How Foreign Policy Issues Could Shape Primary, General Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As we continue to monitor the situation in Israel, political scientists said the conflict between Israel and Hamas will have an impact on our primary elections. Depending on how long the conflict continues, we could see foreign policy taking a larger focus in the 2024 general elections.  

Dr. Todd Belt, a professor and director of political management at George Washington University, said traditionally foreign policy doesn’t have too much of an influence in the outcome of a presidential general election unless the US is heavily involved in providing a lot of aid or soldiers. However, the Israel and Hamas conflict has taken center stage in primary debates. Belt said some of the recent GOP primary debates have focused on foreign policy issues. Unless the fighting between Israel and Hamas continues within the next eleven months, Belt doesn’t believe it will have a strong influence on voters in the general election. He said voters for the general election will be concerned mostly about the economy.  

“The Biden administration has eleven months to turn around their messaging and tell people the economy is not as bad as they think it is and to highlight the important changes that they’ve made that might result in some long-term economic growth,” said Belt. “For the republicans, they’re also going to want to tie Biden to the economy and peoples current negative view of the current inflation crisis even though inflation has gone down prices still remain high they haven’t come down to pre-COVID levels.” 

While foreign policy might not be a priority for voters in the general election, Belt believes abortion and immigration could be big talking points.