Buckle Up! A Bracing Catholic Rundown of 2020 Candidates

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There are 24 candidates running for President in the 2020 campaign. Twenty-four.

Can you believe it? I’m a political junkie and I’ve barely ever heard of most of them.

Who are they? And how should Catholics view them, this early in the campaign?

Anything can happen. But right now, eighteen months before Election Day, here’s how they look to me.

First, let’s cut to the chase. I’m voting to re-elect Donald Trump. In fact, I’m far more for Trump than I was when I voted for him in 2016.

I was vehemently against Trump for much of 2016. Two years ago this week Trump won the Indiana primary, effectively clinching the Republican nomination, and I still didn’t support him.

Only the following July, when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg attacked him, did I finally decide to vote for Trump. Boy, do I owe the Notorious RBG. She put me on the winning team.

And I don’t just mean because Trump won. I mean it because President Trump has turned out to be far more Catholic in his policies than any of us who opposed him on Catholic grounds could have thought possible.

The fact that I’m far more for Trump today than I was when I voted for him in 2016 is a problem for Democrats.

I mean, I’m not specifically the problem for them. I live in Connecticut and we all know which party’s presidential candidate will get our state’s measly seven electoral votes.

But the Democrats can’t win unless they win over some Trump 2016 voters. And many of us like Trump now more than we did when we first voted for him. And we dislike the Democrats even more than we did before.

So, polls notwithstanding, unless something crazy happens or the Democrats find some new way to cheat, Trump will be reelected.

What about those other 24?

Biden’s working-class appeal makes him the Democrats’ best shot. I love seeing his own party try to eat him alive. Normally it’s the Republicans that can’t get out of their own way.

Elizabeth Warren is probably the smartest of the Dems. She’s Bernie with a brain. But Trump has shown an ability to bait her into doing stupid things

Tulsi Gabbard stands out slightly, for being ever so slightly different, from the rest. She defended the Knights of Columbus. I appreciate that she’s–slightly–independent-minded.

I’d still vote against her in a heartbeat. It’s great that she once supported traditional marriage. It’s not great that she no longer does.

Booker thinks he’s Spartacus. It’s hard to take him seriously after that.

Buttigieg is the “Look at me world, I’m gay!” candidate. His attempts to bait our side into a fight around the politics of say, about 2005 or 2011, is just weird. I mean, ok, smart politics for him. But the real issues of that kind in 2019 are transgenderism, whether gay marriage dissenters will be run out of society, etc. Those issues ought to be our response to him. 

Beta O’Rourke gets good press but he’s a weirdo. You would think no one is a weirdo by now, but he somehow is.

Bernie is to the Democrats what Pat Buchanan is to us. He’s not making it. But his ideas have remade his party.

Bill Weld running against Trump in the Republican primaries will be useful to us. He’s pro-abortion. Every vote he gets will be a nice reminder that the “NeverTrumpers” got what they deserved in 2016.

Kamala Harris is the candidate I like the least. The attacks on the Knights, on the guy who exposed Planned Parenthood, etc.

But she’ll probably be their nominee. A party utterly obsessed with identity politics will go for the African-American woman, if she doesn’t blow it.

The rest of them? Meh.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of CatholicVote.org

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About Author

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Peter Wolfgang is president of Family Institute of Connecticut Action, a Hartford-based advocacy organization whose mission is to encourage and strengthen the family as the foundation of society. His work has appeared in The Hartford Courant, the Waterbury Republican-American, Crisis Magazine, Columbia Magazine, the National Catholic Register, The Stream, CatholicVote, and Ethika Politika. He lives in Waterbury, Conn., with his wife and their seven children. The views expressed here are his own.

1 Comment

  1. How could you possibly say the following? ” I mean it because President Trump has turned out to be far more Catholic in his policies than any of us who opposed him on Catholic grounds could have thought possible.” Trump has all but trashed every Catholic tenet in just two years. Just a few…

    He has despised the American public by lying more than 10,000 times. How about his philandering while his third wife Millennia was tending to Barron who was only an infant? Trump is a con artist who is only Pro-Donald. Are his actions with dictators treasonous? I say close if treason is a mortal sin. Did Trump lie and deceive the public by saying the southern wall would be paid for by the Mexicans? Did he disgrace his campaign when he stupidly mimicked a disabled reporter at a Republican rally?

    We have been trying to get the sleeping Republican Congress to attend to their oversight mission. They are still snoring away. That is a Constitutional crisis!

    God save the Union.

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