Trump won. Cruz lost. Kasich is bowing out tonight.
Donald Trump is now the likely Republican nominee.
So what should Catholic voters do?
The counsel of our Church in this situation provides three choices for November: 1) don’t vote, 2) write-in/vote for a third party candidate, or 3) vote for the candidate likely to do the least harm.
Not voting is not an option. We need to be in the fight.
Catholics of good will disagree about Trump. On the one hand he has pledged to nominate a qualified replacement for the Scalia vacancy. He has pledged to replace Obamacare and restore American jobs. Some even believe his brash style will help break the stranglehold of the “Establishment” on Washington D.C.
We continue to have our doubts. Until recently Trump was publicly pro-abortion and a major financier of the enemies of the Church. His character and moral judgement remain suspect. He denigrates and ridicules his opponents, and has no foundational principles from which he proposes to govern. In our opinion, Donald Trump is a big roll of the dice that could backfire, and potentially have disastrous consequences on the House, the Senate, and on our politics more generally.
Then there is Hillary Clinton. Feeling the pressure from her left-wing base, Hillary will be hostile to nearly everything we believe in — from the sanctity of life to religious liberty. She is certain to tip the Supreme Court decidedly to the left. The American family will have no bigger enemy than a President Hillary Clinton and the wreckage she will impose on us from Washington D.C. Hillary Clinton must be opposed by every conscientious Catholic voter.
Well that was depressing. So what then?
Here is where CatholicVote.org (CV) stands today:
- We will not endorse Donald Trump for President at this time. As much as we oppose Clinton, Trump remains problematic in too many ways to receive our endorsement. With a suspect record, no clear guiding principles, and a history of unpredictability, all we can do for now is take him at his word and hope for the best.
- Does this mean we will work to defeat Trump? Not necessarily. The general election race has barely begun to take shape. Trump has not selected his Vice President, nor been specific on his Supreme Court nominee options yet. There will be more specific discussions about policy priorities and personnel that will provide some perspective in the coming weeks and months. For now, we will continue to work to shape the debates on issues we care about — Trump or not. You can count on CV to be there.
- So what about a third party? We’ve talked extensively about this idea with allies and friends. While the idea intrigues, there is no viable third-party strategy, and more importantly, no viable third partycandidate at this time. If the worst fears of some prove true, a third party may be necessary soon. But as of today, we have no plans to spend any resources on such an effort.
- Where will we focus now? While everyone is focused on the White House, there remain 435 House and 34 Senate elections on the ballot this November — including thousands of other important state and local races. CatholicVote will now shift our strategy and resources to 4-5 critical Senate races along with as many as 10+ House seats. Catholic voters in these states will be pivotal to the outcome of these races.
Here’s why: If you care about repealing Obamacare, protecting religious liberty, defunding Planned Parenthood, and creating real economic reform for families — it all begins in Congress. Meanwhile the confirmation of new justices on the Supreme Court all go through the Senate, which today hangs by a thread.
The House and Senate will either be an insulating firewall against the excesses of a Hillary or Trump presidency… or the House and Senate could be a key part in helping Trump achieve some important victories. If you are a Trump supporter — your worst nightmare is two words: Speaker Pelosi.
That’s why we need everyone to stay in the fight. Your votes truly still matter.
Before this roller coaster election year, our mission was to be a faithful voice for the laity in the Church. Our role is to help organize and mobilize Catholic voters for political change at the ballot box, in the halls of Congress, and in the courts. Our guiding focus is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the teachings of His Church. The Church is true, good and beautiful — and America needs the witness of her believers in public life now more than ever.
That remains our calling today.
It may be helpful to remember that while many things are in disarray, many good things are thriving. The Catholic Church continues to be a source of goodness and truth that shines for the world. The Church never loses long term.
Every challenge is a new adventure. Out of chaos often comes some clarity.
If you love your country, fight for it.