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Christian nationalism's influence on American politics

Christian nationalists' support for Trump helped elect him to office.
Christian nationalists' support for Trump helped elect him to office.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania has not been shy about his faith in his campaign speeches. When he won his primary in May, the Associated Press described his victory party as an “evangelical worship service.” He referenced Bible scripture, and warned about the “darkness” of the Democrats. This rhetoric is just one example of a growing ideology among the GOP called Christian nationalism.

Sociologist Andrew Whitehead defines Christian nationalism as “a cultural framework that is all about trying to advocate for a fusion between Christianity — as they define it — and American civic life.”

Christian nationalists had a huge influence in electing Donald Trump as president in 2016, believing he was their only hope to keep America Christian, NPR reported. And symbols of Christian nationalism could be seen all over the attack on the Capitol.

Investigative journalist Katherine Stewart has called this ideology “one of Trump’s most powerful weapons.” She and other experts warn that Christian nationalism is only getting more mainstream and dangerous — as this midterm election has proven with candidates like Doug Mastriano.

So how much influence does Christian nationalism have on American politics? And how big a threat does it pose to democracy?

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