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The Religious Vote: An American Tradition

Pollsters and election analysts will tell you that Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton was partly due to his capturing the evangelical vote. The impact of organized religion extends past the voting booth, however, influencing policy on both the state and federal levels. One might think this dynamic is a relatively recent phenomenon, but politicians have courted, and listened to, clergy and faith-based voters since the earliest days of the nation. Historian Spencer McBride takes a fascinating look at this political relationship in his new book, Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and Politics of Revolutionary America. We will leave it to the reader to draw the parallels between recent political events and a culture in which religious expression was due as much to "the calculated design of ambitious men seeking power as it was the natural outgrowth of devoutly religious people." McBride has been on the stump, promoting his book: you may read his Author's Corner Q&A on the Way of Improvement Leads Home web site and his guest post on Early American history blog the Junto, or listen to his interview on the LDS Perspectives podcast.

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