The Corner

The Catholic Swing Vote

Joseph Bottum revisits his theory that there is no such thing as a “Catholic vote”:

It’s peculiar, the political invisibility of Catholic voters. More than 68 million of them live in the United States, well over 20 percent of the population, and their vote is becoming indistinguishable from the nation’s. “The Catholic vote has gone to the popular winner in every presidential election since 1972,” noted the Wall Street Journal. So has the general vote. Catholics behave at the polls just like everyone else.

I have the same objection I registered the last time he wrote about this topic.

Most demographic groups do not routinely vote for the winner. Blacks don’t. Evangelicals don’t. Union members don’t. The fact that Catholics do vote for the winner suggests that, more than most groups, they determine who the winner is.

Bottum has in one respect modified his claim. Last time around I pointed out that the Catholic vote typically swings more than the national average does. His take on this fact is that “[t]hese differences are small, and they suggest, if anything, that Catholics don’t swing elections; they get swung by those elections—moving a fraction more than other groups toward the national choice.” If they lead, rather than follow, changes in public opinion; if campaigns swing them more than they do other voters: They’re a swing group.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

World

Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Politics & Policy

E Pluribus . . . Gridlock

A mantra we hear everywhere these days is that diversity is a good thing. And no doubt, it is. Diversity facilitates an exchange of ideas and opinions, and it promotes economic growth. Moreover, the alternative to diversity is to suppress the views and opinions of some subset of citizens, which is completely ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More