards so unreasonable? I think not. But if you are a candidate and want the office seat and know which way the political tides are turning, it seems to be standard practice to prostitute your conscience and further the issues of the masses without a second thought to your own Catholic morals. Furthermore, if you are a Catholic disenchanted with the status quo, there is a willingness to vote for a candidate that offers a hint of change but promises to execute social policies contrary to Catholic social teaching.
This year's bid for the White House will be between John McCain and Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama. With the pestilential war in Iraq the standards have been lowered to such an extent that individuals who normally don't stand a chance at the White House (because of ridiculous and obvious esurient political enrichment), find favorable conditions for such a venture.
With his pro-life views John McCain is the most conservative presidential candidate than any of the other wannabes running for the White House. His critics assert that he wants to further the Bush economic plan (status quo), and supports a considerably prolonged American presence in Iraq. Hilary Clinton - in my humble opinion - wants the White House soooo bad that she was and is willing to stay married to a man like Bill Clinton in order to avoid the scandalous brouhaha of a divorce. Barack Obama exhibits ties to questionable groups, and, like Hilary, supports a liberalized abortion program. Both claim a desire to remove American troops from Iraq, but their methodologies, so say their critics, would weaken United States credibility, as well as initiate the complete collapse of the Iraqi government which would ultimately lead to civil war.
Which way will the Catholic vote go in 2008? How will you vote this upcoming presidential election? Is it better to not vote at all than to vote in favor of the “lesser evil?”