Leaving the Democrats

Those of us who, like most writers and readers of Catholic Exchange, try to live something of an intellectual life, tend to believe that “issues” are very important in presidential elections.  We think that in the last analysis elections should be decided, and are decided, on the basis of issues.  But we are mistaken in this.  To be sure, issues are of some importance, and in some presidential elections they are of very great importance.  But for the average voter in a presidential election (not to mention elections at many other levels of government), there is another factor that is usually more important.  Consciously or unconsciously, the average voter asks himself/herself the question: “How will my kind of people vote?”  And “my kind of people” can be based on any number of factors – ethnicity, race, religion, profession, income level, education level, region of the country, sexual orientation, etc.

Non-Hispanic white voters who think of themselves as traditional Christians, whether Protestant or Catholic, have been drifting away from the Democratic Party for a number of decades now; and this drift is largely explained by the answer such voters have been giving to the demographic question, “How will my kind of people vote?”

The four demographic pillars of today’s Democratic Party are these:

(1) Blacks, 95 percent of whom voted for Obama in 2008.  This is a big group: blacks make up about 13 percent of the US population.

(2) Hispanics, 2/3 of whom voted for Obama.  Hispanics are an even bigger group than blacks.

(3) Jews are a small group, only about 2 percent of the population; but the overwhelming majority of whom continue the old Jewish pattern of voting for Democrats and supporting them in other ways, e.g., with money, propaganda, and hard work.

(4) Out-of-the-closet gays, an even smaller group, but nearly all of them (pace the Log Cabin Republicans) voted for Obama, who repaid them by repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  These gays are also good at giving money, making propaganda, and working hard.

So let’s say you’re a non-Hispanic white Evangelical or Catholic.  You look at the Democrats, and you say to yourself: “I’m not black.  I’m not Hispanic.  I’m not Jewish.  And I’m not gay.  So why should I vote for the Democratic candidate for president?  Why should I vote for Obama when most people in my group will not be doing so – when my group is no longer, as it once was, one of the pillars of the Democratic Party?”

This alienation from the Democratic Party grows as an awareness of its demographic makeup grows.  Many Catholic voters – older persons especially – think that today’s Democratic Party is still essentially the same party it was in their father’s or grandfather’s day.  But these older people gradually die off, and younger people gradually catch on to what’s happening.  And this catching-on process is facilitated when the conspicuous spokespersons and defenders of the Democratic Party are more and more likely to be either black or Hispanic or Jewish or gay.

Let me stress that you don’t have to be racist or xenophobic or anti-Semitic or homophobic to react in the way I’m describing.  Of course if you are prejudiced in any of these ways, you’ll be very quick to eschew the Democratic Party; but most white Catholics and Protestants who are leaving the party are not, I believe, motivated by prejudice.  Think of how, if you’d like a drink, you never go to a gay bar.  Why not?  Is it because you are homophobic?  No, more likely it is simply because that kind of bar is their bar, not yours; you’re not really welcome.  Similarly, you make no effort to join a black social club.  This isn’t because you’re anti-black; it’s because it’s theirsocial club; you’re not really welcome.  And you don’t try to attend Sabbath services at a local synagogue.  This doesn’t mean you are anti-Semitic; it just means you don’t belong there.

Likewise with the Democratic Party.  White Christians more and more come to feel: “It’s no longer my party; it’s their party; people like me are no longer welcome.  I guess I’ll have to go over to the Republicans, where I’ll feel more at home.”

It should be added that this process of leaving the Democratic Party accelerates once a critical mass is reached.  Among white Evangelicals, this critical mass was reached a long time ago.  Among non-Hispanic white Catholics, the moment of critical mass seems to be rapidly approaching.  Not too far down the road it may be as normal for such Catholics to be Republicans as it was once normal for them to be Democrats.

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  • Cesarsmith75

    I am Hispanic and follow God’s Truth, meaning Pro-Life. That is the way I vote, Pro-Life.  If that makes me Republican so be it.  I believe being Pro-Life is greater then being Republican or Democrat.  I think now more then ever being Democrat really means being   secular, following ones own will not that of God’s will.  We all need to humble ourselves.

  • DrResweber

    I’m with CesarSmith75. I don’t need complex sociological


    I only need to know that the Democratic party actively
    opposes too many issues of non-negotiable moral teaching.


    As for the author of this article, I think his book title
    (“Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?”) asks a simple question which has a
    simple answer: NO.

  • John McCarthy

    well put

  • Arrowood

    I wish the majority of people thought the way you guys do (fellow commenters), but the sad truth in our anti-intellectual, hyper-propagandized society is otherwise. That’s why there are so many Obama bumper stickers in our parish parking lots.

    Abortion is the primary reason to avoid the Democrat party, but there are other important reasons as well. The Democrats have embraced philosophical modernism. This is why they are at odds with faith every step of the way. Nobody of faith should be supporting them.

    But this isn’t on anyone’s radar screen. David Carlin has put his finger on what replaces careful thought in a society that rejects reason and embraces emotion alone.

  • J.

     I vote for the most Pro-Life candidates and have since Reagan ran for President. I am uncomfortable with the sentiments expressed in this article because people are being assigned behaviors based on their race. If what you say is true, then how do you account for all the left leaning, Democrat, whites in academia, the white union workers who vote Democrat and the Democrat, white, leftist Hollywood stars?  Are none of them Christians?

  • Robert Gotcher

    The reason to join or leave a party has to do with policy, not demographics.  If the Democratic Party held and actively implemented the most important policies consistent with the Catholic Church’s social teachings, then I would join it, whether it were all Hispanics, African-Americans, and homosexuals or not.  Same for the Republicans.

    Neither party is anywhere near 100% on Catholic social thought (marriage, war, poverty, life, etc.), but I decided a long time ago (made public in 1992 in the editorial pages of the Mpls. Star Tribune) not to be part of or vote for the Democratic Party because of their aggressive pro-abortion agenda.  

  • Jewel6152

    Pro life issue trumps everything, agreed!

  • George H. Morgan

    I have been voting right to life, as the only issue, since the early ’60’s when it first issue first came to light. I had four great grandfathers in the Civil War, two on each side, blasting away at each other in the name of freedom. One spent the duration in Andersonville, the notorious Confedereate prison. There the prisoner in front of him, in line, was shot by a guard who wanted a leave of absence which was given after shooting a prisoner, the bullet went through the prisoner in front of him, and hit him in the arm, losing the use of it. So, none of his descendents have voted Democrat since, with the exception of those of us living in Southorn Louisiana where, in the 1940’s, when any Republican showed up they would be passed out, hand over hand, out of the polls.

    The Civil War was a savage war. In some parts, such as MIssouri, it was akin to what the Viet Naimese endured. More Americans died in the Civil War than all the other wars put together until Viet Nam.  Many of us see the Right to Live Issues the greatest threat to America since the Civil War. The present administration sees it this way also.There are large detention camps, around the country, now empty, available in case of breakdowns in the public order. As Adolph Hitler, a duly elected leader, said “We must have order!” 

    Our Bishops were reluctant to talk about the abortion issue this past election, at least one saying it was “A partisan issue”, so 54% of the “Catholics” voted Democrat. All the good Irish priests in the latter part of the 19th century, who adjured their faithful that they must vote Democrat, if they knew what was good for them, must be spinning in their graves after the reluctance of the Bishops to be more outspoken. Now, the chickens are coming home to roost. Things will get worse, after Mr. Obama is re-elected, and I am confident he will. The genie is out of the bottle.

    Pray for our country. Pray for wisdom for our leaders. Pray for protection from our leaders!

    George H. Morgan,  Patent Agent, http://www.evansville.net/biz/patagent


  • servantofcharity

    Just today the Democrats in the Senate rejected an attempt to adjust the President’s mandate and protect religious and conscience rights.  If it has gotten to the point that the entire party is launching a full frontal attack on the Church, there is no excuse for a Catholic of any ethnicity to support it.  Neither can we sit back and just accept what they’re doing.  Our bishops are calling us to fight back, and we must answer that call.  I also strongly concur with the previous comment.  We are Catholic and pro-life.  That’s more important than loyalty to any party.


  • Very few of them are (still) Christians.   If so,  they are most likely self-interpreting, self-rationalizing Christians.

  • ELane

    I am a church going Catholic, CCD teacher, wife and mother. And I AM STILL A PROUD MEMBER OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. When it comes to voting your conscience, all Catholics must choose the lesser of two evils. Neither mainstream political party follows Catholic teaching down the line. We must look at the issues, examine our conscience and decide which party, and which candidate, comes closest to believing as we do. If Catholics are going over to the Republican party, I would argue that it has more to do with the increasingly fundamentalist slant of the Catholic Church and less to do with the positions of the Democratic party.

  • TheodoreSeeber

    I was on the fence, until today, when a Democratic Senate, short three members who went to the other side, proved to me that the Democratic Party wants to exterminate Catholics.

  • Nah

    Lesser of two evils!  Fundamentalist slant versus the positions of the Democratic party!  Is there anything even close to being a lesser evil to the overtly pro-abortion platform the Democratic party proudly supports.  How any faithful Catholic can consider supporting a political party that embraces and promotes a culture of death is beyond rationalization.  It’s called being lukewarm, and Christ said he despises that.  Your proud to be a Democrat. Why?  Give me one good reason, since the late sixties, to feel that way and dismiss the damage that’s been done to families by the left.  Is it family pride or an identity crisis that blinds you.  Be a humble and devout Catholic first so you can try to avoid any evils, lesser or greater.

  • George H. Morgan

    Question for the CCD teacher, mother, and proud member of the Democrat party:  How many children do  you have?  One or two?

  • Editor

    That, George, is a pretty ungentlemanly and uncalled-for bit of gutter sniping. Please remember: this is not the combox of some AP story, this is Catholic Exchange.

  • ctc

    If self genocide prevails there will be no Christians left to help anyone.
    Humanae Vitae was a direct intervention by the Holy Spirit.
    We have reaped its rejection.

  • Reflection

    I feel that some deeper consideration needs to be done.  I am totally pro-life – however as of today there are only two ways to achieve that result.  The first is by the supreme court over turning Roe.vs.Wade which has not even been considered by the supreme court even with a relatively conservative set of justices.  Also the decision would have to overcome the legal precedence – thus is currently very unlikely.  The second way is by constitutional amendment which requires the amendment be approved by 2/3 of both house and senate and ratified by 3/4 of the states – this is even more unlikely to happen.

    If then, at least currently, voting republican or democrat will not change the current law or situation one must at least look at which party will do more harm outside of the pro-life/abortion issue.  That is, is there more harm to the poor, homeless, sick, elderly or promotion of war, death penalty, etc, done by one party or the other?

    As I have said I am totally pro-life, but that also means all life at any stage and any age.
    The issue is more complex then some of the comments seem to indicate.

  • Gentillylace

    I am partly of Hispanic descent, and I have voted Democratic in the past. However, as a Catholic who strives to be consistently pro-life (against abortion, the death penalty, war and euthanasia), I am disappointed with both Democrats and Republicans. I cannot in good conscience vote for Democratic candidates because of their views on abortion (especially in California, where I live, where pro-life Democratic candidates are nonexistent), but the economic and foreign policies of Republican candidates also make it impossible for me to endorse them. Since 2010 I have voted a blank ballot when it comes to partisan posts. I hope that there will soon be a viable political party in the US that combines a consistent pro-life stance with leftist economic and dovish foreign policies. That is probably the only political party that I could in good conscience vote for.

  • Mary Ward

    I was a democrat-voting Catholic all my life, and the biggest disappointment and tragedy was voting for the first “black” president and discovering that our values are worlds apart. I changed my registration from democrat to independent and will definitely be voting republican in the next election anyway. The more democrats defend abortion, destroy marriage and families, walk over religious freedom in the name of women’s “health issues,” the more I solidify my feelings against them. Having free access to artificial birth control is not a human right; it’s a choice of the individual and no one else is obligated to pay for it. It was 40 years coming, but Obama put the last nail in the coffin. Who would have thought that Martin Luther King’s dream would turn into such a nightmare.

  • Mary Ward

    When I hear the “fundamentalist” accusation thrown out, I wonder which teachings of the Catholic Church they consider fundamentalist. Most likely it has to do with sexual behavior and the consistently taught morality of the Catholic Church for 2000 years. If that is “increasingly fundamentalist” then logically that’s what the church has been until the 1960s, and those who subscribe to those fundamental teachings are simply in line with them. The increasing tendancy is among those who have refused to follow the church on certain moral issues, and then claim that they are following the true church and everyone else is wrong and fanatical. I thought as you do especially after being brain washed by “theologians” in two Catholic universities while obtaining two graduate theology degrees. I then started to look at the consequences of my views and realized how wrong I was.

  • ELane

    I have three children and would happily have loved more if that had been God’s plan for my family.

  • Debbie

    I am a staunch conservative Catholic who has made my political “home” in the Republican party because of the strongly anti-life, anti-faith positions that have constituted Democratic party ideology for decades now. But I must say…this article “Leaving the Democrats” by Carlin makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t think the idea of “demographics” as a motive/reason for leaving the Democratic party should be highlighted at all in this Catholic forum. It is a very divisive–and frankly–prejudicial way of examining the situation, in my opinion. I am not accusing Mr. Carlin of being prejudiced…but I am suggesting that others could construe as much from this article. As Catholics, we, of course, see faith from a universal prism…with people of all nationalities, races and persuasions constituting our faith community. This is not a good article to be posted on Catholic Exchange, and I personally think it would be wise to remove it because it sends the wrong message. That being said, please know how much I value Catholic Exchange. It is my home page and I read its contents daily & value the discussion and insight it represents. Blessings.  

  • Nancy

    Why didn’t the Church speak up the moment we learned that we would have to buy health insurance, report what we purchased to the government, or be fined. This was the first foot off the cliff. We still had one foot on the edge and that foot went when we learned of the contraceptive mandate. We lost when we accepted government interference in the most private area of our lives-our own health and how we provide care for ourselves.

  • Sjbabyak

      I just recently visited my mom, who is 87 and asked who she was going to vote for.  She replied, “I’m Democrat.  Who do you think?”  I said, “Well, mom.  The Democratic Party is NOT the party you remember it to be.  It’s time to ask yourself, “Are you CATHOLIC first, or are you DEMOCRAT first?”  because those 2 are in direct opposition to one another. She said, thankfully, “I guess I’m Catholic, first.”  She looked discouraged and anxious.  Someone has to tell these folks the truth and then reassure them they ARE CATHOLIC FIRST.  When are the bishops going to enforce Canon Law 915, renounce public figures in error and so-called Catholic organizations that post the Catholic label in their scandelous organizations.

  • Rakeys

    I used to be a Democrat.I liked that they were seemed to be the party that stood up for the poor and downtrodden, and supported my middle class family values. But after Roe vs Wade, The party platform advocated abortion, which kills the most defenseless in our society, the baby in the womb. I can’t do that. Social justice issues are still important for me, and I contriburte much of my time and money to charities.    The current Democrateic Party, advocates abortion and birth controll world wide in order to receive aid. Now they tell me that we have to provide abortion inducing drugs in our healthcare or pay exorbitant fines.
       The first thing that president Obama did was to rescind the Mexico City Policy and started pushing abortion world wide., He also took away funding for abstinence education and pushes birth control, condom use, sexual diversity and gay marriage. I really fear for our country if he is reelected.

  • mustardseed

    I totally disagree with they authors analysis.  I vote for the candidate who has morals and isnt afraid to speak of them.  I do NOT vote a party as the parties have gone nuts.  I vote for a person who most likely shows they will be for life, liberty and justice for ALL without compromising morals.  Anyone who votes because of race is foolish and isnt considering the common good of all people.  I believe many people are fooled by election year promises and basically are looking for someone who will promise them benefits.  Most people seem to be voting for “whats in it for me” rather than, “I will sacrifice this as it is morally wrong.”

  • Mydaed

    The commandment is “thou shalt not kill”. This is not conditioned, and applies to all. Abortion, war, bombs, machine guns, drones, and euthanasia,
    Are we to add up the Democrats abortions, and the Republicans bombs then decide how to vote?
    The article is sophomoric, uninformed, and simplistic. FACTS always help an argument.

  • I left the democratic party with pleasure. I am african american and will never go back to democrats. Obama is a bummer. He just told the world he loves gay marriage. I will not vote for him again. Obama has no morals and is not a christian . He and many gays want the church to go under. One gay wrote on a blog that the church should be banned and wiped out so people could do what they want without the churches interference. Obama want government to be god and thow god out. He wants to dictate morals or I might say immorals. He is bad news for the country.