Joel Belz – An informal presidential poll


MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Today is Wednesday, February 19th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Megan Basham.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. WORLD founder Joel Belz now on decision 2020.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: To say that President Donald Trump marches to his own drum is to cut off debate before it even begins. You may or may not like his governing style—but you have to agree it’s been a unique approach.

Suppose one of his aides were to email you this week to say: “The president is seeking some thoughtful outside-the-box thinking. If you could change one thing about his administration, what would it be?”

Fantasy? Perhaps. But I was intrigued. So I emailed several dozen folks, randomly drawn from my laptop’s address book, and asked that very question. I also asked how this issue might affect their votes.

I received a lot of responses—and fast. Here are five samples.

Quoting now: “I would prefer that the administration be more outspokenly sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants, particularly to women and children. Other than that, I have no problems with the administration as such. I do have problems with Trump personally: his childish tweets, arrogance, and self-centeredness. But his appointments have been spectacular, so I’ll vote for him again.”

Here’s another one: “Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to possess either personal humility or national humility. He spent the State of the Union address basically bragging. At one point he gave some credit to Congress, but not much. He seems to see everything through a lens of money—the love of money.”

And another: “Trump has a big ego, and he fights like a junkyard dog. But he fights to win, and he could not care less what the rest of Washington thinks. I say more power to him, because I don’t see anyone else out there with the confidence and the backbone to shake the status quo like he has.”

Here’s the fourth: “Trump’s overall character. That includes his demeaning lawmakers, world leaders, reporters, and various minorities in his speeches, tweets, and live events. His character has made a mockery of the office, and made it into what I think he really wanted—a reality show.”

And finally—quote—“That he himself were capable of demonstrating integrity and honesty—and a commitment to heal partisan divides. [I did not vote for Trump last time. But I also did not vote for his opponent. This time, I may well vote for his opponent. It would be the first time I have voted for a Democrat in a presidential election.]”

Please take note! There’s nothing scientific about this tiny sample of the folks in my address book. But I’ve been around long enough to suggest that little pictures like these can be a decent predictor of what lies down the road. There are lots of nuances. 

Only one in five expressed openness to voting for Trump’s opponent. Watch that ratio over the next nine months—and consider how a nation’s loss of consensus on important issues can be felt even in our personal address books.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Joel Belz.


(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump speaks with reporters as he boards Air Force One as he departs Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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