In battleground states, Catholics are a pivotal swing vote

In battleground states, Catholics are a pivotal swing vote

In battleground states, Catholics are a pivotal swing vote

For decades, Roman Catholic voters have been a pivotal swing vote in U.S. presidential elections, with a majority backing the winner — whether Republican or Democrat — nearly every time.

How they vote in the battleground states this year could well decide the outcome, and the rival campaigns are targeting them with fervent appeals to vote based on their faith.

Advocates for President Donald Trump say a faithful Catholic cannot vote for Democratic nominee Joe Biden because of his support for abortion rights. Critics of Trump say he is too divisive and callous to merit the vote of any faithful Catholic. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings into clearer focus the chasm between the two sides.

The campaigns are competing to win over people like Jeannie French of Pittsburgh, in battleground Pennsylvania, who has struggling with her decision. She’s a member of Democrats for Life, loath to vote for Biden because of his stance on abortion, but dismayed by Republicans’ positions on climate change, immigration and economic issues.

Just a week ago, French, a real estate consultant who volunteers at church, hadn’t made up her mind and was considering voting for a third-party candidate. Now, with the Supreme Court vacancy, she’s leaning toward Trump, who pledges to nominate a conservative woman.

“A vote for Trump will mean that I need to work even harder for fair wages, environmental issues, penal reform, immigrant care and other social concerns, but it also means that we get the opportunity to get things right on abortion as a nation,” French said via email. “For this Catholic, it might just be the right call.”

Biden, a practicing Catholic who carries a Rosary, would be just the second Catholic president after John F. Kennedy. Trump, who identifies as Presbyterian, is an infrequent churchgoer.

In several battleground states including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, over 20% of adults are Catholic. Trump won all three in 2016, but recent polls show Biden with modest leads in each.

“The swinging portion of the Catholic vote swings more than other voting segments — that’s the target-rich segment,” said Brian Burch, president of the conservative advocacy group CatholicVote.org.

Burch believes Trump appeals to these voters, based on his anti-abortion policies and support for “school choice” that might benefit families preferring Catholic schools. On Tuesday, CatholicVote.org announced a $9.7 million campaign targeting battleground Catholics.

Several other groups are wooing these voters, including Catholics for Trump, whose advisory board includes former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and Catholics for Biden, launched Sept. 3.

Among those addressing the online launch was Sister Simone Campbell, who heads the Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice. This year the network will again mount a nationwide Nuns on the Bus campaign with virtual events targeting battleground states.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - A firefighter wears a mask as he drives his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward, File
Flames rip through Edmonton-area seniors complex, but no fatalities

ST. ALBERT, Alta. — Fire has destroyed part of a retirement complex… Continue reading

FILE - This file photo provided by Leonid Volkov and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, right, are seen in Germany in a Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, handout photo published to social media. The chief of staff to the imprisoned Russian president critic Alexei Navalny is calling on Ottawa to impose new sanctions on who he descripted as “Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, Leonid Volkov
Canada must sanction Vladimir Putin’s oligarchs: Alexei Navalny’s chief of staff

Navalny was arrested on Jan. 17 upon returning from Germany

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Max Parrot of Canada competes in the men’s snowboard big air final at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018. Parrot has won the Comeback of the Year honour at the Laureus World Sports Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot wins Laureus World Sports Award for comeback

Parrot beat out former Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith

This Nov. 22, 2015 file photo shows Justin Bieber at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Bieber’s world tour is facing another setback as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. The Stratford, Ont.-raised pop singer is pushing dozens of tour dates including stops in three Canadian cities.	THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File
Justin Bieber postpones Canadian summer tour dates until 2022

52-date world tour will now kick off Feb. 18, 2022

LtE bug
Letter: Security company can help with shelter

Why don’t we leave Safe Harbour temporary shelter where it is and… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Good job on K-6 curriculum

Many are questioning the quality of the draft K-6 curriculum. It amazes… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
COVID becomes all too real when someone you love is ‘positive’

The third wave of the pandemic is hitting us hard. It is… Continue reading

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Wizards beat Raptors in OT, Toronto playoff bid nearly over

Most Read