Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Scenes from a Repudiation

Lest anyone forget your narrator's academic background (first concentration: American politics... second concentration: Holy See... permanent concentration: paying down the loans), for the handful who might be interested in nitty-gritty numbers from those races and places where this campaign season's unprecedented episcopal boldness ran high, or the polls ran close -- or both -- here are but a few that stick out.

Bishops and apparatchiks, you might just want to avert your eyes... not much "good news" here.
  • On the home-turf of this cycle's most forthright prelate, Martino Country flocked to its native son instead; the Scranton diocese's main hub of Lackawanna County broke nearly 2-to-1 for the Democratic ticket, its second-largest population center veering blue by a 54-45 margin, or close to 10,000 votes. The majority of Pennsylvania's 600,000-vote Obama stampede, however, came from Philadelphia and its ever-critical suburbs, where the faithful were reminded just last weekend that "in this election, even the most fundamental human right of life itself hangs in the balance." While the River City gave the president-elect an additional 80,000 votes over of its 400,000-ballot boost to John Kerry in 2004, in a seismic first the Dems carried all five counties of Pharaoh's fold -- the Philly church's last GOP bastion in presidential elections (Chester County, won 52-47 by Bush-Cheney in 2004 and 53-47 in 2000) went to Obama-Biden by over 20,000 votes, a 20% swing from '04.
  • The crux of a clash between the state's Catholic governor and her bishop and the focus of a concerted "NO" campaign by the state's hierarchy in full, Michigan's Proposal 2 -- permitting enhanced access to embryonic stem-cells for research purposes -- passed 53-47 on an almost 250,000-vote advantage.
  • In South Dakota -- stalwart Presidential Red territory if ever there was one -- a proposed ban on most abortions went down to defeat.... While, in both Dakotas, Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila's last-minute counsel that "no person if he is Catholic, can ever support an intrinsic evil nor can he or she ever vote for someone who supports intrinsic evil" presaged the standard GOP wins in the region (53-44 in both states).
The breakdown -- well, the numerical one -- could go on... and on... and on... but the message is probably clear enough.