Is There a Political Home for Those Who Seek Solidarity Not Sectarian Supremacy?

Michael Gerson writes:

Donald Trump’s reelection would entrench a particularly vicious brand of know-nothingism, advocated with tireless arrogance, combined with resolute ignorance, enabled by steadfast sycophancy….

In most of Europe (and Latin America), an alternative would be obvious: a movement known as “Christian democracy.” This approach emerged under mainly Catholic influence in the 19th century. It combined center-right views on most social issues with center-left approaches to economic justice based on solidarity with the poor and vulnerable. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a Christian Democrat. In the United States, compassionate conservatives might be placed in this ideological space. So would pro-life Democrats such as the late governor Bob Casey of Pennsylvania.

If you look at the Democracy Fund’s chart of the ideological distribution of U.S. voters, there are a significant number who fall into the quadrant of socially conservative and economically liberal — far more than are found in the libertarian quadrant of socially liberal and economically conservative.

Yet there has never been the (more pluralistic) U.S. equivalent of a Christian Democratic party….

“The Democratic Party of the New Deal and the mid-20th century was a compatible home offering economic progress and a safety net without undermining basic institutions,” says John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life at Georgetown University. In the 1970s, Democrats such as Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden had pro-life records. But this changed quickly and dramatically as the Democratic Party become more monolithically pro-choice….

Pro-life Democrats such as Carr, and Protestants influenced by Catholic social thought like me, and Jewish, Mormon and non-religious people who view social solidarity as a central commitment have been left homeless. “This is the missing option in American politics,” Carr told me.

American politics will be improved and humanized when some party gives this solidarity movement — rather than Christian supremacy — a comfortable political home.