The Foreign Policy Establishment or Donald Trump: Which Better Reflects American Opinion?

It is an open secret that most US foreign policy experts opposed the presidency of Donald Trump. In fact, more than one hundred Republican foreign policy professionals went so far as to sign an open letter declaring that they would not vote for him. For his part, as a candidate, President Trump pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington and said he would never take advice from the so-called foreign policy establishment, dubbed “The Blob” by a former Obama official.

The 2016 Chicago Council Leadership Survey, conducted before the November election, showed that, for the most part, there was a bipartisan consensus among US foreign policy opinion leaders on active US engagement with the world, maintaining US alliances around the globe, and the benefits of international trade. In fact, the views among Republican and Democratic foreign policy experts more often aligned with each other than with the portion of the general public affiliated with their same party.

Some may interpret the election of Donald Trump as the general public’s rejection of this elite consensus. But the 2016 Chicago Council public opinion survey, also conducted before the election, showed that rather than aligning with the foreign policy views of President Trump, the general public was more attuned to the broad outlines of foreign policy positions promoted by the foreign policy opinion leaders, or “the Foreign Policy Establishment.” CONT.

Chicago Council on Global Affairs