Ukrainian soldiers of the 3rd Assault Brigade in Donetsk Oblast. (Photo by 3rd Assault Brigade / Handout/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Normies Will Save the World

Listen to the voters on foreign policy. Plus: Eli Lake on whether October 7 could bring down the Squad, Navalny’s courtroom speech, and more.

If you listen to some of the loudest voices in American life right now, they seem to have more affection for tyrants and terrorists than democracy. 

Take the Squad. In the months since October 7, the members of the House’s ultra-progressive wing have been among the most vocal politicians on the Israel-Hamas war, and sometimes sounded like they were Team Hamas. Last week, Rep. Rashida Tlaib refused to vote in favor of a resolution condemning the rape and murder of innocent civilians by the Palestinian terror group. 

Or look at Tucker Carlson. Just as it’s not always clear whose side the Squad is on in the Israel-Hamas war, it’s often hard to tell who Carlson wants to win the Ukraine-Russia war: a European democracy defending itself, or the invading force of a Russian despot. And in videos from his recent trip to Moscow, including a riff on the brilliance of Russian shopping carts, it wasn’t always clear who Carlson thought had it better: Russians or Americans. 

If only they would listen to the normies. 

Normal Americans know the difference between right and wrong, democracy and tyranny, Ukraine and Russia, and Hamas and Israel. 

New polling from Pew suggests that the American people are still invested in the fights on the front lines of the free world. According to the survey, three-quarters of Americans think the Israel-Hamas war, the Ukraine-Russia war, and tensions between China and Taiwan are “important” to U.S. national interests. And a majority of Americans say these conflicts are personally important to them. 

Consider a few other numbers:

  • 38 percent see foreign policy as a top priority for 2024, second only to the economy, and an increase from 18 percent this time last year. 

  • Only 5 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Vladimir Putin. 

  • 15 percent of Americans view China favorably. 

  • 80 percent of Americans say they support Israel in the conflict with Hamas. 

Voters, it seems, are awake to the dangerous moment we find ourselves in, and clear-eyed about the sources of the threats to U.S. interests. 

Are members of the Squad about to pay for their fringe views on Israel? That’s the question Free Press writer Eli Lake investigates in his piece today. Polls show the Squad’s harsh criticism of the Jewish state is out of step with voters—even in their own districts. More than half of the constituents for Squad members Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush back Israel in the war, compared to 6 percent who support Hamas, according to a recent poll. No wonder three Squad members are facing a tough primary challenge from more moderate Democratic candidates. 

Read Eli’s full dispatch on whether October 7 could bring down the Squad here:

How do Tucker Carlson and the Squad, in their own ways, find themselves so out of step with the average American? Because—unlike the average American—they formulate their views from a place of self-loathing and resentment. 

That’s what Peter Savodnik argues in his new Free Press video essay contrasting Carlson’s moral relativism with Alexei Navalny’s moral clarity. 

All of this, Peter says, is part of “the great tsunami of stupid that has swept the nation.” 

Thankfully, a majority of Americans appear to have made it to higher ground before the tsunami hit. 

But there’s still room for disagreement in the mainstream on issues like the right level of support for Ukraine, or who should run Gaza after the war, or what exactly we should do to get Europeans to spend more on defense, or how to actually respond if China were to move on Taiwan. 

With multiple international crises threatening our national interests, these debates aren’t just tolerable but essential. (Look out for one such debate, between Bret Stephens and Elbridge Colby, on funding for Ukraine, later this week on Honestly.) 

But these important conversations will only be constructive if they’re predicated on a few important truths: that Chinese communism, Russian dictatorship, and Islamist terrorism are evil. And that America and the West are, despite their faults, a force for good

In other words, things that most Americans—the normies—know to be true. 

For more on Russia, read Alexei Navalny’s 2014 courtroom speech, “The People Who Look the Other Way,” translated by Konstantin Kisin. 

Ten Stories We’re Reading Now 

  1. The Supreme Court won’t hear a challenge to a Virginia high school admissions policy that the claimants say discriminates against Asian American students. (Axios)

  2. X says it briefly suspended the account of Alexei Navalny’s wife Yulia after it was mistakenly flagged as spam. (Reuters)

  3. El Salvador president Nayib Bukele is very popular. Why? (Compact)

  4. Anthony Blinken told off State Department staff for “misgendering” and using gendered terms like father. (National Review)

  5. Détente is back, says Free Press contributor Niall Ferguson, who updates an old strategy for the new cold war. (Foreign Affairs)

  6. A statue of Jewish singer Amy Winehouse in London was defiled, with a Palestinian flag sticker placed over a Star of David necklace. (Spiked)

  7. Chinese companies are reviving Mao Zedong–era militias, a sign Xi Jinping is worried about instability amid an economic slowdown. (FT)

  8. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has memory-holed his doubts over the economic benefits of immigration, writes Michael Lind. (Tablet

  9. Alabama’s supreme court has ruled that embryos are “children.” (AP)

  10. Museum selfie-takers are causing damage by backing into artworks. (Hyperallergic)

Oliver Wiseman is a writer and editor for The Free Press. Follow him on X @ollywiseman.

Become a Free Press subscriber today:

Subscribe now

our Comments

Use common sense here: disagree, debate, but don't be a .

the fp logo
comment bg

Welcome to The FP Community!

Our comments are an editorial product for our readers to have smart, thoughtful conversations and debates — the sort we need more of in America today. The sort of debate we love.   

We have standards in our comments section just as we do in our journalism. If you’re being a jerk, we might delete that one. And if you’re being a jerk for a long time, we might remove you from the comments section. 

Common Sense was our original name, so please use some when posting. Here are some guidelines:

  • We have a simple rule for all Free Press staff: act online the way you act in real life. We think that’s a good rule for everyone.
  • We drop an occasional F-bomb ourselves, but try to keep your profanities in check. We’re proud to have Free Press readers of every age, and we want to model good behavior for them. (Hello to Intern Julia!)
  • Speaking of obscenities, don’t hurl them at each other. Harassment, threats, and derogatory comments that derail productive conversation are a hard no.
  • Criticizing and wrestling with what you read here is great. Our rule of thumb is that smart people debate ideas, dumb people debate identity. So keep it classy. 
  • Don’t spam, solicit, or advertise here. Submit your recommendations to if you really think our audience needs to hear about it.
Close Guidelines