Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters recently gave an interview with The Spectator in which he detailed his blueprint vision for a new post-Trumpian America.
In Masters’ populist vision, America is under assault from exterior threats by China as well as immigration. Moreover, Masters very wisely notes that the Left now has near complete, full-spectrum dominance over the bulk of government and cultural institutions. Masters also rightly points out that the American middle class is in a state of free fall collapse and the bulk of the ruling class seems completely oblivious to this. Finally, and very interestingly (for a Republican political candidate), Masters expresses openness to raising taxes on the super-rich—as long as those taxes are spent wisely.
What is also curiously missing from Masters’ interview is any mention of the pro-life movement or the defense of traditional marriage, two key elements of the Republican platform, at least since the Gingrich Revolution of the 1990s.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
Sign up to get Crisis articles delivered to your inbox daily
Indeed, such former staples of the social conservative movement are conspicuously absent from his (very moving) recent campaign video.
To understand this absence, we can look at two key factors.
The first is the apparent decline of Christianity in America.
For the anti-Christian Left, the abuse crisis in the Church has been a gift that keeps on giving, allowing for the corrupt media to attempt to bully and intimidate Catholic leaders. Moreover, during the era of Pope Francis, American Catholics are increasingly fatigued by confusion and uneasiness, which is only aggravated by LeftCaths as well as, sad to say, bad actors in the traditionalist movement. Finally, Evangelical Protestantism is experiencing a similar crisis, and, at least in some sectors, appears to be in a state of implosion. As a result, at least some Republican voters are much more concerned with tariffs than with protecting children in the womb.
The second key explanation for Masters’ shedding of the rhetoric of social conservativism is his backing by billionaire tycoon Peter Thiel.
Like Masters, Thiel is an aggressive, America First patriot who rightly stresses the tremendous toll “woke capital,” or the combination of corporate capitalism and Cultural Marxism, has taken on America.
Moreover, much about Thiel, like Masters, is attractive to Catholics.
A skilled writer and immensely educated man, Peter Thiel has built a financial and political empire with which he is now fighting to reclaim America from the Left.
Finally, although not a Catholic, Thiel does consider himself a Christian.
There is only one key flaw in Thiel’s portfolio: he identifies as a gay man and advocates the normalization of homosexuality within the Republican Party.
Faced with the choice between the old guard of the Republican Party and the Democrats, many Catholics are attracted to the “Thiel Coalition,” which also includes Ohio Senate Candidate J.D. Vance.
However, the absence of a strong stance on social issues stands out as a thorny issue.
With their take-no-prisoners populist approach, the Thiel Coalition very much resembles not only former president Donald Trump but also the last major president to take the cultural Left head on: Richard Nixon.
Nixon’s aggression, fortitude, and very high intelligence (Alan Greenspan once remarked that Nixon was the most intelligent American president that he had met) are all echoed in the Thiel Coalition.
Moreover, like the Thiel Coalition, Nixon’s views on social issues did not fully align with the Church’s teaching.
Although he viewed abortion as a bad thing, Nixon infamously allowed for abortion in certain cases.
Nonetheless, Nixon was able to bring a significant number of Catholics into his coalition by promising to restore law and order to America.
Many Catholic theologians have argued that it is permissible to vote for the lesser of two evils, and thus a vote by Arizona or Ohio Catholics for Blake Masters or J.D. Vance may be the best choice in the end.
Moreover, Masters and Vance both have a number of planks in their platform that ally with Catholic social teaching, and it must be said that they may just be being quiet(er) about life and marriage issues for which they do, in fact, take a stance that is amenable to Church teaching.
Nonetheless, the elephant in the room is the absence of lay Catholic leadership in American politics.
St. Thomas Aquinas noted the importance of an authentic aristocracy that was virtuous. Drawing from the Roman philosopher Cicero, Aquinas writes in his 1267 work De Regno that rule by “a few men of virtue…is called an aristocracy, i.e., noble governance, or governance by noble men, who for this reason are called the Optimates.”
Where are these Catholic “Optimates”?
What is needed are Catholic political candidates that present a whole and comprehensive political vision. This political vision would include a robust and vocal defense of the family and unborn life. It would also include a recognition of the right of Americans to preserve their heritage and culture. Moreover, it would advocate for economic policies in line with Church teaching. It would, ultimately, labor toward the creation of a true “civilization of love” in which Americans would be freed from this emerging technocratic tyranny, for only by rooting politics in the teaching of the Gospel can America become great again.
[Photo: Peter Thiel (John Lamparski/Getty Images)]