WTH Are Americans Thinking About November?
Mark Penn Explains His Newest Data


Super Tuesday wrapped up as predicted, with Trump sweeping the GOP win and Haley dropping out. Barring a meteorite, this means we are locked into a Trump-Biden rematch. But the newest Harvard-Harris CAPS poll reveals an America that is not as certain as primary voting behavior suggests – overwhelmingly, they profess a desire for a non-Biden non-Trump choice at the polls. For voters, immigration has become a national priority, even in states (Alaska) that are nowhere close to the southern border. Meanwhile, inflation, which affects everyone, has moved farther down in voters’ anxieties. And then there’s the large majority of voters who are comfortable marking on a poll that they believe Trump is a felon or that Biden is incompetent, but then vote for them anyway. This week, we try to get some clarity about these puzzling contradictions.

Mark Penn is the chairman of the Harris Poll, as well as leading research companies including the National Research Group, Harris Insights & Analytics and HarrisX. He is the co-founder of the Harvard-Harris Poll, a monthly poll on key public opinion topics crucial to Americans like taxes and healthcare. He’s also the president and managing partner of the Stagwell Group, a private equity fund. He previously held senior executive roles with Microsoft, WPP, and senior strategic roles on electoral campaigns for President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton, and Prime Minister Tony Blair.

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Two years ago, at the start of the war in Ukraine, $300 billion in Russian assets were frozen in Western banks. The assumption behind Western economic pressure on Russia was that sanctions and seizures of oligarchs’ funds would have a chilling effect on both Russia’s economy and the pursuit of the war in Ukraine. They have not. As a result, for only the second time in history, the United States is considering seizing Russian assets. Congress, in the lead, has brought the Biden administration around. The President needs new authorities to move forward. But seizing the frozen $300 billion – only $5 billion of which is in the United States – and re-distributing it to Ukraine for reconstruction and other reparation efforts is fraught. Will the Euros go along? Will this radical change affect how states approach seizing aggressors’ assets? Perhaps more importantly, is the Biden administration’s signal of approval for the policy just talk, or will Washington finally pull together measures that hit Russia where it hurts?

Stephen Rademaker, currently Senior of Counsel at Covington and Burling LLP, has wide-ranging experience working on national security issues in the White House, the State Department, and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Serving as an Assistant Secretary of State from 2002 through 2006, he headed at various times three bureaus of the State Department, including the Bureau of Arms Control and the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. Previously, he served as the Senate Majority Leader, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Bush 41 National Security Council, the Peace Corps, and the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State.

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Since Russia invaded Ukraine exactly two years ago, Yaroslav Trofimov has been covering the war on the ground. His newest book, Our Enemies Will Vanish: The Russian Invasion and Ukraine’s War of Independence, is a stunning account of the lead-up to the war and how Ukraine has consistently upended the conventional wisdom about its prospects for victory. But in recent weeks, the Ukrainians have faltered, with support from the United States hung up in a divided Congress. What is the lesson of history? That our enemies will vanish – as long as America is resolute.

Yaroslav Trofimov is the chief foreign affairs correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. He has covered the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in 2021 and has been working out of Ukraine since January 2022. He joined the Journal in 1999 and previously served as Rome, Middle East and Singapore-based Asia correspondent, as bureau chief in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as Dubai-based columnist on the greater Middle East. He is the author of three books, Our Enemies Will Vanish (2024), Faith at War (2005) and Siege of Mecca (2007).

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Alexei Navalny was allowed one book in his Siberian prison. He chose Fear No Evil by former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who joins us for an important conversation today to speak about his correspondence with Navalny and his own experience in a Siberian forced labor camp. Why did Navalny return to Moscow, and to certain arrest? What were his aims? What is it like to be held in what Sharansky refers to as his “alma mater” — solitary confinement? And given Navalny’s murder, has Putin’s regime etched another notch in its belt, or is it still doomed to fail, as Sharansky predicted long ago? We talk Putin, Hamas, liberalism and neo-Marxism with one of the greats.

Natan Sharansky is a former Soviet refusnik, an Israeli politician, author and human rights activist. In 1978, Sharansky was convicted of treason and spying on behalf of the United States, and was sentenced to thirteen years imprisonment in a Siberian forced labor camp. Sharansky served as Minister of Industry and Trade from June 1996-1999. He served as Minister of the Interior from July 1999 until his resignation in July 2000 and as Minister of Housing and Construction and Deputy Prime Minister from March 2001 until February 2003. In February 2003, Natan Sharansky was appointed Minister without Portfolio, responsible for Jerusalem, social and Diaspora affairs. In November 2006 Natan Sharansky resigned from the Knesset and assumed the position of Chairman of the then newly-established Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. In June 2009, he was elected and sworn in as Chairman of The Jewish Agency for Israel, a post he still holds. Natan Sharansky is the author of four books: Fear No Evil (1988), The Case for Democracy (2004), Defending Identity (2008), and Never Alone: Prison, Politics, and My People (2020).

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The Department of Justice released a report that Joe Biden willfully retained classified documents – but can’t be tried because – long story short – he is non compos mentis. The Dems are outraged. Is it justified? On the other side of the aisle, Trump is facing 14th Amendment charges to keep him off the ballot. Is that legal? And finally, the House is mired in debates ongoing about passing a border bill. What was wrong with the Senate bill? As usual, there is a lot going on this week – but we have the guest to help us understand it all.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior fellow at National Review Institute, an NR contributing editor, and author of Ball of Collusion: The Plot to Rig an Election and Destroy a Presidency.

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Media outlets have just begun to report on the rot of the United Nations Relief Works Agency – but the issue goes much farther back than October 7th, and the consequences will extend long past today. The top lines are that the Western-funded UN agency taught antisemitic propaganda in Palestinian territories for years; funded Hamas endeavors leading up to and including October 7; and has actually perpetuated the victimhood of Palestinians. To address the future of Israel-Palestine, one thing is clear: external “aid” cannot be funding and teaching extremism and terrorism.

P.S.: For more UNRWA background, listen to our episode on the topic with Brett Schaefer.

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer is the senior vice president for research at FDD. He previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he followed and froze the funding of Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Jonathan has held previous think tank research positions at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Middle East Forum. He has written hundreds of articles on the Middle East and U.S. national security. His most recent book is Gaza Conflict 2021: Hamas, Israel and Eleven Days of War (FDD Press 2021).

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America seems to be on a locked path towards a Trump-Biden rematch in 2024. But is this what people want? The polls say no. And is this really our only option? No Labels, the organization looking at presenting a third-party candidate, agrees. Decried (mostly by Democrats, for now) as a spoiler, No Labels leadership believes that for the first time, a third party candidate has a shot at winning the election. And what is their path to victory? Winning unconventional states, making a common sense case to Americans, and broadening the election. All will be revealed, maybe, by Super Tuesday.

Pat McCrory is the national co-chair of No Labels. He served as the 74th governor of North Carolina from 2013 – 2017, and the 53rd mayor of Charlotte before that. While serving as mayor of Charlotte, McCrory served on the U.S. Homeland Security Advisory Council from 2002 to 2006 under President George W. Bush.

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Trump won the New Hampshire primaries, but Nikki Haley is staying in the race. We had a lot of questions for our guest on what this might mean for the next few weeks of primary voting, what this might mean for a potential third party candidate down the line, and yes, what this might mean for a Biden-Trump rematch. But there are some known quantities, too. Team Biden can’t imagine anything better than to challenge Trump — he might be the one Republican they can beat. And vice versa for Team Trump… Joe Biden is their ideal opponent.

Josh Kraushaar is the editor-in-chief of Jewish Insider, and is a political analyst for Fox News Radio.

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The 2024 Iowa caucuses have come and gone, with the key takeaways some freezing temperatures, low turnout, and a Trump slam dunk. 15 percent of eligible Iowans gave 51% of the vote to the former president. Of course, that also means that about half voted for somebody other than Trump. Most disappointed was Nikki Haley, who surprised us all with a lagging third place, while Ron DeSantis pulled ahead to second. So, is the 2024 GOP nomination a done deal for Trump? Maybe. But the year has just begun, and some more challenging ground is ahead for the Donald and his would-be replacements.

Sean Trende is a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works on elections, American political trends, voting patterns, and demographics. He is also the senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. Before becoming a full-time political analyst, Mr. Trende practiced law for eight years, during which time he represented clients before a variety of settings ranging from state trial courts to the Supreme Court of the United States.

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Generation Z is now entering the workforce, and free speech levels have never been so low in America. Coincidence? We think not. Legions of Gen Zers are bringing the totalitarian ideas they were spoon-fed in university — CRT, DEI, and other Neo-Marxist ideas — into the American mainstream. As a result, we are at a peak cancel culture moment. How did this happen, who is to blame, and most importantly, how do we close Pandora’s box? Our guests — authors of a new book on cancel culture — suggest we cannot, but we can move forward and begin to right some of these wrongs. It starts with raising kids who aren’t cancelers, keeping corporations out of the cult of cancellation, fixing K-12, and reforming higher education.

Greg Lukianoff is the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and one of the country’s most passionate defenders of free expression. Together with Rikki Schlott, he is the author of The Canceling of the American Mind. He has written on free speech issues in the nation’s top newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, and was executive producer of the documentaries Can We Take a Joke? and Mighty Ira. Lukianoff earned his undergraduate degree from American University and his law degree from Stanford.

Rikki Schlott is a New York City-based journalist and political commentator. She is a research fellow at FIRE, host of the Lost Debate podcast, a columnist at the New York Post, and a regular contributor to numerous publications and television programs. Her commentary focuses on free speech, campus culture, civil liberties, and youth issues from a Generation Z perspective.

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