Donald Trump's Pope Criticism Could Cost the Republican Party the Conservative Catholic Vote

The Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump recently criticized Catholic Pope Francis' visit to Mexico. 

According to the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump has a message for Pope Francis ahead of the pope’s trip to pray with migrants along the Mexican border: You don’t get it.

The pope is planning to go to the Rio Grande next week while on a visit to Mexico. He plans to offer prayer and show solidarity with suffering refugees.

Mr. Trump does not approve. In an interview with the Fox Business Network on Thursday, the Republican presidential candidate, who has proposed building a wall along the United States’s southern border, suggested that Francis was serving as a pawn of the Mexican government.

“I think that the pope is a very political person,” Mr. Trump said."

Attacking Pope Francis is extremely unwise considering a poll by the PEW that states:

Pope Francis enjoyed a 90% favorability rating among U.S. Catholics. In addition, Francis now is rated favorably by 70% of all Americans, up from 57% in March 2013. Francis is popular even among those without a religious affiliation. Fully two-thirds of religious “nones” (68%) in the most recent Pew Research poll say they view the current pontiff favorably, up from just 39% in March 2013.

As the National Catholic Reporter Points out:

When politicians look at the Catholic vote they see two groups: the Hispanics, who are solidly Democratic because of the Republican demonization of immigrants, and white Catholics, made up of college-educated Catholics and a declining number of alienated blue-collar workers (the so-called Reagan Democrats).    ....

Without Catholic support, Romney would not have been nominated in 2012.

Catholic Republicans tend to be better educated and more suburban than their more rural evangelical colleagues. As professionals and business people, they saw Romney as someone like themselves culturally and professionally. Catholic Republicans are comfortable with the establishment because they have done well with it. For Catholic Republicans, religion is about family and has little to do with politics.    ....

What about the Democratic primaries?

In 2008, Catholics voted strongly for Hilary Clinton. They gave her 60 percent or more of their vote in California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts in the February 5 primaries. One writer opined that since Catholics were taught by nuns, they were comfortable with a strong woman. Others saw a darker message, that Catholics were prejudiced.

So, were Catholics feminists or racists? More likely, despite the scandals, Catholics still liked Bill Clinton and saw Obama as an unknown.

But in the key Missouri primary, Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote. As time went on, Clinton still did well with Catholics but she only broke 60 percent in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Rhode Island. She lost Catholics in Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia, where black Catholics may have influenced the vote. Clinton needed the strong support of White Catholics if she was going to overcome Obama’s advantage with Black Democrats. Simply splitting the Catholic vote would not do it.

Will Catholic Democrats support Clinton this time? It looks like it.

According to the Pew Forum, 69 percent of Catholic Democrats say that Clinton would be a great/good president. Only 46 percent say the same thing about Bernie Sanders.


So why is Donald Trump eager to take Pope Francis head on?

It could be due to his culture of support that anti-immigrant nativist groups associated with the Tanton Network are giving him. Tanton's criticism of religious groups wasn't limited to Jews, over the years, he — like some principals of FAIR — lashed out at a variety of religious denominations, especially Catholics, for their welcoming attitude toward immigrants coming to America from the Third World. 

While Trump opines about how political the Pope is, one can certainly make the same argument of Jesus Christ the Son of God.




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An Independent American Voter Group merging Tip O'Neill Democrats and Ronald Reagan Republicans.