Roger Williams University PoliSci Professor and OSPRI Fellow Ernest Greco has a piece in the ProJo advocating for a European style Christian Democrat party. While I don’t think U.S. political ground is as fertile as Greco does for a new political party, he offers a concise summary of the big picture.
Unfortunately, too many of America’s Catholic ethnics…still seem to be firmly anchored to the Democratic Party. Especially in the blue states of the Northeast and the Great Lakes, an informal coalition and division of labor appears to have developed within that party.
“Progressives,” as our social democrats and liberal democrats collectively label themselves, control the party ideology, platforms and nominations, especially at the national level. We Christian democrats turn out the votes in places like Johnston, Pawtucket and Kalamazoo. They control the Supreme Court and we get the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Department of Public Works. They rely on the support of those notorious “cafeteria Catholics,” who seem to think that the sanctity of life, the integrity of marriage, and the authority of the family are not nearly as important as a higher minimum wage or “taxing the rich.” We equally numerous “cafeteria Democrats” have (mostly) stayed with our grandfathers’ party because of tradition, an unhealthy attraction to patronage, and a mysterious belief that any candidate on the ballot with a “D” after his name may be the second coming of FDR or JFK.
Greco’s analysis seems to describe the national picture well, but it doesn’t quite fit Rhode Island. Rhode Island’s Catholic Democrats hold the reins of political power from the State House to the DMV and DPW. Their answer to the question that CCRI’s David Carlin asked, “Can a Catholic Be a Democrat?“, is emphatically YES. I don’t see that changing any time soon.