Catholics are now the new Protestants in American presidential politics -- Paul Ryan and Joe Biden symbolize a new era for Catholic politicians
Posted on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 at 08:16 AM
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Paul Ryan & Joe Biden (Credit: Policymic)
Get used to it.
There are instead, two Catholics on the tickets, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan -- get used to that too.
Despite the fact that Biden is only the second Catholic to be part of an elected presidential team -- John F Kennedy was the other -- the future looks bright for Catholic presidents.
Consider in 2016 if Romney fails but Ryan acquits himself well, he will be the obvious frontrunner.
On the other side there will be several Catholics vying, Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland are among the frontrunners, perhaps even Biden himself.
It looks like Catholic is the new Protestant.
Look at the US Supreme Court for a clear indication of how Catholics are replacing the once ever-present Protestants in the top echelons.
Once a Catholic on the Supreme Court was an anomaly, now there are six. Count’em - Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts, Thomas, Sotomayor, Alito.
Certainly the era of anti-Catholicism seems truly dead and buried but it was very real.
In 1960 Dr Norman Vincent Peale, the Billy Graham of his day, when explained the consequences for America if John F.Kennedy was elected, stated:
"Our American culture is at stake," said Peale.
"I don't say it won't survive, but it won't be what it was."
Political strategy is at the heart of the resurgence too. Most presidential elections are settled in the swing states, with Ohio and Pennsylvania chief among them.
Working class Catholics provide the margin of victory in those states and they have gone back and forth between the two parties since Ronald Reagan claimed them as his Reagan Democrats.
Obama handily wins the Catholic vote when it includes Hispanics, but without Hispanics they are the great swing vote.
Protestants on the other hand are all over the shop from Tea Party born-agains to liberal North Easterners.
If you want to win a focused, vital slice of the American electorate, then a Catholic on your ticket is good news as Biden proved in 2008.
Romney is hoping to repeat that magic this time around. It will be interesting to see if he succeeds.
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