BCI is having and observing many discussions about the upcoming election–specifically how to vote Catholic when both major party candidates declare themselves pro-choices or have political records that are flawed on Catholic moral issues. Some Catholics are saying they would rather vote for no one or an independent candidate to stay true to their Catholic values. We would like to present a different perspective called, “It’s the Supreme Court, Stupid.”
A comment from “Fr. J” conveyed a perspective we thought other readers should see: “If neither major candidate is perfect on moral issues important to Catholics, it is morally permissible to vote for the one likely to do less harm.”
This video version of the Voters Guide for Serious Catholics conveys the same principle at around 6:45:
A transcript of the video can be found here. Of note is the following passage:
“In some political races, where every candidate endorses positions contrary to non-negotiable principles, choose the candidate who takes the fewest wrong positions and who is likely to do the least harm.”
Now let us bring this home to Massachusetts for the U.S. Senate race and also to the presidential race. BCI believes, as several readers have stated in comments, that one of the biggest impacts of this election affecting Catholics will be in Supreme Court appointments over the next four years.
For U.S. Senate, Scott Brown and Elizabeth “Liawatha” Warren are both campaigning as pro-choice, but that does not make them both equally flawed. For Catholics, Warren is far more concerning.
Here is a listing of Brown’s positions on abortion and life-related issues–he at least opposes partial-birth abortion, supports conscience exemptions for religious organizations on contraception, and co-sponsored the Women’s Right to Know Act, which would require a woman to wait 24 hours before having an abortion and to review pictures and information detailing the developmental progress of her fetus.
Warren has made her appeal to women along with her support for abortion rights and “women’s reproductive health issues” a big part of her campaign messaging. Scott Brown responded with ads saying he is also pro-choice. But Warren is extreme. Warren is supported by the pro-abortion, Emily’s List, which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to help her get elected.
In the third debate, Warren named Elena Kagan as a model Supreme Justice, and criticized Brown for him having voted to reject her nomination. Elena Kagan is pro-abortion and helped advance Bill Clinton’s position in favor of partial birth abortion. Read these two articles to get a sense for the sort of candidate Elizabeth Warren sees as a model for the Supreme Court:
In that same debate, Brown named Antonin Scalia as a model Supreme Court Justice.
If you do not think this election is about Supreme Court nominations, think again after you consider a recent Elizabeth Warren campaign ad, and who she has campaigning with her:
Warren’s critique of Brown on issues affecting women is part of a campaign to persuade voters that this election is about which party controls the Senate.
“The next Supreme Court justice could overturn Roe v. Wade,” one of Warren’s recent television ads says. “One vote could make the difference: your vote against a Republican Senate, your vote for Elizabeth Warren.”
At her headquarters last week, Warren was joined by Sandra Fluke, the law student Rush Limbaugh called a “prostitute” for testifying in favor of insurance coverage of contraception. Fluke made the argument that Democratic control of the Senate is crucial to women’s rights.
“This race here in Massachusetts is important beyond Massachusetts,” Fluke said. “This is a race that could very well decide who controls the Senate for the next term. A vote for Scott Brown is a vote for a Republican majority.”
So, how should a faithful Catholic vote on this one? Which U.S. Senator would you rather have deciding on whether to approve the next Supreme Court justice–the radically pro-abortion Elizabeth Warren or the moderately pro-choice Scott Brown? Which do you think will do the least harm? If you do not want Elizabeth Warren to win, what is the best way to use your one vote to keep her from winning?
- Do you not vote for anyone?
- Do you vote for a 3rd party candidate who has no chance at winning (which is essentially throwing away your vote and giving the advantage to Warren)?
- Or do you hold your nose and vote for Brown, as the candidate with at least some chance of beating Warren, in order to keep the candidate likely to do the most harm out of office?
BCI thinks that decision should be an easy one.
Regarding the presidential race, BCI believes the thought process should be similar. For serious Catholics, both Obama and Romney are flawed. Assuming the Senate remains controlled by the Democratic party, would you rather have the next Supreme Court nominees come from Obama or Romney? Voting for a third-party candidate who has no chance of winning in the Electoral College may feel good the moment when you cast your ballot, but will it feel good the next day if Obama wins? As “Objective Observer” objectively observed:
“Ask yourself how you will feel, when you wake up on November 7th, and hear that Barack Obama has been re-elected by a razor thin margin, and it’s the votes that went to [the third-party candidate]”
There are times when we would prefer not to vote “for” either candidate, so that leaves voting against the one you like less.”
With respect to either the U.S. Senate race or the presidential election, BCI will restate that we think “It’s the Supreme Court, stupid.” For the sake of the future of the country, we believe serious Catholics should hold their noses and vote for the candidate who will do the least harm, in order to keep out of office the candidate who will do the most harm.