The titular question has been posed oft of late, most recently by the Catholic News Agency in their coverage of “An Appeal to Our Fellow Catholics” made by the big cheeses in American Catholic life. These were the real gorgonzola guys, not like us processed-cheese-food bloggers.
Anyway, regular readers know that I possess no great love of (popular) presidential elections, but the skew in the coverage of The Donald by (dare I say) establishment Catholics is of some interest. These folks aren’t happy, and they’re spending a lot of time telling the world of their distress. Now if all their pleas were solely meant to (say) tout Cruz over Trump, then that’s a terrific idea, dandy fine politics-as-usual, actions really not worth commenting on.
But there seems more to it than that.
Did you notice none of these prominent individuals or organizations have written similar cri de coeur warning an unsuspecting populace against Hillary? There are even hints some leaders would prefer or advocate Hillary over Trump, which is very odd indeed.
Here are the main complaints against Trump. (See the others here.)
[T]here is nothing in his campaign or his previous record that gives us grounds for confidence that he genuinely shares our commitments to the right to life, to religious freedom and the rights of conscience, to rebuilding the marriage culture, or to subsidiarity and the principle of limited constitutional government.
On the assumption Trump is the Republican nominee, it is of interest to compare Trump and Hillary on these and other charges.
- Trump says he’s anti-abortion, yet he may be lying and his support for anti-abortion legislation might be weak. Hillary is for government-subsidized abortion on demand for any who asks for any reason. Winner: at the worst there is no difference between the pair; but there is at least some chance Trump will act on his words.
- Trump is vulgar, abusive, and overreacts to criticism with petulance. Hillary dismisses criticism or habitually and outrageously lies in response; she also barks like a dog and accuses her enemies of engaging in vast conspiracies. The comparison is slightly in Trump’s favor.
- Trump promises to use torture (waterboarding or worse) on the nation’s enemies; there is some small chance, as with many of Trump’s campaign rantings, that this is bluster. Hillary hasn’t been asked, but there is very little doubt she would do the same as Trump, only she wouldn’t boast about it. Winner: dismal records for both; the comparison is a wash.
- Trump has consistently and for many years said he is against gmarriage (four years ago, when it was important, he gave an interview with Bill O’Reilly stating his opposition), though lately he softened his stance; one of his casinos had a strip club. Hillary is solidly for gmarriage, and for everything else in the great sexual rebellion. Winner: Trump.
- Trump at least claims to be for religious liberty, but all we have is his word for it. Hillary is manifestly against traditional Christianity (as above); indeed, she has chosen government over religious liberty every time. Which of the two will be for “doctor”-assisted “suicide”? Winner: Trump by a length.
- It’s unclear how much Trump would cause government to increase, but he has at least pledged to shrink part of it. Hillary promised the opposite: with her, look for accelerated growth of government with increasing intrusions into every aspect of our lives. Trump’s slightly ahead on this one.
- Trump has given several indications he is less empire-driven than recent presidents. Hillary advocated the botched war with Libya while Secretary of State and she supported Iraq war while Senator; she would be highly interventionist; with her, there will be war. Winner: Trump at a canter.
- Countries like China publicize their concerns that Trump is serious about, for instance, Chinese currency manipulation. Hillary announced several world leaders wanted to endorse her, but she asked them to keep it hush-hush. Winner: Trump easily.
- Trump would eject illegal immigrants, build a border wall, and restrict immigration of Muslims; and there is good reason to think he means it; he has been called a “racist”. Hillary would, for discreditable reasons, grant amnesty to the millions who broke the law to make their way here; in future, she might even disfavor Christians over non-Christians; she panders to all grievance groups. Winner: It’s distressing to have to point out Muslims aren’t a race, neither Latinos; also, the term “racist” is asinine; also many Catholic organizations rake in piles of cash for “servicing” illegal aliens and are anxious the money not stop flowing: Trump rises to the top here.
- Trump says he would eliminate the inheritance tax, and reduce the tax and regulatory burden on all native companies; yet his enemy here is the bureaucracy and those who oppose new tariffs. Hillary would advocate greater taxes and regulation; cronyism would surely soar to unprecedented levels under her. Winner: It’s not even close, though Trump would not be allowed to keep many promises; government would grow under him.
- Trump has used crass language to describe some women; but it’s forgotten he’s also crass describing men. Hillary facilitated her rapist-husband by calling his victims “bimbos”, etc. etc., etc. Winner: Any answer besides Trump is “sexist” (another asinine word).
- Trump would not nominate for SCOTUS a grievance or activist judge. Hillary would. Winner: Do you have to ask?
- Trump’s grasp of Christianity is weak. Hillary’s also. Winner: A tie.
- Trump lies. Hillary lies on steroids (if that’s the metaphor I want). Winner: Trump by any ε > 0.
- Given that Trump is in the New York real estate business, he’s probably broken many laws; his business practices are not infrequently questionable. Hillary: Whitewater, travelgate, cattle futures, FBI Filegate, Chinese funding scam, Clinton Pardons March Rich et al., Benghazi, secret emails, and on and on and on and on some more. Winner: Trump, but he can’t be proud of the victory.
Overall? One of the best Catholics, a man with a claim to as clear a conscience as can be had by us sinners, Saint Thomas Aquinas, advocated monarchy over democracy. I’ll vote for that.