America may be classed as the greatest country on Earth, but its politics is elaborate and convoluted
I’ll open with the following 1982 statement by President Ronald Reagan:
‘I am grateful for your help in shaping American policy to reflect God’s will … and I will look forward to further guidance from His Holiness Pope John Paul II during an audience I will have with him in June’.
America, as we all know, is one of the most religious nations in the Western hemisphere. Bible-wielding men and women can be found all over, eagerly awaiting a supposed ‘sinner’ to bring him back to the fold.
Ironic then, that Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father and the third President of the United States expressed his understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause, with the following quote:
‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …’
In other words, the US Congress cannot pass a piece of legislation respecting an establishment of religion; nor can Congress show any sort of bias towards a particular religion. While this may be the case, I cannot help but notice the influence that religion, or at least religious people have on American politics and the general influence they have over American politicians and Congress as a whole. This is down to popular opinion, by those who choose to believe in the Lord, but also the result of wealth. Most notably, Judaeo-Christian values appear to dominate over other religious denomination in the States. The key reason? The Roman Catholic Church.
Historically speaking, the Roman Catholic Church, and the affluent Jewish banking families have had more power and influence in politics, globally, than existing nation-states. How so? By perpetuating the fear of God and through wealth. Well-known Jewish families, such as the Rockefellers and the Rothschilds who are members of the top 3 per cent — or, the families that control an estimated 75 per cent of the world’s wealth — have collectively held influence over politics for over two centuries.
My focus here however, is not on the Jewish banking families, but the sway of the Catholic church over US government policy — or as it is known historically, the golden shower upon the political classes’ head!
Catholics have never voted as a bloc in American politics. In fact, it is a fairly even keel. As things stand currently, there are eleven Republican and fifteen Democrat representatives who identify as being Catholic in the US Senate. However, regardless of the political divide, the Catholic vote has proven to be the most important of all. With the exception of President Eisenhower in 1953, the Catholic vote has been synonymous with the winner of the popular vote in each and every presidential election since Roosevelt.
To edit slightly a quote from the American political commentator, E.J. Dionne, one could say that:
There is no Catholic vote and that is why it is important.
Split almost equally down the middle, the Catholic population of America resides within two communities; the Hispanic, and the white Catholic. The former are staunchly democratic due to the Republican show of hatred towards immigrants, while the latter, in general, comprise of college-educated, white Catholics.
It wasn’t always this way, though. Traditionally, the receiver of the white working-class Catholic vote was the Democratic Party; this vote was solidified when a fully Republican Congress led the country into the Great Depression and recession during the 1920s. However, due to the economic growth of the US, post-Great Depression, the grandchildren of the traditional democratic white Catholics are now equally as likely to vote for the Republican Party. Why? Because, courtesy of their parents and an eventual thriving economy, they attended universities, which allowed for their entrance into the professional and business world; their taxes rose, but so did their income under the leadership of Republican presidents, post-World War II.
However, for the coming presidential election, you could reasonably argue that the Republican, Catholic power has run its course. The Pew Research Centre conducted a survey in January of this year, and found that 54 per cent of Republican-leaning Catholics thought that Trump would be a ‘good/great’ president; quite an agreeable figure, considering the number of people making up that percentage. Unfortunately though, the equally as large Democratic-leaning Catholics had 69 per cent of people in support of Clinton being a ‘good/great’ president.
For the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, it seems that his best hope of winning rests on the continued presence of evangelical support. If the election was held today, 78 per cent of white evangelical voters stated that they would vote for Trump; that is over three quarters of a denomination that an estimated 27 per cent of Americans follow. Roughly speaking, that would be just over 74 million votes — which is almost a quarter of the population of the US.
Perhaps a little bit of Protestant power, of the Evangelical variety, could break Catholicism’s hold over American politics? Who knows … But if history is anything to go by, we can most probably predict that in virtue of the Catholic support given, Hilary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.
God help us …