How Voters See U.S. Foreign Policy Ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election

How Voters See U.S. Foreign Policy Ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election
A voter on his way to a polling station in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 6, 2018 (Photo by Britta Pedersen for dpa via AP Images).

The Trump administration’s foreign policy is deeply unpopular in the United States, even while his “America First” rhetoric resonates with a significant subset of Americans. Most voters do not understand the meaning of traditional foreign policy concepts like “maintaining the liberal international order.” And while Americans are increasingly divided along generational lines about what the U.S. should prioritize in its dealings with the rest of the world, they are united in their desire for investments in infrastructure and social services to make the country more globally competitive.

These are just a few takeaways from a new report out this month from the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank in Washington. The report, titled “America Adrift: How the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate Misses What Voters Really Want,” is based on quantitative and qualitative surveys of Americans’ opinions on a wide range of foreign policy issues.

In this week’s podcast interview, Brian Katulis, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and one of the report’s co-authors, talks with WPR’s associate editor, Elliot Waldman, about what policymakers in Washington and presidential candidates can learn from American voters’ views on foreign policy.

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Relevant Articles on WPR:
Are Elites Driving the U.S. Foreign Policy Debate, or Everyday Americans?
How Foreign Policy Will Play Out in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Race
Americans Are Paying for Trump’s Tariffs, Including Many in His Base
After Trump: The Next U.S. President’s ‘To Do’ List for Repairing the Damage

Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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