The Democratic Party has been hijacked by elites hostile to religion, said Mark Stricherz, author of the book "Why Democrats are Blue" and a Democrat himself, during the Casey Lecture delivered on Tuesday at the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Casey Series of Lectures was started by the Archdiocese of Denver in 2006 to promote Catholic thinking in political life, inspired by the life and political activism of the late Pennsylvania Governor Robert Casey, a devout Catholic and a Democrat.
Stricherz, who has focused his investigation on the historical transition that turned the Democrats from a Catholic-friendly organization to the pro-abortion rights party it is today, explained the decisive role played in American politics by staunch Catholic Democrats like Gov. Casey, Robert Kennedy and David Lawrence.
"These politicians provided a political leadership and a push for human rights based on religious convictions and personal prayer life, thus becoming promoters of Christian Humanist values," he said.
Explaining an argument he makes in his book, Stricherz said that the Democratic Party created internal rules that favor Secular elites and limit the participation of common people. He mentioned caucuses in Iowa as an example: they are established to run from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., "preventing the participation of common people like third-shifters, military men and women or young mothers.” As a consequence, "56% of those attending the caucuses are pro- choice folks," he said.
Thus, Secularism and hostility to religion have become the dividing line between the Democratic Party of the past and today's Democratic leaders.
Asked about how to change the Democratic Party back to its original connection with average Americans, Stricherz said that is was critical to democratize the internal process, but added that, "I just don't see the constituency, the drive to bring that change... those with college degrees, who tend to be more secular are in control of the party, whereas more religious, working folks are kept out of the loop."
"There have been some small victories from the pro-life people inside the Democratic Party, they are very small, but I encourage people to take up the fight... even if I am very skeptical about the results."
Stricherz highlighted the importance of bringing the common people back to power. "I think the average folks are more commonsensical and less inclined to corruption than the elites." "I would take the first hundred people from the phone book in Boston rather than the first 100 academics from Harvard to run the country."
Finally, he said that, despite current polls, Republican presidential candidate John McCain has a greater chance to win the election because "the Republican party has a more democratic process of candidate-selection, and therefore have chosen the strongest candidate; whereas the Democratic Party’s system promotes the desires of the political leadership and [they] have selected the weakest candidate."