A new poll from the Public Opinion Research Institute indicates that Donald Trump is down 23 points among Catholics compared to Hillary Clinton. This massive deficit remains “one of the most undersold story lines of the 2016 election” according to the Washington Post, but that doesn’t mean a lot of ground can’t be made up.
Can he win the Catholic vote? That might be tough. As far left as Barack Obama is, he won Catholics by 2 points in 2012. But he can make things a lot more competitive.
Catholics, like any other group of people in America, are very diverse. No one fits into a box. But there are a number of issues that Catholics seem to care deeply about — protecting life, religious liberty, and the treatment of immigrants and the poor to name a few. These are all things that Donald Trump can speak to.
After all, he is pro-life. Hillary Clinton is not. He ought to remind us from time to time.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, who went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect their religious freedom against the overbearing dictates of Obamacare may not seem like natural allies of Donald Trump, but when it comes to policy he is on their side. Hillary Clinton is not. He should remind the country why Obamacare is such an economic mess, but also an assault on our religious freedom.
On immigration, he has a real opportunity. Everyone knows he is vehemently opposed to illegal immigration. But he could do a much better job of talking positively about legal immigration. Perhaps it’s even worth a second stand-alone speech so the two topics aren’t confused. A positive, optimistic speech about how immigrants have made America a better place could make quite an impact, and he need not look any further than his own wife for a helping hand in telling this story.
Lastly, when it comes to dealing with the poor, Donald Trump has a tremendous story to tell. He’s the only one in this race who has truly created wealth, created jobs, and given people the opportunity to rise from nothing. Hillary Clinton has done none of that. This is a story that can help not only with the poor, but with Hispanics, African-Americans, and with every other American who hopes to one day achieve the American dream.
Donald Trump can close the gap. He can close it with Catholics and everyone else. He just needs to speak to the issues that matter to them, clearly and continuously.