The use of political magic is one of the remarkable and unexpected cultural features to emerge from the 2016 presidential election in the United States. Using a combination of digital and face-to-face ethnography, this article explores the emergence of a movement dedicated to resisting the Donald Trump administration through witchcraft and magic. Applying the lens of Italian ethnologist Ernesto de Martino, it argues that the 2016 election created a “crisis of presence” for many left-leaning Americans who experienced it as a failure of agency. Their turn to magic was in response to feelings of anxiety and helplessness. Drawing from the approach of anthropologist James C. Scott, it analyzes magic as an art of resistance, an aesthetic, performative, as well as political response. Finally, it examines the fissures within the magical resistance as clashes in ethics, aesthetics, and beliefs associated with magic came to the fore, effectively splintering the magic resistance movement and rendering it less effective.

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