Votes matter

The results of the Iowa Caucuses were incredibly close, a virtual tie: Romney by 8 votes… .000065%.

I have friends who have opined that they may opt out of the voting process in this election cycle.

That is a really bad idea.

The stakes of the 2012 election are high.

Your votes count.

As wearisome as the process is, stay engaged with the issues and candidates.

Votes matter.

During the coverage I watched, I heard many references to the Catholic vote, the Catholic demographic in certain counties.

We need an engaged Catholic influence in shaping public opinion and at the polls.

Votes matter.

Your vote counts.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Thank you for printing this. I was active in politics for years, door to door, and managing the local person years ago. It is so important for people to realize that each one of their votes count. Many elections at the local level are won or lost by handfuls of votes.

    If nine conservative Catholics had gone out to the caucuses, Santorum would have won. Nine would have done it! A larger margin would have been even more convincing. My son, who is a political journalist, kept texting me all night, so I feel part of the excitement. God bless Rick and his family and may he get some financial backing now. He needs that.

    Part of the problem is the apathy of the younger ones. I know some college students and young marrieds, who were actively working yesterday and the day before in Iowa, but there could have been more. There is nothing like ground work, meeting people, talking, etc. which is not the same as online activity, which is necessary, but limited. The personal approach is all important.

  2. New Sister says:

    According to Fox, Evangelicals of Iowa supported Sen Santorum by a large majority; the majority of their Catholics voted for Gov Romney. (I don’t recall the percentages given)

  3. Iowander says:

    I caucused for Santorum. My wife stayed home with our younger 3 kids. If I had known it would be so close, I may have tried to find a babysitter.

  4. wmeyer says:

    Failing to vote is a horrible idea. Equally, voting for a third party candidate, as the only outcome of such a vote–which now seems very possible, given Ron Paul’s strong showing in Iowa–would be to deliver the country into the hands of Obama for a second term.

    I’d love to vote for Santorum, but only as the Republican candidate. This election is about removing from power a president who is toxic to the values of our country; it is not about small issues and personal preferences.

  5. Andy Milam says:

    Last night, I caucused for Newt. I was torn between he and Santorum. I don’t think that either would be a bad candidate, but I do think that Newt understands the Washington machine a little bit better.

    If we’re going to fix what Obama has put asunder, then we must, must have someone who really understands the mechanism. I don’t think that anyone does other than Newt Gingrich. He is the consummate politician, without having the careerist agenda. He knows what works and he knows what it will take.

    The non-negotiables are met with both candidates though and I can get behind either one. It also doesn’t hurt that both are Catholics.

  6. Iowander says:

    Based on my Facebook feed, itt appears the difference could have been made up by moms and off-shift workers that I know.

  7. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Who needs conservative Catholics to go for Rick Santorum when so many Democrats are rooting for him? I couldn’t believe the lovefest last night on MSNBC from Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell and the rest for Santorum. They were also beating on Mitt Romney like there was no tomorrow. And this morning I saw Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (of the House LGBT caucus) on television praising Rick Santorum and repeating Rick Perry talking points against Mitt Romney. It was surreal.

    Obama and the liberal Democrats are all rubbing their hands together in excitement at the possibility of running against Rick Santorum.

  8. XYZ321 says:

    A compelling reason to vote is that the person holding the office of President of the US appoints federal judges. Federal judges have lifetime appointments, and the way they rule affects your life in ways that matter: economically, socially, and religiously.

  9. DaveM says:

    I’m still voting for Ron Paul. I think all of the other candidates are more or less warhawks who are “Democrat lite” in that they support big government and seem blissfully unaware on how close to disaster we are in regards to the national debt.

    I’ll support whoever comes out of the GOP field, but if it’s not Ron Paul, I think we’ll only make slight improvements, which won’t be enough to reverse the accelerating decline of our nation.

  10. Liam says:

    Simply looking at the raw numbers is deceptive. Romney may have received 8 votes more than Santorum, but this caucus is in fact a three-way tie since Romney, Santorum, and Paul equally receive 7 delegates to the GOP convention.

    The race is still wide open!

  11. wmeyer says:

    DaveM, I agree with your point about economic disaster, though I would point out that we are not on the brink, but are deeply in it. It’s not only the debt, but the inflation promoted by the stimuli and QEs. Other than luck, the only real solution to our future is for more voters to learn basic economics, so they will understand the lies as they tumble from the lips of the pols. There is no free lunch, only theft from citizens by a government out of control.

    As far as any rationales for welfare are concerned, I see nothing in scripture that suggest our personal obligation to charity can be relieved by government intervention. Keeping it personal also keeps it sensible: you don’t give money to the town drunk, though you would give food and other consumables to his family.

  12. ivan_the_mad says:

    Perhaps Santorum will quickly discover Church teaching concerning a just war, and cease his war-mongering. In fact, he’d do well to read the USCCB’s “Faithful Citizenship” document from the previous election. Cafeteria Catholicism is as prevelant on the right as on the left.

    Ron Paul is not going to run third party. “Sore loser” laws in many states will prevent it, and he’s not going to squander his son’s chances for a presidential candidacy in such a way.

  13. Sid says:

    We need an engaged Catholic influence in shaping public opinion and at the polls.

    And it’s worth considering if we need a Catholic political party — similar to those European and Latin American parties identified by their color as the Noirs or the Schwarzen. It would be a party based on the principles found in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Città del Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2004.

    United behind the Compendium, such a party would then attempt to attract a broad base:
    — The old bourgeois Zentrum of Ludwig Windthorst
    — Christian Democrats of the Luigi Sturzo stripe
    — the Social Market economists such as Wilhelm Röpke and Ludwig Erhard
    — Austrian Schoolmen who are Catholics such as Jeffrey A. Tucker and Thomas Woods
    — Catholic Worker Movement supporters such as Day and Maurin
    — other assorted Distributists,
    — the blue-collar Jaunes such as Pierre Biétry – or at least Jaunes free of the Browns and completely rid of Antisemites
    — many of the Legitimist/Carlist/Jacobite Blancs
    — those Neoconservatives of the Neuhaus/Weigel/Novak stripe, and
    — Evangelical Theocons who take a dim view of the town of Sodom and the rites of Moloch.

    And an appeal could be made to Masorti, Haredi, and Modern Orthodox Jews.

    Such a party also would take seriously T. S. Eliot’s The Idea of a Christian Society.

  14. ivan_the_mad says:

    Sid – great post!

    When neither party realizes Church teaching, perhaps neither party is worthy of the Catholic vote, and the Church in America should find Her own political voice.

  15. Thomas G. says:

    I’ll be voting for Santorum in the primary (if he gets on the ballot – doubtful in Virginia) and ANY Republican nominee rather than Obama (who deftly mixes economic incompetence with secular amorality).

  16. tealady24 says:

    As a Pennsylvanian, this is very nice! I will vote for Santorum and have no problem with him not being such a Washington insider.

    We need an engaged Catholic influence in shaping public opinion and at the polls. Absolutely, and about time! Although, judging (should I do that?) by the state of Catholicism in America today, it’s an uphill battle.

    I do hope there is a special place in Hell for the likes of Alan Colmes and Co.

  17. Dr. K says:

    Who needs conservative Catholics to go for Rick Santorum when so many Democrats are rooting for him? I couldn’t believe the lovefest last night on MSNBC from Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell and the rest for Santorum. They were also beating on Mitt Romney like there was no tomorrow. And this morning I saw Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (of the House LGBT caucus) on television praising Rick Santorum and repeating Rick Perry talking points against Mitt Romney. It was surreal.

    Funny… I noticed the exact opposite. The broadcast I watched was gushing over Romeny and beating Santorum with a stick as they attempted to come up with his flaws and reasons why he won’t win, all in an effort to scare people into voting for the supposedly electable Romney.

  18. irishgirl says:

    I don’t have TV, so I heard the results on the radio overnight (strangely enough, via the BBC World News Service).
    I can’t vote in the primaries because I’m registered as an Independent, but I lean towards Republican / Conservative politically.
    As so ably described by Sid, I wish that there were a political party in America that espoused Catholic beliefs and values.
    Though I am heartedly tired of this overly-long campaign (heck, I remember 1968, when everything started right at the beginning of the year!), my most fervent wish and prayer is that Obama becomes a ‘one-term President’ and gets kicked out of office come November!
    Mary Immaculate, our nation’s Patroness, please come to our aid!

  19. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Dr. K,

    Seems like you missed all that claptrap about Santorum appealing to blue-color voters and being so sincere over that “plastic” Romney.

  20. ContraMundum says:

    My vote matters only to me. Am I using it to cooperate with evil? Does it matter if it is “the lesser evil” with which I cooperate? It does if I have an opportunity to vote for another option, no matter how much a long shot, that is not an evil.

    I know for a fact that my vote in the 2004 election was not counted. I cast a valid vote in Hunt County for the Constitution Party candidate, but the official count shows that no one from Hunt County voted for the Constitution Party candidate in 2004.

    Oh, but I was throwing away my vote, because my candidate didn’t win, right? Then everyone who voted in Texas, where I used to live, or in West Virginia, where I live now, also throw away his vote. McCain won both States; a vote for anyone else was “wasted”, if voting for a loser is the waste of a vote. But Obama won in the electoral college, so the McCain votes were also “wasted”.

  21. New Sister says:

    Irishgirl – thank you for the reminder to increase prayers to our Patroness, the Immaculate Conception.

  22. AvantiBev says:

    Sid the Mad is aptly named if he believes that Santorum recognizing Islamic jihad for what it is – 1400 year old world war– is “war mongering”. I have no obligation as a ROMAN Catholic woman to commit societal suicide by “submitting” [islam means “subimission” not peace as understood in our lexicon] to brutal, anti-semitic, Christian killing misogynists who follow a false prophet and his equally false god. I started paying attention to Santorum when I first heard him use the word jihad; how refreshing and different in an America and Catholic Church of PC crazed, muslim tush kissing apologists. [Fr. Z , Bishop Gassis of South Sudan and my own pastor exceptions to that.]

    As for a Catholic Party, I shudder at the abuses that would unleash. I grew up – no – I survived as a true minority in the very Irish Democratic SW Side of Chicago. Back in the 60’s and 70’s I saw the kind of pressures put on people there if they so much as failed to genuflect when mentioning the names of FDR, Kennedy, Daley, etc. A nun once went ballistic when upon teaching us that the Soviet Union had only one party, I asked how that differed from the City of Chicago. As recently as the 2010 election I was assaulted and had my cell phone broken in an Irish neighborhood for distributing campaign literature for John Daley’s opponent. The assault took place on a public sidewalk outside a Catholic church by a woman who had just attending Mass there.

    Catholic Party, no thanks!!! I can envision poor deluded people being told that to vote for any candidate other than the Catholic Party candidate was a mortal sin. As an Italian American I know that the Church tried to keep Italians of the newly united Kingdom of Italy from voting in parliamentary elections under pain of excommication. I praise God – the true one – that I do not live in a country with an Islamist Party, Catholic Party, Hindu Party, etc. I have a brain, a soul and a vote. They are MINE. My fellow Catholics are not welcome in either the Confessional nor the Voting Booth with me.

  23. DaveM says:

    All Ron Paul is saying is that if we are going to go to war, let’s do it with Congressional approval, and where there is a true issue of national defense. He’s not interested, as the military-industrial complex is, of just starting wars and spreading fear in order to keep the defense budget at obscene levels. Ron Paul proposes a defense budget 5 times that of China. Should that not be enough? If not, why not?

    Nearly everyone now realizes that the Iraq war was a colossal mistake. Who voted against it? On the GOP side, only Ron Paul and a handful of others.

  24. ReginaMarie says:

    I agree. I think Ron Paul holds the most Catholic position on the issues. Electing the other Republican candidates, Catholic or not, will mean maintaining the status quo (in particular, in regards to the crime of abortion).

  25. Seamus says:

    But votes for Romney v. Santorum in the Iowa caucuses *don’t* really matter:

  26. SKAY says:

    Ron Paul is OK with states voting to individually allow legalization of drugs, prostitution and ss marriage as well as abortion. He is a Libertarian.
    Yes-a Constitutional ammendment on abortion would be great except that it would take years–and a lot would have to change for that to have a chance.
    I wonder if his judicial appointments to the Supreme Court would be more libertarian than conservative. They are not necessarily the same thing. Santorum’s choices might be much better from the Catholic perspective.
    Saying that Iran -a country that sponsors terrorism – should be able to have a nuclear bomb so that it can gain respect opens the door for any other country -large or small (think Venezuela or Cuba or Saudi Arabia) to make the same ridiculous arguement.
    Because of that stand alone, if I were Ahmadinejad I would try to come over here and vote for him.

    I certainly appreciate your point of view AvantiBev.

  27. Dr. K says:

    “Seems like you missed all that claptrap about Santorum appealing to blue-color voters and being so sincere over that “plastic” Romney.”

    We must be watching or listening to different stations. More than a few were decidedly pro-Romeny and anti-Santorum.

  28. ContraMundum says:

    Any “arguement” that it’s fine and dandy for large countries (think the USA, Russia, or China) or select small countries (think Israel) to have weapons designed to obliterate cities is frankly not a Catholic position. It won’t find support from the Catechism or any of the Popes

  29. frjim4321 says:

    I don’t know if I accept that a Santorum ticket would result in a cakewalk for the President. I think Santorum would be a capable debater and a very effective campaigner. That being said, I think most of the polling suggests that Romney would be more difficult to beat. As far as the Catholicity of Santorum and Gingrich are concerned (although Gingrich is as good as out of the running) neither really seem representative of standard Catholicism as it is lived and experienced by most “Catholics” in the sense that that term is used by demographers. Gingrich is thrice married and has had ethical problems that pretty much cancel out any positive benefit of his being nominally Catholic, whereas Santorum appears to be a far-right Catholic with opus dei leanings (maybe even a stealth member as most of them are) which does not fit easily within the standard “Catholic” political demographic.

    With Santorum doing well in Iowa (as I predicted) more will be coming out about him, both good and otherwise. I don’t think they will find any muck to rake on him, since I suspect he is a clean-living individual, a good father and a faithful husband. Some of his policy statements have been a bit extreme, though. I really doubt that he will take much of the hispanic vote considering some of his statements about immigration. Maybe that’s why some of the more progressive elements of the media would tend to promote a Santorum ticket.

  30. I’ve posted this before, but I think that it deserves re-posting here:

    “Where anti-semitism lies, anti-Catholicsm is not far behind.

    Regardless of what Rep. Paul currently claims, racist, anti-semitic rantings went out under his byline and in his newsletter over a period of many, many years.

    I would respectfully recommend than any Catholic supporter of Rep. Paul do a thorough study of nativism in the United States. You won’t like what you see.”

  31. ivan_the_mad says:

    Regarding Santorum’s aggressive statements concerning war against Iran, one should consult the Catechism, specifically 2307 and onward.

    I am glad that he strongly adheres to the Church’s teachings on abortion, but the reality is that the president is very constrained in what he can do regarding the legality of abortion. He would be limited to vetoes of bills providing funding for abortion services, directing executive departments to do the same, etc. In that respect, both Santorum and Paul would do well, Romney and Gingrich less so.

    The right should not make the same mistake as the left in attributing more power than intended to the presidency. The president is not a maker of laws; rather, he is an executor of the same.

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