As I write these lines, Joe Biden is proclaimed the winner of the U.S. elections, a victory that makes him the 46th President of the United States and the second Catholic to hold the position, after John F. Kennedy.
A perfect storm
The elections, defined by analysts as "a perfect storm," unfolded in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a very high turnout and a sharply divided electorate between support for the Democratic and Republican parties.
The two candidates, aware that victory was not assured and that "every vote counts," turned their attention to a constituency that is gaining weight in American society and employed their best strategies for attract the Catholic vote.
As stated The New York Times in an article published on September 26, "Joseph Biden's supporters emphasize his catholic faith and values while President Trump, with his Supreme Court nomination, operates in the realm of the culture war that he prefers to".
The opposition of Trump, a Presbyterian, to assisted reproduction laws and abortion has won him the support of part of this electorate. Joe Biden, for his part, has no qualms about declaring himself a practicing Catholic and pointing out how his faith has helped him through the most difficult moments of his life. His position on abortion is, however, ambiguous.
A growing minority
There are about 70 million Catholics in the United States.. They are a growing minority, thanks in part to the presence of LatinosThe majority of "white" Catholics, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, have leaned Republican and Hispanic Catholics have leaned Democratic. In recent years, the majority of "white" Catholics, especially in the Northeast and Midwest, have leaned Republican and Hispanic Catholics have leaned Democratic. However, "Catholic faith-motivated voters are considered pendulum swingers because the Church's teachings on a wide range of social and economic issues do not clearly coincide with either the Republican or Democratic parties alone.", the NYT maintains.
The US bishops' conference acknowledged Joe Biden's victory in a communiqué issued on November 9. Signed by its president, the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Jose Gomez, it recalled that "Catholics have a special duty to be peacemakersto promote fraternity and mutual trust and to pray for a renewed spirit of true patriotism.". We will have to wait for the polls to find out which way the balance of this undecided minority has tipped on this occasion. In any case, it is interesting to note that the catholic vote counts.