Interest in this year’s midterm elections is growing, with record turnout forecast in the voting period ending November 8. Although a high turnout may be a sign of engaged citizenship, polls this year found that American voters are deeply worried about the country’s future as a democracy, worried about how their families can cope with the rising cost of living, and fear gun violence and crime.
America Media covered these and other issues this fall, both in America magazine and in three unreleased episodes of our podcast “Vote Catholic.” The editors have put together this guide to some of the most important issues voters will face this fall, with a focus on how Catholics can make choices that respect life and consider the common good.
The big picture
As a large electoral bloc that tends to occupy the center of American politics, Catholics have an outsized role in determining the outcome of this year’s election, and there are many unpredictable factors this year. Will Hispanic voters continue their shift to the Republican Party? Will many Catholics split their tickets between Democratic and Republican candidates? America editor Robert David Sullivan asks: “Will Catholics join Evangelicals in the culture war? 7 questions to understand mid-terms 2022.”
Polls this year have found that American voters are deeply worried about the country’s future as a democracy, worried about how their families can cope with the rising cost of living, and fear gun violence and criminality.
Abortion and pro-life issues
For decades, abortion was seen by many Catholics as a major political issue in national politics – as the U.S. bishops said, it was the “paramount question.” Now that Roe v. Wade has been overruled and the abortion issue has been returned to the states, how should Catholic voters react? In a new episode of the “Voting Catholic” podcast, America Contributor Jacqui Oesterblad talks to host Sebastian Gomes about the difficulty of writing laws that protect the right to life of mother and child, and ethicist Richard Doerflinger talks about the new political realities around the abortion: “We want laws that protect the life of the unborn child. to the maximum degree possible. But these two words are important, “maximum” and “possible”. Listen to the podcast episode or read more about it. here.
Few church leaders know the impact of gun violence better than Archbishop Garcia-Siller. In a new episode of the “Voting Catholic” podcast, he recounts the day he was called from a meeting of priests in San Antonio to minister to the families of victims of the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Aus. Texas. of gun violence from a Catholic perspective, the archbishop says guns are considered “sacred” in Texas, but asks, “We’re in the 21st century; do we have to defend each other with firearms? Why don’t we show each other, little touches here and there, that we can live as human beings and respect human dignity? Listen to the podcast episode or read more about it here.
“We are in the 21st century; do we have to defend each other with firearms? Why don’t we show each other, little touches here and there, that we can live as human beings and respect human dignity?
inflation and the economy
This summer, the annual inflation rate in the United States reached 9.1%, a 40 years tall. How did it get so bad and what can be done about it? In a new episode of the “Voting Catholic” podcast, host Sebastian Gomes chats with economist Tony Annett about whether the Biden administration’s stimulus package has pumped too much money into the economy and is there is a way to control inflation without putting people out of work. . “We must first and foremost judge all policies by how they affect the fewest of us,” he says. Listen to the podcast episode or read more about it here.
A majority of Americans – 52% – said in an August poll that the United States was experiencing an “invasion” at the southern border, and misperceptions about immigrants and crime have also made border security a major political issue this year. America Editor JD Long-García recently examined the myths and realities of migration on the US-Mexico border and the chances that immigration reform will eventually pass Congress. As Dylan Corbett, executive director of the Hope Border Institute, says of the immigration challenge: “It’s not something we don’t have the capacity to respond to. It is a moral call for solidarity. And as a country, we will be better off if we accept people with compassion and dignity. Lily “The majority of Americans believe that migrants are “invading” the United States Meanwhile, the suffering at the border continues.”
Also read, editors of America: “Politicians transport migrants by bus. Catholics must welcome them.”
“We must first and foremost judge all policies by how they affect the fewest of us.”
Climate Change and Global Affairs
Most reporting on the 2022 election has focused on issues directly affecting Americans, from inflation to voting rights, but US policy decisions greatly affect the entire world. America chief correspondent Kevin Clarke recently interviewed Sean Callahan, president of Catholic Relief Services, about the “perfect storm” of crises now unfolding across the world, including drought and climate change, Covid lockdowns , supply chain disruptions, global inflation and the war in Ukraine. Will the United States help solve these problems, or will we turn inward and focus only on what we can see within our borders? Lily “The CEO of Catholic Relief Services on the alarming signs of our time: hunger, drought and war.”
The state of politics and democracy
In a recent poll, only 9% of respondents said democracy in the United States is doing “very” or “extremely” well – an ironic assessment given that voter turnout has increased in recent elections, and another poll found that 71% of voters agreed that American democracy is now “under threat”. But is democracy in America already broken? Civilian politics demands civil discourse, but distrust of the mainstream media — and, in many cases, distrust of each other — can push us to extremes. America editor Robert David Sullivan asks: “Will the midterm elections trigger the next civil war? (Maybe it has already started.)”
President Biden’s Leadership
Joseph R. Biden Jr. has promised not to make headlines as often as Donald J. Trump, but the president still has a responsibility to speak to the nation from time to time about the challenges facing the country. A recent example took place in Philadelphia on September 1, when Mr Biden spoke of growing right-wing political extremism “that threatens the very foundations of our republic”. America editor Matt Malone, SJ, applauded the attempt but criticized Mr Biden for lapsing into statements that only pleased his own supporters: “Attempting to combine a political appeal to our best angels with an appeal partisan to his policies, Mr. Biden has done neither fully. Lily “Why Biden’s Republican MAGA Speech Failed”, and read if our readers agree with Father Malone’s assessment. (Note: President Biden returned to this theme on Nov. 3, warning that “American democracy is under attackbut that speech has so far received less attention, coming during a last-minute campaign flurry by both parties.)
Remember that discernment is your responsibility as a Catholic before deciding how to vote.
How to vote Catholic, according to your conscience
Catholics must consider the common good. This is what makes voting a “sacred act,” then-Bishop (now Cardinal) Robert W. McElroy of San Diego said on the “Voting Catholic” podcast in 2020. “We need to put aside all the triggers that are in our society that are supposed to reinforce partisan antagonisms,” Bishop McElroy told “Voting Catholic” host Sebastian Gomes. “They make us all go in the wrong direction on our conscience.” He added: “We let our politics become viscerally like a game, like sport. We have teams that we support. But this is not the Catholic method of discerning voting and citizenship. Listen to the podcast episode or read more: “Bishop McElroy: Abortion is a prominent issue for Catholics. But not the only one.”
And remember that discernment is your responsibility as a Catholic before deciding how to vote. In the final days of an election campaign, individuals and groups not authorized by the Church often claim to represent the only moral choice of Catholic voters; Lily “‘The Catholic Church is still politically non-partisan’: Arizona bishops warn voters about groups claiming to represent the Church.” And to know how to exercise your own judgment, read the document of the American bishops “Forming consciences for faithful citizenship: a call for political responsibility.”
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