The Primaries and the Presidential Election


The Common Good hosted a lunch panel of expert to discuss the primaries and the presidential election. This panel consisted of: Jonathan Alter, Kellyanne Conway, Mark J. Green, Joel Benson and was moderated by Cynthia McFadden. This program was convened by William Hubbard, Chairman and President of Center Development Corporation, and underwritten with the generosity of Peter Worth.


Jonathan Alter is an award-winning author, reporter, columnist and television analyst from Chicago.For a decade in the 1980s, Alter was Newsweek’s media critic, where he was among the first in the mainstream media to break tradition and hold other news organizations accountable for their coverage, a precursor to the role later played by blogs. In total, he spent 28 years at Newsweek, where he was a longtime senior editor and wrote hundreds of columns and features on a wide variety of subjects. He is also an analyst and contributing correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. His 2010 book, “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” was #4 on the New York Times Nonfiction Bestseller List and was one of the Times’ “Notable Books” of the year. “The Defining Moment: FDR’s Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope,” published in 2006 was also a bestseller.

Kellyanne Conway is an American pollster, political consultant, and pundit. Previously she held roles as campaign manager and strategist in the Republican Party and was former president and CEO of The Polling Company, Inc./Woman Trend. In 2016, she was appointed as Trump’s campaign manager and now serves as a counselor in his presidential administration. Within polling, Conway is one of the most quoted and noted pollsters on the national scene, having provided commentary on over 1,200 television shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC, HBO, Comedy Central, MTV and the Fox News Channel, and numerous radio shows and print stories. Throughout her two decades in market research, Conway has provided primary research and advice for clients in 46 of the 50 states and has directed hundreds of demographic and attitudinal survey projects for statewide and congressional political races, trade associations, and Fortune 100 companies.

Mark Joseph Green is an American author, former public official, public interest lawyer and a Democratic politician from New York City. He worked with Ralph Nader from 1970–80, eventually as director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, and was the former president of Air America Radio (2007–09). His 2001 nomination and loss to Michael Bloomberg for NYC Mayor is chronicled in the 2002 Sundance Film, Off the Record: The 9/11 Election.

Joel Benenson is the founder and CEO of Benenson Strategy Group, and the only Democratic pollster in history to have played a leading role in three winning presidential campaigns. Joel has been the chief pollster, chief campaign strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, a senior strategist for President Barack Obama beginning with his 2008 campaign, and worked on President Bill Clinton’s polling team during the 1996 race.oel’s corporate clients have included CEOs and top executives at Campbell Soup Company, HBO, Toyota, the NFL, Procter & Gamble, Panera Bread Co., Hearst, Blue Star Energy, and MSNBC. In the advocacy and nonprofit sector, he has worked with leading institutions including AARP, League of Conservation Voters, SEIU, Clean Energy Works and Grocery Manufacturers of America.


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