Skip to Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life Full Site Menu Skip to main content
May 22, 2019

Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Campaign

Showing the Faith and the Faithful in the 2020 Campaign Video

The place of faith and the roles of the faithful in U.S. politics are often misunderstood or neglected; generate confusion and conflict; and create challenges for religious communities and political leaders. The early stages of the 2020 U.S. presidential campaign offer both surprising developments and consistent themes regarding the role of religion and religious voters. Several Democratic candidates are speaking openly and personally about their own faith and how biblical values shape their lives, public service, and policy directions. President Donald Trump continues to win support from most white evangelical Christians but divides the Catholic community. Abortion, immigration, religious freedom, and racial justice are central questions facing the nation and religious voters, with implications for both the United States and the world.

This Public Dialogue offered an early analysis and identified factors to watch on the way faith and the faithful are shaping the presidential campaign and how they could impact its outcome. Journalists and analysts offered a review of recent trends, an examination of the current campaign, and a preview of how faith might play out in the 2020 elections.


  • Christine Emba writes about ideas and politics for the Washington Post's opinions section and was the Hilton Kramer Fellow in Criticism at the New Criterion, a deputy editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit, and a writer at First Things.
  • Jack Jenkins is a journalist and national reporter for Religion News Service covering religion and politics and the former senior religion reporter at ThinkProgress.
  • Michael McCurry was press secretary to President Bill Clinton, former co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, and a professor at Wesley Theological Seminary.
  • Michael Steele is a political analyst for MSNBC, former chairperson of the Republican National Committee, and the former lieutenant governor of Maryland.

John Carr, director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, moderated the conversation. Kim Daniels, associate director of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, opened the dialogue.