To R.s.v.p, please email CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu or call 202-319-5999.
***For those of you driving to CUA’s campus, please note the parking time restrictions for parking at
the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception West parking lot below.
(Click here to view the live stream of the conference.)
Schedule of Events:
2:00 p.m. Welcome Address
Stephen Schneck, Director, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies
2:05 p.m. “Three Kinds of Erroneous Autonomy”
Bishop Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego
2:35 p.m. Panel On Consumer Capitalism and the Mission of the Church
3:45 p.m. Break
4:00 p.m. “Capitalism and governance in the new Congress and Administration”
Thomas Frank, Author What’s the Matter with Kansas
4:30 p.m. “Hope: The Dignity of Work”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, O.F.M. Cap., Archdiocese of Boston
5:00 p.m. Concluding Remarks
Richard Trumka, President AFL-CIO
Reception to follow
Co-Sponsored by CUA’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies and the AFL-CIO and in partnership with Brightfields Development, LLC.
December 14, 2016
1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Vincent P. Walter Room
The Catholic University of America
Celebrate the Christmas season with Music, Food and Fun!
For disability accommodations, please contact CUA-IPRstaff@cua.edu or call 202-319-5999.
IPR Brown Bag: Peacemaking in Mindanao, Phillipines: The Role of CUA
Dec. 14, 2016
12:10 pm – 1:10 pm
Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, Room 351
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington DC, 20064
Dr. Ahearn has an international reputation in the area of psychosocial issues of forced migrants, particularly refugees and persons displaced by disasters. He has served on international missions in the aftermath of disasters and consulted with state and local mental health agencies in designing a mental health response in the case of disaster. He has an appointment as Research Associate at the Refugee Studies Centre of Oxford University where he has been a regular faculty tutor during the summer session.
For Disability Accommodations or Questions please contact CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu or (202) 319-5999.]]>
Dr. Timothy Meagher
IPR Fellow and Assoc. Prof., History Dept.
Thursday December 1
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, Room 351
The Catholic University of America, 620 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20064
Dr. Timothy Meagher (Brown University, 1982), is an Associate Professor of History, and University Archivist, at The Catholic University of America. His foci of teaching and research are: American immigrant history, the Irish in America, and Catholic history.
For disability accommodations, please email CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu or call 202-319-5999.]]>
By Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, c.s.
First of all allow me to thank Eric LeCompte and Jubilee USA Network, the Catholic University Institute for Policy Research [& Catholic Studies] and the Office of International Justice and Peace of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops for the kind invitation to share with you a major concern of Pope Francis: The development of an inclusive global economy.
Repeated statement on the economy, at times with stinging words, mark the teaching of Pope Francis from the beginning of his pontificate. In His first Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium in 2013 He sharply condemns “an economy of exclusion and inequality.” He writes: “Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today, we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such and economy kills.” (n.53) The response to this assessment has been quite different in developed and developing countries: too harsh for the first, welcomed by the latter who saw the social reality in which they live and under which they suffer understood by the Pope. Beyond the various interpretations, Pope Francis calls us “to seek new ways of understanding the economy and progress” and to develop a better financial and economic system for the 21st century. He had rephrased the call in his 2014 message to the World Economic Forum in Davos saying that: “a new political and business mentality (has to) take shape, one capable of guiding all economic and financial activity within the horizon of an ethical approach which is truly humane.” It is a call on the promotion and protection of the common good by re-articulating the vision for an economy that is aligned more consistently with Catholic Social Doctrine and Scripture, that is founded on the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, that is rooted in self-governing associations and institutions coming together to cooperate, respectful of justice, human dignity and freedom. At the same time, it is an invitation to search together for practical ways to translate a new way of thinking into a new way of acting, even by creating new more suitable mechanisms or institutions Faith saves and heals, but is is also incarnated. Jesus reminds his disciples: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (MT. 7:21) And the Letter of James is even more detailed: “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? IN the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (Jm 2:14-17) In this biblical tradition, Pope Francis looks at today’s economy in particular taking into account the words that Jesus used to describe the Final Judgement where the hungry and thirsty, the stranger and naked, the sick and the person in prison, that is all the needy and vulnerable groups of society, “the least”, become the way to salvation for anyone who loves and helps them (Mt 25:31-46).
2. Diagnosis of the current situation
First, the Holy Father begins his analysis by pointing out that the world is seriously ill. He writes: “The technocratic paradigm also tends to dominate economic and political life. The economy accepts every advance in technology with a view to profit, without concern for its potentially negative impact on human beings, Finance overwhelms the real economy.” (LS n.109) “Technocratic paradigm” refers to the tendency that sees any aspect of existence and reality “completely open to manipulation.” The quest for profit becomes the reason for the control of reality made possible by the technocratic paradigm and the combination of these two variables (profit and technocratic paradigm) produce a “throw away” culture. A consequence is that the problems of the excluded may become an afterthought in international political and economic discussions. A critical analysis of the economic system shows its shortcomings: profit as the only measure and standard, excessive consumerism, a culture of relativism that justifies endless forms of exploitation of nature and persons, financial speculation that creates no concrete values. The preoccupation of Pope Francis is above all for the protection of the human person in her existential circumstances and to encourage the financial structures to avoid the extreme positions he describes.
“When at the center of the system is no longer man but money, when money becomes an idol, men and women are reduced to mere instruments of a social and economic system characterized, in fact dominated, by deep unbalances. And in this way what is not of service to this logic is thrown away?
The diagnosis of the evils plaguing the economy and the planet aims at showing the need for change, for action now. The Pope does not condemn economic activity, he knows its value, but demands an ethical compliance and a constructive role in promoting inclusiveness. This is continuous with the social teaching of the Church. For example, Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate states:
“The Church has always held that economic action is not to be regarded as something opposed to society. In and of itself, the market is not, and must not become, the place where the strong subdue the weak…. The economic sphere is neither ethically neutral, nor inherently inhuman and opposed to society. It is part and parcel of human activity and precisely because it is human, it must be structured and governed in an ethical manner.” (n.36)
A new development is globalization that has affected the organization of the economy that now transcends the control of the nation state so that an adequate ethical framework should be devised that takes into account the present interdependent and intergenerational nature of our relationships. Again Caritas in Veritate raised the concern that Laudato Si’ elaborates further and in a more specific way:
“Perhaps at one time it was conceivable that first the creation of wealth could be entrusted to the economy, and then the task of distributing it could be assigned to politics,” observes CinV.” Today that would be more difficult, given that economic activity is no longer circumscribed within territorial limits, while the authority of governments continues to be principally local. Hence the canons of justice must be respected from the outset, as the economic process unfolds, and not just afterwards or incidentally.” (n.36)
The root problem is extreme individualism that clashes with the common good. Already Pius XI had forcefully denounced it in Quadragesimo Anno:
“The ultimate consequences of the individualist spirit in economic life…all economic life has become tragically hard, inexorable, and cruel…And as to international relations, two different streams have issued from the one fountain-head: On the one hand, economic nationalism or even economic imperialism; on the other, a no less deadly and accursed internationalism of finance or international imperialism whose country is where profit is.” (n.109)
With an updated language, Pope Francis pursues this teaching and refers to the tyranny of relativism” and adds:
“There cannot be true peace if everyone is his own criterion, if everyone can always claim exclusively his own rights, without at the same time caring for the good of others, of everyone, on the basis of the nature that unites every human being on this earth.” (Address to the Diplomatic Corps 2013)
The limits imposed on laissez-faire capitalism and the arguments he used to modify the system, have prompted some criticism of Pope Francis’ stand on the economy. And this reminds me of another bishop. “When I feed the poor,” used to say Dom Helder Camara Bishop of Recife, “everyone calls me a saint. But when I ask why the poor don’t have food, then everyone calls me a communist.”
The diagnosis of papal teaching is based on current social reality even though the provision of technical information is left to appropriate institutions. The evidence available certainly justifies the urgency expressed to protect the dignity of every person. The U.N. Human Development Report 2015 gives some examples. Despite impressive achievements in many areas, huge human potential remain unused. In 2015, 204 million people worldwide – including 74 millions young people (ages 15-24) – were unemployed. About 830 million workers in developing country regions live on less than $2 a day. Of the 57 million out-of-school children at the primary level, 33 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa. In developing countries children in the poorest households are four times more likely to be out of the school than those in the richest households. The conventional measure of poverty considers only income: People in extreme poverty live on less than $1.25 a day. But people can also be deprived of schooling, be undernourished, or lack access to safe drinking water. This broader concept of poverty is reflected in the Multidimensional Poverty Index…The estimates suggest that about 1.5 billion people live in multidimensional poverty. Inequality has risen. The Trade and Development Report of 2016 of the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development sums up the current situation this way: “While the current situation seems less ominous than in 2008, it is proving more difficult to manage. With the financial system on a firmer footing, politicians and policymakers have recovered their sense of impotence in the face of supposedly insurmountable global forces, and have made “business as usual” their default policy option. Financial markets are chastened but unreformed, debt levels are higher than ever and inequality continues to rise. Most of the upside gains have resulted from asset price rises and increased corporate profits. Meanwhile, most of the downside adjustment has fallen on debtor countries and working families, with wages, employment, and welfare provision under constant pressure from a return to austerity measures.” (p.11)
3. Steps for change
Pope Francis moves on from analysis to proposals for a new system and is determined to contribute to the mission to defeat inequality, individualistic consumerism, and an economy of exclusion. He observes: “The twenty-first century, while maintaining systems of governance inherited from the past, is witnessing a weakening of the power of nation states, chiefly because the economic and financial sectors, being transnational tends to prevail over the political. Given this situation, it is essential to devise stronger and more efficiently organized international institutions, with functionaries who are appointed fairly by agreement among national governments, and empowered to impose sanctions…” otherwise the too many special interests and economic interests “end up trumping the common good.” (LS, nn.175, 54) In this line of thinking as the Holy See Permanent Observer in Geneva, I had the occasion to call for the enactment of a binding treaty rather than just for voluntary guidelines in the debate on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In fact, the heart of the Pope’s concern is how we can best place people, created in God’s image, at the center of our future vision of the economy and of society, so that all people may enjoy social participation in line with their dignity. In the words of Pope Francis when he was awarded the Charlemagne Prize:
“The just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy. It is a moral obligation…To do so requires coming up with new, more inclusive and equitable economic models, aimed not at serving the few, but at benefitting ordinary people and society as a while. This calls for moving from a liquid economy to a social economy; I think for example of the social market economy encouraged by my predecessors (cf. JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, 8 November 1990).”
A social market economy is subject to rules ensuring that:
1. competition between market players is fair and that the common good is respected
2. That a social balance is struck for those whose chances on the free market are poor or non/existent (Card. Marx).
The vocabulary used by Pope Francis is very direct. Instead of laissez/fair capitalism he speaks of social market economy. He wants a strategy of real change that calls for rethinking processes in their entirety. Decisive political action is needed to fight corruption and to enact sound public policies. A sense of urgency is clearly felt in order to reach an alternative, inclusive economy through the structural changes advocated at the international and national levels. Official institutions, however, don’t exhaust the articulation of society. An appeal is made to other social actors:
“Because the enforcement of laws is at times inadequate due to corruption, public pressure has to be exerted in order to bring about decisive political action. Society, through non-governmental organizations and intermediate groups, must put pressure on governments to develop more rigorous regulations, procedures and controls. Unless citizens control political power—national, regional, and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment.” (LS n.179)
Institutions, corporations, and associations, all have a role to play in developing an inclusive alternative economy and have the capacity to “choose what is good and make a new start.’ (LS n. 205) The corporation of the future could take on societal problems, for example, to complement the lack of resources of charitable organizations or public fiscal insolvency. The same institutions can support organizational change that shapes a culture of dialogue, sobriety and solidarity, in other words, a hope that makes possible “another type of progress, one which is healthier, more human, more social, more integral.” (LSn.12) The path forward is making the economy serve politics and not having politics controlled by the economy, and having both subjected to ethical standards in a constructive dialogue between the two. In particular, the real economy has to be protected from speculative finance. “The financial crisis of 2007-08 provided an opportunity to develop a new economy, more attentive to ethical principles, and new ways of regulating speculative financial practices and virtual wealth. But the response to the crisis did not include rethinking the outdated criteria which continue to rule the world.” (LS n.189) From a liquid economy that profits from speculation, we should move to a social economy that places the human being firmly at the center and where a new mind-set is adopted which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of good by a few. (EG n. 188) Integral human development is at stake and the related creation of employment ahead of a fixation of profits. State and civil society business and religious sectors are all called to develop an alternative or more socially inclusive system in which the financial market is monitored and regulated.
4. Looking ahead
A change of paradigm is proposed for a new start. Human beings are capable of rising above themselves (LS n. 205) so the search for alternatives even in the economy is possible. It is possible to move away from a technocratic paradigm and from speculative profit and look at the larger picture:
“If we look at the larger picture,” writes Pope Francis, “we can see that more diversified and innovative forms of production which impact less on the environment can prove very profitable. It is a matter of openness to different possibilities which do not involve stifling human creativity and its ideals of progress, but rather directing that energy along new channels…Productive diversification offers the fullest possibilities to human ingenuity to create and innovate, while at the same time protecting the environment and creating more sources of employment. Such creativity would be a worthy expression of our most noble human qualities, for we would be striving intelligently, boldly and responsibly to promote a sustainable and equitable development within the context of a broader concept of quality of life. On the other hand, to find ever new ways of despoiling nature, purely for the sake of new consumer items and quick profit, would be, in human terms, less worthy and creative, and more superficial.” (LS nn. 191-192)
The word ‘profitable’ is used. In fact it reaffirms the healthiness of profit anchored in the real economy and especially in the concern for the environmental effects of the processes of production. “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world. It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the areas in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” (LS n.129) A fundamental distinction is made: the production of wealth is evaluated and positively and is not a synonymous with the maximization of profit identified instead as a disorder. There is a positive outlook in the papal teaching. In EG Pope Francis remarks: “We constantly have to broaden our horizons and see the greater good which will benefit us all.” Then he moves on to present a new paradigm: “Here our model is not the sphere, which is no greater than it parts, where every point is equidistant from the centre, and there are no differences between them. Instead, it is the polyhedron, which reflects the convergence of all its parts, each of which preserves its distinctiveness.” (EG n. 236) This leads us to acknowledge, on the one hand, that doing without economic knowledge is impossible, and on the other, that is knowledge must enter into authentic dialogue not only with the other scientific disciplines, but with all the forms of knowledge elaborated by humanity, including art, philosophy, religion, traditional and daily life forms of wisdom. This dialogue is the way to a fair globalization that will lead to integrated solutions if there are integrated policies, applied in coordination, on trade and finance, on education and health and labour.
This integrated approach is particularly relevant in current negotiations on trade and foreign debt. Preferential trade agreements are growing and, recently, they address not only goods, but also services and deal with rules beyond reciprocal tariff concessions. But multilateral agreement should take precedence over bilateral and regional ones. The multilateral framework gives pluralism a universal dimension and facilitates inclusion of weaker and smaller countries. The greater bargaining power of advanced economies would limit the LDCs chance to benefit from the agreements.
The alleviation of the debt burden for poor countries is another concern of Pope Francis. In the message for the 2016 World Day of Peace he appealed to the leader of nations “to forgive or manage in a sustainable way the international debt of the poorer nations.” Debt also has to be placed in the broader context of economic, political, and technological relations and the consequent interdependence of countries and need of collaboration in pursuing the common good.
Pope Francis’ agenda is people-focused and forward-looking, rooted in an anthropology that sees realistically the person in relation to other and to transcend, as a prerequisite, to reduce the gap between the have and the have-not. The Social Doctrine of the Church is often accused of being ‘too much pie in the sky’ on economic issues. In fact, in the alternative economy, it proposes that it indicates the way to overcome persistent poverty and rising inequality.
The Church intervenes in social questions whenever human dignity is wounded. It reminds us how interconnected these questions are that they involve the responsibility of everyone toward the entire human family to build a fairer, more just, and peaceful society in line with the message of the Gospel. Some Social Doctrine of the Church concepts and principles are not shared or are in contrast with those of the dominant economic theory, of that market capitalism intent at maximizing profit and individual interest, and they are: the universal destination of the goods of the earth, the preferential option for the poor, the scandal of extreme inequalities, the priority of work over capital, the social function of capital, never having the means of production against labour, the principle of solidarity, the principle of subsidiarity, the principle of common good, the substantive importance of the gratuitous gift.
The ground for the common good has to be prepared step by step and day by day, by continuous and conscientious efforts in two directions—one structural and the other virtuous: The goodness of institutional structures help to promote the common good, while the virtuous behavior of persons helps transform institutions.
This amounts to reviewing, strengthening and rebuilding—to the extent necessary –the ethical foundations of finance and promoting and ethical recapitalization of the industry, of the institutional environment and of all the players and stakeholders in the economy.
Archbishop Silvano M. Tomasi, c.s.
Dr. Ernest Zampelli
Emeritus Prof. of Economics and IPR Fellow
Edward J. Pryzbyla Room 351
Nov. 16, 2016
12:10 p.m. – 1:10 p.m.
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave NE, Washington DC 20064
Dr. Ernest Zampelli has 26 years of research and teaching experience as a Ph.D. economist. He has been a member of the faculty at The Catholic University of America since 1985, and has served as the Chair of the Department of Business and Economics between 1994 and 2000. Dr. Zampelli’s main research areas include: applied microeconomics, public sector economics, and energy economics.
For Disability Accommodations or Questions please contact CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu or (202) 319-5999.
Trump & Legitimation
The philosopher and social theorist, Jürgen Habermas, once described what he a termed a legitimation crisis for democracy.
Sharpening economic divides, he believed, required the state to intervene in the economy to defuse the division and ameliorate the tension between classes. In so doing though, the state itself ultimately cannot contain the divisions it has absorbed and they then spill over from politics and into culture. When such division spills over into society and culture, however, an irremediable problem is reached because the political order depends on faith and support from society and culture for its legitimacy. If the state is not seen to be legitimate, then everything would fly apart with divisions everywhere.
Facing this prospect, Habermas thought, the political order would try to fudge the genuine legitimacy from below that it needs by artificially generating “legitimation” from above. So the state uses promises policies of bread and circuses and cooks up tricks to invoke patriotism. In so doing the hope is that such legitimation tactics can be a substitute for real legitimacy derived from free citizens.
While Habermas several decades ago pretty much abandoned this analysis of legitimation, it seems surprisingly apt to help make theoretical sense of what’s been happening in the current politics of the United States.
In his old theory, however, a scary conclusion marked the endpoint. Because, as the political order tries to use its tricks of legitimation on culture and society to make up for its missing genuine legitimacy, those tricks gradually become transparent, outed, and begin to fail. People begin to realize that they are not really “freely” giving their support. They begin to perceive that they are being manipulated by these tricks of the state. They begin to see that the state’s effort at fomenting legitimation is really a kind of repression.
Once that realization of manipulation is widespread. The state’s last likely recourse, Habermas thought, is authoritarian oppression.
Americans have elected a President whose campaign offered little more than hyperbolic distortions and outright falsehoods regarding the state of our country and society. The economy is not in a shambles, trade and immigration are not the culprits in the economic stagnation of some in the Rust Belt or elsewhere, our inner cities, black and Latino neighborhoods are not overrun with crime and violence, ISIS was not born of the policies of Obama and Clinton, Obamacare is not a disaster, a wall will not keep undocumented immigrants out of the country, immigrants are not criminals and rapists, banning Muslim immigrants will not protect us from terrorist attacks, immigrants are not taking our jobs away and lowering wages, Trump’s economic policies will not bring manufacturing jobs back nor will they lead to economic growth rates that rival those of China and India, climate change is not a hoax, and clean coal is an oxymoron.
Those who voted for Trump because they genuinely believe such nonsense have been bamboozled and/or uninformed and/or misinformed. They can say what they will and try to defend themselves, but the data and the preponderance of respectable research lends little, if any, credibility to their views and perceptions. Those who knew or at least suspected that Trump was dispensing deceit but voted for him because of purported Christian values, family values, traditional values, etc., could not have elected a man whose values are more out of sync. They have elected a man who purposely sowed racial and religious divisions. They stand shoulder to shoulder with the white supremacists and fringe right-wing militias in their support. They have elected a misogynist and, and by his own admission, a sexual assailant. To me, that is indefensible.
But, given all that, the electorate has spoken and we have President-elect Donald Trump. We may like it or not, but we accept it because that is what Americans do. From this point on I hope that his rhetoric will cease being divisive, I hope that his policies will not follow from his campaign script, I hope that he surrounds himself with people who are unlike him, who challenge him, who know what it takes to govern, and who are willing to compromise for the good of us all.
What’s Not Surprising About President Trump
Donald Trump was elected 45th President of the United States. Here’s why that’s not surprising.
This race was the Republican party’s race to lose. In the modern political era, since the Constitution was changed to prevent a third term for a President, the incumbent party after an elected two term President has lost every attempt at a third term, with only one exception: in 1988 President George H.W. Bush won one election after the very popular Presidency of Ronald Reagan. In all Presidential races since the modern two party era, incumbent parties lose significant popular support to challengers, coalitions fray, particularly in battle ground states. Republicans winning in 2016 is completely expected historically, which is why a record number of Republican candidates entered the race.
The economy matters, and although the economy is steadily improving since the economic freefall of the 2008 recession, most Americans still feel insecure economically. Although the U.S. unemployment rate improved under President Obama, and is better than other countries, for the first time in U.S. history, over 40% of the workforce are contract workers, without job security, stability, with lower pay, and few to no benefits such as health care and retirement contributions. Most Americans do not have college degrees, and people without college degrees are more likely to be contract workers with greater uncertainty, as “good” blue collar, union, manufacturing jobs have decreased. Household income and home prices have not recovered from the 2008 recession. Corporate profits and the countries’ richest are doing well, but many families are still financially insecure. Economics is the number one issue for most voters, and the incumbent party loses when the economy is sluggish.
Older voters vote, and vote Republican. Younger voters are Democratic, but they do not vote. Aging baby boomers are the largest age demographic, and about 70% of them vote. This year’s Republican candidate chose a nostalgic theme of returning America to the greatness of days gone by. This won older voters in large numbers. Millennials are now nearly equal to baby boomers in demographic size (over 69 million people are in each group), but the majority of millennials do not vote. Younger voters did not vote in high enough numbers to counter the demographic bulge of the Baby Boomers.
White evangelicals only make up 25% of the electorate, but vote in large numbers, and 80% of them vote Republican. The religiously non-affiliated are the fastest growing religious demographic and vote democratic, but they do not vote in as large numbers.
Men win, especially white men in the United States. The United States has never had a female President, and has lower rates of women in political office than other developed countries. Over seventy countries have had women serve as head of state, including Britain, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Israel, Burundi, Central African Republic, and the Philippines. Women will vote for male candidates, but most U.S. men do not vote for women candidates. The gender gap in 2016 was wider than in any presidential election going back to 1972 (when the Equal Rights Amendment passed both houses of Congress).
It was going to be hard for any Democrat to win this year. The fact that Hilary Clinton made it close is due to both the hard work of her Latino outreach, and the unpopularity of Donald Trump. Donald Trump has the highest negative scores of any candidate, ever, so it took him longer to mobilize voters. Sixty percent of voters viewed him as unqualified for office, yet many, such as Mormons in Utah, “held their noses” and voted for him anyway. Had the Republicans chosen a less negative candidate, they might have sewn up this race months ago. Had the Democrats chosen a more working class candidate or one with better outreach to religious voters, they might have prevailed against Trump.
Although a Republican victory in 2016 is historically expected, here’s what was surprising about this election. The Republican candidate ran against key components of the Republican party, such as free trade, low tariffs, international trade agreements, national security alliances, and fiscal conservativism. Instead, a billionaire from Manhattan presented himself as the populist voice of working class voters, and won the votes of Middle America. A three-times married man who publicly and repeatedly bragged about his adultery and who does not attend church (the church he claims membership in took out a full page newspaper ad clarifying they had no record of his membership or attendance), who spent most of his life publicly supporting abortion, won 80% of the votes of “family values” religious conservative, white, evangelical voters. The populist, protectionist candidate, promising to protect workers and blue collar jobs was not the Democratic candidate but the Republican candidate. The Church- going, still married, candidate favoring free trade agreements was the Democratic candidate. So in some key themes, the parties reversed long-standing positions. Secretary Clinton won the popular vote, like Vice President Gore, in another unsuccessful bid for an incumbent party to win a third term. Could the Clinton campaign have done things differently? President Obama made outreach to religious groups a priority and won the Catholic vote, while the Clinton campaign did not. White working class counties that voted strongly for President Obama, this year supported a candidate who made racist “birther” attacks on President Obama. The Clinton campaign made a symbolic pledge to work toward removing the Hyde Amendment that bans federal money for abortion, a policy that has no chance of passing in Congress, perhaps in an effort to mobilize millennial women voters, but doing so undercut winning the Catholic vote. But Secretary Clinton has a track record of supporting the trade agreements that voters repudiated this year. She is an insider, inclusivist in a year when outsider, nationalists are being elected globally. While Donald Trump outsourced jobs to foreign factories for his businesses, he has never held any public office, so is not on record supporting the economic agreements that voters blame for economic insecurity. Philandering New York billionaires sometimes run as anti-elite, anti- refugee populists favoring protectionist trade measures and government spending on infrastructure, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but in the past they have not called themselves Republicans.
Some Observations on the Election of Donald Trump
Like so many other political scientists, I’ve been spending this week trying to sort through what the election of Donald Trump means, why it happened, and what will happen next. Here are some of my initial thoughts and observations.
1. A win for the “G.O.P.” Republicans did very well on election night, not only winning the presidency but also many U.S. Senate and House seats they were predicted to lose. I put “G.O.P.” in quotes, however, because many of those candidates—Trump included—have starkly different policy views. Trump, after all, was once far more liberal, and even now some of his policy positions (protect Social Security, spend money on infrastructure) sound more like ideas from the Democratic Party’s playbook. Expect to see clashes between Trump and congressional Republicans in the year ahead.
2. Democrats win the national vote yet again. Clinton made history twice on election night. Not only was she first woman presidential nominee of a major political party, she won the popular vote—the first time that one party has won the most votes in six of the past seven presidential elections. Clinton still lost, of course, but it speaks to the fundamental electoral challenges that face the G.O.P. It may also renew efforts to reform the way we elect presidents.
3. A massive fail for political scientists, myself included. This has been written about elsewhere, but it’s worth reiterating just how wrong most (though not all) political scientists and pundits were about the election. Among my own mistakes: assuming that the polls were right, despite knowing survey firms are increasingly unable to reach voters; giving too much credit to “get out the vote” efforts as the way to win elections; assuming that nationalism and racial (white) identity no longer matter to voters; and neglecting well-established statistical models that had predicted an extremely narrow election, some even pointing to a Trump victory.
4. The need for checks on broad executive power. This last point is what keeps me up at night. As a candidate, Trump made boasts that sounded like what one would hear from a petty dictator: jailing Hillary Clinton, firing the speaker of the House, and insisting that he alone could solve people’s problems. We have no idea if Trump will follow through on any of these promises, but they clearly call into question Trump’s willingness to follow constitutional principles. I am highly skeptical that the congressional Republicans who freely called President Obama a “czar” and “dictator” will be similarly critical of an imperial presidency if it means crossing Trump. That’s bad news for American democracy.
5. An opportunity to reform. The presidential campaign, as divisive and nasty as it was, has given us an opportunity to see just how important it is to reform our political institutions. The parties’ nomination processes are clearly broken; it’s hard to remember the last time voters had such poor choices for president. Congress should look seriously at how to strengthen and improve itself—something it hasn’t done in decades—as well as how to curtail the multitude of powers it has given the executive branch over the years. Finally, if I had my druthers, I would require every member of Congress to visit at least one district or state that voted for the opposite party, talk to people who live there, and understand why they voted as they did. That may do more to reduce mindless party conflict in Congress than anything else—and, by extension, help our representative government better represent the people.
Unity in Trump’s America Must Begin with Protecting Vulnerable Communities
Meghan Clark writes in Millennial:
There can be no reconciliation without justice. There can be no justice without the protection of vulnerable communities, eliminating the legitimate reasons for fear, and rejecting white supremacy. We can assume that many voted for Trump in spite of this rhetoric or under the assumption that he didn’t really mean it. Whether or not he or his voters “meant it,” electing Trump legitimatized the very worst of this nation. If we want unity and to build bridges moving forward, if we want to have honest conversations about how and why people voted for Trump in spite of calls to expel millions, build a giant wall, ban Muslims, and joke about sexually assaulting women, there first needs to be a universal condemnation of this violence against communities of color, Muslims, and women.
You can read the full article here.
A Religious View Towards Building an Economic System that Protects the Vulnerable and Promotes Universal Prosperity
November 9, 2016
Reception to follow
Father O’Connell Hall
The Catholic University of America (CUA)
620 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20064
To register, please click here.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, international institutions are focusing on crisis prevention and addressing inequality. While there is broad agreement on the causes of these world-wide problems, solutions continue to be debated. Pope Francis, during his 2015 address to the United Nations, was specific in the need to resolve debt and financial crisis through predictable processes and policies. For twenty years the Catholic Church and most major faith groups advocated for a “Jubilee” and raised awareness on the impact of financial crisis on the most vulnerable. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi’s lecture explores what it means to build an inclusive financial system and address the structural causes of extreme poverty. His comments will reflect on how tax, trade and debt policies can and should address these issues.
This critical address comes as trade pacts like the Trans Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership continue to be negotiated for passage. The IMF and United Nations are debating improving debt restructuring and enacting a global bankruptcy process to stave off economic crisis. Globally, world leaders are focusing on the link between tax evasion, corruption and inequality. What is a religious view to resolving these issues? What policy prescriptions do we need to build consensus on?
Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
Former Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations
Archbishop Roberto González
Diocese of San Juan, Puerto Rico
Policy Specialist, United Nations Development Programme
Reverend Aniedi Okure, OP
Executive Director, Africa Faith and Justice Network
Fellow, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at CUA
Maryanne Cusimano Love
Associate Professor of International Relations, Catholic University of America
Dr. Stephen M. Colecchi, Director
Office of International Justice and Peace United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Sponsors: Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at CUA, and Jubilee USA.
Please note that parking near Father O’Connell Hall is relaxed.
Metro: While CUA is located right next to the Brookland-CUA Metro Stop, currently, due to Safetrack, we highly recommend that attendees drive to the event, rather than take the Metro.
For Directions to CUA, please see the link below:
For disability accommodations or questions please contact iprcua.com, CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu, or (202) 319-5999.
IPR Fellow and Assoc. Prof. of International Relations, Politics Dept.
Thursday, November 3
12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Edward J. Pryzbyla Center, Room 351
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20064
Dr. Maryann Cusimano Love is an Associate Professor of International Relations in the Politics Department of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. She is on the Core Group for the Department of State’s working group on Religion and Foreign Policy, charged with making recommendations to the Secretary of State and the Federal Advisory Commission on how the US government can better engage with civil society and religious actors in foreign policy.
For Disability Accommodations or Questions please contact CUA-IPRStaff@cua.edu or (202) 319-5999