Do Black People Have to be Democrats? Do Catholics?

By Jason Scott Jones Published on April 28, 2018

Rap superstar Kanye West has taken heat for asking uncomfortable questions about the “lock” Democrats have on black American voters. His friend, Chance the Rapper, got so much blowback for supporting West, he has actually apologized. But Kanye hasn’t. He has gone on to praise Donald Trump, even posted a picture of his own signed MAGA hat.

West has been watching and Tweeting about Jordan Peterson’s profound, culturally conservative videos. He has praised black conservative activist Candace Owens, who causes panic in Democratic voter-turnout circles with Tweets like the following.

West hasn’t backed down. Not even when leftists tried to discredit him by floating the rumor that Kanye is having a mental breakdown. (The Soviets used this tactic on their critics, but in America it backfires.)

The Dam Starts to Break

Others in entertainment are risking a quickie mental diagnosis, too. In a blistering podcast (PROFANE LANGUAGE) with left-wing actor Michael Rapaport, co-host Gerald Moody made a devastating observation about the Democrats:

This party uses black people as pawns, and the immigrants as pawns. They need those votes…. The left-wing media want black Americans to view themselves as victims…. I’m not a [BLEEPING] victim.

I leave it to my black friends to answer Mr. West’s question. (Though I have some thoughts on it.) Let me start with what I am, however. I’m a Catholic. Who can’t be a Democrat.

I remember when Catholics, especially among Irish-Americans, thought they had to be Democrats. That began when Democrats in cities like New York and Boston offered Irish immigrants government jobs and other benefits for votes.

The Irish-Democratic Complex

I remember when Catholics thought they had to be Democrats. Especially among Irish-Americans, it was practically the law. That began when Democrats in cities like New York and Boston welcomed Irish immigrants to join political machines. Then traded government jobs and other benefits for votes. Catholic bishops, behind the scenes, helped make the New Deal more pro-family than European socialist schemes.

Back then the Democratic Party was solidly anti-Communist. And morally traditional. There seemed to be no reason to look elsewhere. In fact, if you did, you were almost a kind of traitor.

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This Catholic/Democrat alliance sank deep roots indeed. It grew finally into the indestructible kudzu that we call the Kennedy family. (And the Cuomo family. And the Biden family.) It proved to be a weed, though, when the Kennedys gathered Jesuits to come up with rationales for legal abortion in 1964. As John Zmirak has written, that was “before Roe v. Wade was a gleam in Hugh Hefner’s eye.” But you can see how philandering politicians might find abortion convenient. It makes women disposable, even more effectively than leaving them behind to drown in a car.

(If you think that’s unfair to Democrats, tell me how many took seriously Juanita Broaddrick’s credible charge that Bill Clinton raped her. I’d love to see a list.)

If even 10 or 20 percent of black Americans decided that they were free to choose either candidate in most elections, that would revolutionize our politics.

Bishops Still Haven’t Gotten the Memo

You can still see traces of this old lockstep alliance among America’s bishops, too many of whom speak out only reluctantly on religious liberty and life issues, groaning as if they were passing a kidney stone. But when it comes to growing the government, or opening the borders? They’ll flood the U.S. Capitol with activists. Still, ever more U.S. Catholics are peeling away from the Democrats. A majority voted for Trump. Despite all his personal flaws, they’re likely to do so again.

Why is that? What’s led to one of the most significant realignments in U.S. political history? And could it repeat itself among African-Americans — at least to some degree? If even 10 or 20 percent of black Americans decided they were free to choose either candidate in most elections, that would revolutionize American politics.

Questions We Must Ask Ourselves

For that to happen, more black Americans would need to ask the same questions Catholics did about the Democrats, once Ronald Reagan moved the GOP in a pro-life direction:

  • Do this party’s core values — expressed in its platform — coincide with our community’s deepest beliefs?
  • Has this party looked out for our concrete, legitimate interests? Or is it playing us for fools?
  • Are the government programs, benefits, or jobs that this party throws our way blinding our leaders to the damage this party’s policies are doing to our community?
  • Do we really benefit from being taken for granted by just one political party?
  • Most Americans feel free to choose between two candidates at every election. Why are we different, and only permitted one? Is it right that our only option is just not showing up? Does that make us full citizens, or something less?

I won’t presume to answer these questions on black Americans’ behalf. But I’m very glad that they’re asking them.

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