Young Republicans split from Trump and GOP elders in US foreign policy: 3 charts 3
Regardless of the outcome of the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump, the Republican Party must now decide whether to maintain or abandon Trump-era politics during the Biden administration. Among them is Trump’s “America first“Foreign Policy Agenda.
Trump portrayed the United States as dominant, self-sufficient World leader that takes little, but submission from other countries. He was skeptical of trade and hostile to China, and he eschewed global diplomacy in favor of military saber rattle.
That may not be the future of GOP foreign policy, like that my political science research. I analyzed four polls conducted during the Trump administration that asked Americans on foreign policy issues. When I broke the answers down by party and age, I found that younger Republicans from Trump’s “America first” Agenda.
Indeed, on some foreign policy issues, from China to trade, young Republicans are closer to mainstream democracy on the ideological spectrum than their Republican elders.
Trump card advocated economic protectionism and demonstrated a general Aversion to trade and other aspects of economic globalization. But young Republicans think out loud a. not necessarily like that 2017 Chicago Council on Global Affairs poll.
Despite Trump’s description of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as “perhaps the worst trade deal ever“Half of Republicans under 35 see it as good for the US economy.
Republicans 35 and older were more attached to Trump’s position: only a third thought it was good for the economy.
Among the Democrats polled by the Chicago Council, support for NAFTA was over 70% in all age groups.
The polls showed general bipartisan agreement across all age groups that the United States is militarily superior to China.
But younger Republicans are almost twice as likely as older to believe that China has a stronger economy than the United States – 43% for Republicans under 35 versus 23% for those over 35, according to the Chicago Council poll.
Recognition of China’s economic power, however, does not lead to younger GOP members demonstrating Trump-style hostility towards China. in the Poll by Fox News in May 2020 News, 42% of Republicans under 35 identified China as “the United States’ worst enemy”. For Republicans 35 and over, it was 60%.
Age-related disagreements about China lead to age-related Republican political preferences. The vast majority of senior Republicans – 81% – supported Trump Punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, a Chicago Council poll 2019 found. Only 60% of Republicans under 35 agreed.
The Democrats have been largely consistent in their stance toward China. About one in five people, regardless of age, consider China to be the United States’ worst enemy; around 1 in 4 are in favor of increasing tariffs on Chinese imports.
3. Defense spending
When it comes to funding the US military and national defense, both parties show a generation gap.
In the 2017 Chicago Council poll, 64% of Republicans 35 and older said national defense spending should be increased. Only 40% of Republicans under 35 agreed.
Few Democrats of any age believe that defense spending should be increased, and some young Democrats deviate from party elders when they think the defense budget should be cut. Half of Democrats under 35 would cut defense spending and a third of older Democrats.
A non-partisan future?
I study the political views of young people to shed some light on where American foreign policy could lead in the years and decades to come.
Young Americans vote and run for national office at historic rates. The Number of Millennial Congressional Candidates almost tripled between 2018 and 2020, according to the Millennial action project. In last year’s election, 251 candidates for Congress were 45 years or younger; 97 of these young candidates were Republicans.
As more and more young candidates begin to win and fill office, their views will influence their party’s political agendas in the post-Trump era.
The polls I studied show that younger Republicans have a more centrist attitude towards economic globalization, China, and defense spending than party elders. In a political climate that is highly polarized, these data could point to a slow trend towards more bipartisan agreement certain foreign policy issues.
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