U.S. presidential elections rarely focus on foreign policy, and the 2020 election campaign has been no exception so far. In fact, international affairs appear to be taking even more of a back seat during the current election season as the nation focuses on the domestic economy, racial justice issues, and a public health crisis. Even so, international relations (IR) experts believe that the election outcome will have outsized implications for U.S. foreign policy and America’s place in the world.
In mid-September, the Teaching, Research, and International Policy Project at William & Mary’s Global Research Institute, with the support of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, surveyed IR scholars at U.S. colleges and universities on the consequences of the presidential election for U.S. foreign policy. The results we report below are based on responses from the 706 scholars who responded to our invitation to participate in the survey.
Respondents see glaring differences between President Donald Trump and Democratic contender Joe Biden’s policies on climate change, global health, and engagement with multilateral organizations, as well as the likelihood that other countries will cooperate with a United States led by each candidate. IR scholars see a similarly large gap in the candidates’ respective competence and ability to effectively implement their different policy agendas. In sum, the respondents give Trump a failing grade on foreign policy. (Complete results can be found here.)