Election of 2000 Shows New Political Fault Lines

By Christian Kopff
Volume 11, Number 3 (Spring 2001)
Issue theme: "George W. Bush, last Republican president? And does it matter?"

The presidential election of 2000 revealed a United States split in two, but the division did not fit the standard categories of economic thought or political ideology. The fault lines were those of race and religion. The clarity of the results shook even those most committed to a vision of America as a nation "dedicated to a proposition," such as the free trade liberals of The National Review. NR's 4 December 2000 editorial made several points:

(1) "When the electorate is divided into voting blocs, the majority bloc favors the Republicans. Protestants, who were 54 percent of the electorate, gave 56 percent of their votes to Bush."

(2) "Bush tried, more than any previous Republican candidate had, not to offend liberal sensitivities on race. His reward: 35 percent of the Hispanic vote and a smaller share of the black vote than Bob Dole got in 1996. Asian-Americans, who favored Bob Dole and Bush's father, supported Gore by a 14-point margin. So the kinder, gentler strategy on race flopped."

(3) "Conservative political success depends on a citizenry that is culturally cohesive and that sees its interest in liberty."

For those accustomed to NR's usual pro-Catholic propaganda, the admission that the American majority is Protestant and that Protestants are the political basis of a future conservative America will come as a welcome ray of realism. NR did not point out that the majority of the Catholic minority of 27 percent of voters cast their ballots for Gore, the pro-abortion candidate.

There are several ways to analyze the data. The Ethics and Public Policy Center of the University of Akron evaluated voters according to their self-identification as "observant" or "less-observant." Bush received the votes of 84 percent of "observant Evangelicals" and 66 percent of "observant mainline Protestants" as well as 88 percent of Mormons. He also received a majority, about 55 percent, of the votes of less observant evangelicals and mainline Protestants.

There is another way to look at the electoral results. Gore received 96 percent of the votes of Black Protestants, 77 percent of Jews, and 76 percent of Hispanic Catholics and Protestants. Religion and race count. The groups that vote for the Democratic Party and its candidates think they are winning and are not impressed by a smiley-faced obeisance to "liberal sensitivities on race." They treat such kowtowing for what it is, the desperate attempt of a losing army to slow down its rate of retreat. This strategy did not impress Blacks, Jews, and Hispanics and it convinced Asian-Americans, who formerly voted with White Christians, that it was time to leave the losing and join the winning side.

The hope for a winning strategy is clear. White Christians, Protestant and Catholic, need to be persuaded to vote Republican in the same percentages that Jews and Hispanics, not to mention Blacks, vote Democratic. There needs to be a two-pronged approach. The Republican Party needs a reformed leadership committed to policies that appeal to the mass of Christian voters. Inter alia, this means the effective end of immigration and a coherent policy of developing and protecting America's industrial and agricultural base to protect and foster America's cultural unity.

On the other hand, the Republican Party needs to ignore or undermine the leadership of mainline Protestant churches and the Catholic hierarchy, since both groups have been infiltrated by the left in true Gramscian fashion. Paul Gottfried has demonstrated this for the mainline Protestant denominations. The intentions of the Catholic hierarchy could not be expressed more clearly than by the recent appointment of a Mexican as a new bishop in Denver. There will be no effort to assimilate new immigrants to the American Way of Life. On the contrary, immigrants will be encouraged to maintain their old way of life by bishops who speak their language, literally and figuratively.

White Catholics, many of whom think like Pat Buchanan, are loyal Americans and will form an indispensable part of a revival of creativity and freedom in the United States. The Catholic hierarchy, on the other hand, view themselves as molding the church of the New World Order. They are without loyalty to the United States or even the traditions of their own church. (The ease with which they turned from defending to attacking capital punishment, a part of Christian moral doctrine found in Genesis 9, Romans 13, and Aquinas's Summa Theologica, reveals that they look upon the magisterium of the Church not as a sacred legacy but as a tool to foster political ends.)

Both mainline Protestant leadership and Catholic hierarchy are in favor of increased immigration into the United States. (In Italy, however, the Bishop of Rome encourages the Italian hierarchy to oppose Muslim immigration.) Both groups see immigration as an essential tool in the destruction of the cultural unity of the United States, a destruction they correctly view as essential for the replacement of the government of the United States by a new global regime that will be committed to undermining national and local traditions by privileging economics over politics, Enlightenment ideology over theology, and philosophy and science and political correctness over traditional Western ethics.

The creation of a new majority coalition will not be easy. It will require compromise and self-restraint. It may never be possible to turn back the worldwide victory the left has enjoyed in the last decade in China, South Africa, and Europe. A conservative victory is still possible in the United States, however, and a victory in the United States should be enough for Americans.

About the author

E. Christian Kopff is professor of classics at the University of Colorado, Boulder and at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome. His most recent book, The Devil Knows Latin Why America Needs the Classical Tradition, is available from The Social Contract Press.