Trump-ing Foreign Affairs: Status Threat and Foreign Policy Preferences on the Right

Trump-ing Foreign Affairs: Status Threat and Foreign Policy Preferences on the Right

by Rachel Marie BlumMiami University and Christopher Sebastian Parker, University of Washington

President Trump is often at odds with the conservative establishment over a range of issues, not least of which is foreign policy. Yet it remains unclear whether supporting “Trumpism” is commensurate with coherent foreign policy views that are distinct from conventionally conservative positions. We evaluate whether the foreign policy views of Trump’s supporters, both in the voting public and among activists, differ from those of other Republicans. We use the 2016 ANES to examine Republican primary voters and the new 2016 State Convention Delegate Study to assess Republican activists. In doing so, we reveal systematic differences in foreign policy preferences between Trump supporters and more establishment conservatives. We demonstrate that the status-threat model need not be confined to domestic politics. Indeed, it may be extended to explain foreign policy preferences on the political right, that of Trump’s supporters in the present case. In doing so, we also find evidence that status threat may well be the source of fracture in the Republican Party.

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