This essay introduces a special issue of Nova Religio on magic and politics in the United States in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election. The articles in this issue address a gap in the literature examining intersections of religion, magic, and politics in contemporary North America. They approach political magic as an essentially religious phenomenon, in that it deals with the spirit world and attempts to motivate human behavior through the use of symbols. Covering a range of practices from the far right to the far left, the articles argue against prevailing scholarly treatments of the use of esoteric technologies as a predominantly right-wing phenomenon, showing how they have also been operationalized by the left in recent history. They showcase the creativity of magic as a form of human cultural expression, and demonstrate how magic coexists with rationality in contemporary western settings.

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