The Catholic Vote, Again

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Michael Gerson writes, “Today, most Catholics vote almost exactly like their suburban neighbors. Catholics are often swing voters in elections precisely because they are so typical. . . . There is something vaguely disturbing about the precise symmetry of any religious group with other voters of their same class and background. One would hope that an ancient, demanding faith would leave some distinctive mark. A reflection may move and smile, but it lacks substance and will.”

Most voters are not swing voters. Most demographic blocs are not swing groups either. Blacks don’t routinely vote for the winner; neither do evangelicals. And the Catholic vote swings more sharply than the overall vote. What’s distinctive about Catholics’ political behavior is staring Gerson in the face.