Richard A Viguerie, ConservativeHQ Chairman | 12/28/16
Catholicism is the second largest religious tradition in the United States at roughly 25% of the country’s population. One of the untold stories of the 2016 election is how Catholic lay leaders used the new and Catholic vote alternative media to fly under the radar screen and, in key battleground states, swing the Catholic vote Donald Trump’s way.
The establishment media pundits all claim to be experts on elections and politics, but Donald Trump’s 2016 “surprise” victory exposed just how little knowledge they really have.
And their post-election coverage has been as bad or maybe even worse, by promoting the racist idea that Donald Trump won solely on the votes of rural white people – especially white Evangelical Christians.
In reality, Trump’s victory was not based on a huge turnout of white Evangelical Christians. Trump booked 81 percent of the self-described Evangelical Christian vote, although he did improve slightly upon Mitt Romney’s 78 percent, and to take nothing away from the efforts of my Evangelical friends, those votes were for the most part concentrated in states where Republicans typically win.
Trump won by what one might call “a victory of increments” in key states that relied upon adding new voters; disaffected traditional Democrats and increments of other demographics, such as African-Americans and Hispanics, and especially Catholics, to build a new Republican-voting coalition.
Bottom line: Of the more than 120 million votes cast in the 2016 election, 107,000 votes in three states, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, effectively decided the election.
How did this happen?
I assure you it was not by chance, and in the first of this three-part series I will explain the strategy, issues and numbers that resulted in Catholic voters making an 11-point swing from Mitt Romney’s results to Donald Trump’s results.
Well before the campaign reached its final phase, a broad coalition of Catholic lay leaders recognized that Hillary Clinton was an existential threat to religious liberty, and to traditional Catholic values and Biblical teachings, such as the right to life and the definition of marriage.
The question was how to get the message out, at a time when the Church hierarchy has mostly abandoned preaching these values, embraced fallen away Catholics, such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Vice President Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton’s running mate Sen. Tim Kaine, who actively and publicly campaigned against the Church’s teachings, and when the Church itself had been corrupted by billions of dollars of government money flowing into Catholic Charities and other Church organizations?
The answer from this unofficial “Catholic Caucus” was a strategy that relied upon the new and alternative media to bypass the establishment media, the Trump campaign and the Church hierarchy to take information about Hillary Clinton and her views on issues of concern to Catholics directly to Catholic voters.
Joseph Cella, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life, Brian Burch of Catholic Vote, Marjorie Dannenfelser, Matt Schlapp and Mercedes Schlapp, Gov. Sam Brownback, Ed Martin, Dr. Deal Hudson, Rick Santorum and many other Catholic lay leaders offered advice and counsel and used their own channels to independently tell the story of just how damaging to religious liberty and traditional Catholic values a Hillary Clinton presidency would be.