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More Election Analysis: Chris Korzen

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Instead of the usual Q & A, this week and next, I am running a series of commentaries on the election results. Today's comes from Chris Korzen, head of the progressive Catholic group, Catholics United.

Chris Korzen: Americans know who they voted against on Election Day. Do they know who they voted for?

The GOP owes its Election Day victories to several factors: gobs of corporate cash, the Democratic Party's failure to communicate its many positive accomplishments, and poor turnout from African Americans, Latinos, and young people. But it was the electorate's frustration with slow progress on the economic front that ultimately drove many to pull the Republican lever. It remains to be seen whether these voters will come to wish they'd put more thought into their decisions.

Postcard: St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church

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I am in Hartford, Connecticut today and had some extra time on my hand, so I walked over to St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, which is located just behind the Civic Center. Back in 2004, when I was living in Connecticut, I would drive in the 40 minutes to worship here. The liturgies were splendid, lost of participation, fine music, good sermons. The church itself is very beautiful with brilliant stained glass windows, exquisitely carved Stations of the Cross, etc. My only criticism is that the church, like almost every church in Hartford, has an organ from the local organ building firm, Austin Organs. These are noisy, unsophisticated instruments that do not do justice to the many acoustically rich spaces in the city, including the nearby Cathedral of St. Joseph and the otherwise impeccable chapel at Trinity College.
They move a lot of lumber at St. Patrick-St. Anthony, with many parishioners involved in various social justice ministries that aid the many poor and homeless of Hartford. There is a soup kitchen that serves breakfast and lunch nearby. There is an Urban Center where various community groups and twelve-step programs meet. There is a shelter.

On Credulity

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Credulity has become an issue in America’s political life.

One of the great things about coming home to Connecticut is that in a really small town – population about 1600 – you encounter all types relatively easily. The neighborhood self-selection that goes on in urban and suburban areas, the self-selection that guarantees you will only encounter people of similar socio-economic, racial, and ethnic backgrounds when you make a walk, that has not come to northeastern Connecticut. Here you meet uber-liberals and uber-conservatives at the General Store, the only commercial enterprise on our Main Street.

Mark Silk on the God Gap

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Mark Silk examines the reasons for the re-emergance of the "God gap" in our elections.
This will, I am sure, become a central concern in the post-mortems and rightly so. There is only one thing I want to point out at this time. The issue is not just whether or not the White House or the DNC does adequate faith-outreach. The question is: Does it make a difference? It doesn't do any good to have the President invite Catholic bishops into the Oval Office when they are in Washington as Bush formerly did - unless he is going to actually listen to what they have to say. Key players in this White House, such as domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes, think they understand the God gap but they don't. Barnes kept her fingers in faith-outreach when she worked at the Center for American Progress but that organization only knows how to preach to the choir. Newsflash: Rev. Jim Wallis is a gret guy but he is not a swing voter.

Bi-Partisan Idea # 2

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In a country that is highly polarized, as ours is today, finding bi-partisan points of agreement is not so easy. But, it is imperative for President Barack Obama to find new ways of working with the Republicans because they are not likely to be going anywhere. Americans see divided government as a way of ensuring moderation, but it can just as easily produce gridlock. Obama must decide on what issues to stand firm and what issues to work for compromise.

More Election Analysis

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As mentioned, instead of the usual Q & A this week and next, because of the election, I am using this space to feature analysis from prominent Catholics on the recent election.
Over at the newly launched website of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, Professor Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy research and Catholic Studies at Catholic University, has an analysis that is both very smart and very depressing. You can read it here.

Nate Silver on the Latino Vote

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Nate Silver, who authors the indispensible fivethirtyeight blog at the New York Times, writes that polls missed an average 2.3 percent advantage for Democrats in states with large Latino populations. Silver does not examine the impact of down-ballot races that featured Latino candidates. But, he does note that pollsters are going to have to look at this in the future: Latinos who prefer to speak Spanish are also especially likely to vote Democratic, and pollsters that do not conduct bi-lingual polls may miss a key, and growing, part of the electorate.

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July 18-31, 2014

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