Links for 10/24/19

From Lambeth Palace, the text of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby's homily at the Solemn Vespers of Thanksgiving for the canonization of St. John Henry Newman, held at Westminster Cathedral. I like everything about this sermon and commend it to all who find themselves asking questions of an ecclesiological kind. This line — "Power is deeply deceptive, a strong drink that makes senses befuddled and crushes not only opposition but also genuine questioning" — is psychologically very astute, and I only add that power is deceptive both to those who possess it and to those who seek it.

In the Washington Post, Dana Milbank provides the obituary for irony as the Republican Party, in its attempts to defend President Donald Trump, accuses other people of lying and — how dare they!!! — misrepresenting what the president said.

At Religion News Service, Ryan Burge highlights data that indicates Trump's approval rating among white Catholics has remained strong, and his rating among nonwhite Catholics has grown, not diminished, since 2016. He concludes that if the Democrats think nominating fellow Roman Catholic Joe Biden is enough to secure a victory, they are wrong. He may be right about Biden, but he seems not to grasp why the numbers are shifting as they are: Liberal Catholics have left the church while conservatives have stayed. That said, if Team Clinton knew switching 80,000 votes in 2016 would have made the difference, you can bet they would have paid better attention to outreach to Catholics.  

In the Washington Post, some in the Democratic establishment are fretting about the field of presidential candidates. At least that is how they are presenting it. They are really fretting because Biden has proved to be a weaker candidate than they thought, and they are worried Sen. Bernie Sanders or Sen. Elizabeth Warren could capture the nomination and be unable to beat Trump. Hogwash. They are worried that Sanders or Warren would upset their "New Democrat" allegiance to neoliberal economics. Four years ago, many of us made the mistake of listening to this crowd, and backed Clinton over Sanders. Fool me once …

Sanders got a big boost last weekend when he was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes, but I am not sure how important endorsements are anymore. On the other hand, being attacked by corporate leaders strikes me as the kind of anti-endorsement that could really propel a candidacy. It seems every week there is an article about corporate leaders or Wall Street bankers terrified of Warren. Here is this week's from Politico

At Working Class Perspectives, Sherry Linkon and John Russo point out the way many media focus on the racial and xenophobic attitudes of Trump's working class supporters but fail to spend much energy looking at his middle class and elite supporters who harbor the same attitudes. Somewhere out there, I hope smart Democratic strategists are taking note: If you break through the idea that this is about class, the GOP will have a harder time making the Democrats look like elitist snobs.

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]

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