Day: March 17, 2024

Background Briefing: March 17, 2024


The Russian Elections and Putin’s Plans to Stoke Divisions in an Already-Divided America

We begin with the elections in Russia and Sunday’s “noon against Putin” protests organized by Navalny as if reaching out from the grave, when citizens in the main cities showed up in long lines in spite of massive repression against the mildest form of protest. Joining us to discuss Putin’s plans for another term and for stoking division in and already-divided United States is Alexander Cooley, the former Director of Columbia University’s Harriman Institute for the study of Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe and the Claire Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College of Columbia University. His books include Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia, Dictators without Borders: Power and Money in Central Asia, and most recent, Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order.


The Increasingly Visible Role of Vice President Harris in the Campaign Underway

Then we look into the increasingly visible role of Vice President Harris in the campaign underway in which she has taken up the abortion issue head-on, called for the decriminalization of marijuana, a ceasefire in Gaza and met with the leader of the opposition in Israel. Joining us is Julian Zelizer, a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University whose recent books include Burning Down the House: Newt Gingrich, the Fall of a Speaker, and the Rise of the New Republican Party, Myth America: Historians Take on the Biggest Legends and Lies About Our Past and The Presidency of Donald J. Trump: A First Historical Assessment. The co-host of the “Politics & Polls” podcast and a CNN Political Analyst, we will discuss his latest article at CNN, “It’s time for Kamala Harris to shine.”


Trump’s GOP Keeps Lowering the Bar With Greater Ignorance, Vitriol, Clownishness and Vulgarity

Then finally we examine the ugly face of the Donald Trump’s new Republican Party whose loudest and most prominent voices keep lowering the bar embracing greater ignorance, vitriol, clownishness and vulgarity. Joining us is Jonathan Weiler, a professor in Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, and his latest book co-authored with Marc Hetherington is Prius or Pickup?: How the Answers to Four Simple Questions Explain America’s Great Divide. He writes regularly at where his latest article is “And here’s to you, Mr. Robinson: A hate-filled extremist emerges as a serious candidate for governor of North Carolina.”