Paul Waldman

Paul Waldman is a weekly columnist and senior writer for The American Prospect. He also writes for the Plum Line blog at The Washington Post and The Week and is the author of Being Right is Not Enough: What Progressives Must Learn From Conservative Success.

Recent Articles

Even Republicans Are Coming Around on the Confederate Flag

Soon, conservative politicians won't even be able to dodge the question.

(Photo: AP/Rainier Ehrhardt)
(Photo: AP/Rainier Ehrhardt) Protesters gather on the steps of the South Carolina Statehouse on June 20. S ixty-three years after South Carolina raised the Confederate flag over its statehouse, a massacre in a black church may finally bring it down from the place it now occupies on the grounds of the state capitol (it was moved from atop the dome in 2000). Not that there won't be plenty of people still holding on to their stars 'n' bars — that flag will still fly in many official places throughout the South. And it isn't as though a new age of racial harmony is dawning. But as a political issue, the flag is on its way out. It's going to find fewer and fewer defenders, brought down by a surprising wave of empathy. Yes, empathy. For decades now, the debate about the flag has gone like this: One side says that the flag is a symbol of a treasonous movement that found its purpose in defending a system built on human slavery; it was later embraced by those who carried out a decades-long...

Why Republican Candidates are Wrong About the Media

Mainstream outlets are frequently biased, but mostly toward sensationalism. 

AP Photo/John Locher
AP Photo/John Locher Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. pauses while speaking during a technology roundtable at the Switch Innovation Center, Friday, May 29, 2015, in Las Vegas. L ike only the most courageous columnists have the mettle to do, I will offer a bold prediction for the presidential campaign: Republican presidential candidates will complain about the coverage they get from the mainstream media. Come to think of it, Democratic candidates may also complain, but the real cries of outrage will come from the GOP side. OK, maybe that's not so bold and courageous, because it happens in most elections. You usually see it when the candidate is behind, since claiming that the media are against you is a way of blaming someone else for your poor performance. Not that every candidate gets treated fairly, mind you. But the claim is almost inevitably trotted out when a Republican is headed for defeat; those of you who have been around a while might remember George...

The Path to the White House Is Narrow For Democrats and Republicans Alike

A 50-state strategy wouldn't work in the '90s and it wouldn't work now. 

AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
AP Photo/Pat Sullivan Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers a speech at Texas Southern University in Houston, Thursday, June 4, 2015. I t's an inevitability in every presidential campaign season: The Democratic candidate will come under criticism from the press, old Washington centrists, and even some in his or her own party for running a narrow campaign that turns its back on large portions of America, seeking only to pile up votes where Democratic partisans are plentiful. The first installment of this critique came on Sunday in a front-page article in The New York Times , which began this way: Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be dispensing with the nationwide electoral strategy that won her husband two terms in the White House and brought white working-class voters and great stretches of what is now red-state America back to Democrats. Instead, she is poised to retrace Barack Obama’s far narrower path to the presidency: a campaign focused more on...

Does the Iowa Caucus Still Matter?

Why the Ames Straw Poll is not the bellwether it once was. 

AP Photo/Charles Dharapak
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak A voter who voted for Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, shows his finger marked with indelible ink as he picks up a free shirt at the Republican Party's Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. C ould 2016 be the year that Iowa's iron grip on the attention of our nation's political class begins to slacken? It's an odd thing to contemplate as the hundreds of Republicans running for president continue to make pilgrimages to Cedar Rapids and Dubuque and Council Bluffs, but there are signs that all kinds of interested parties are asking themselves whether the Iowa caucuses—a mere eight months away!—are really worth getting too worked up about. People have been griping about the hallowed place of Iowa in the presidential election process ever since 1976, when an obscure former Georgia governor practically moved to the state and parlayed his win there into the Democratic nomination and then the presidency. But there are signs of a...

Honor Our War Dead On Memorial Day -- They Won't Be the Last

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana Visitors look at the names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, ahead of Memorial Day in Washington, Sunday, May 24, 2015. T his Memorial Day, the day set aside to honor those who died in America's many wars, we find ourselves still debating the last war we fought, arguing over what the nation consented to in 2003 and what its leaders delivered. Just imagine if George W. Bush had come before the American people then and said, "I want to invade Iraq, and here's what's going to happen. The war will last over eight years, during which time just short of 4,500 American servicemembers will die. It'll cost us a couple of trillion dollars, and the justifications I'm offering for the war will all turn out to be false. It will result in a huge wave of anti-Americanism, and it will greatly increase Iran's influence in the Middle East. After my successor finally gets us out, Iraq's government will be so fragile and riven by corruption and sectarianism that it won't be...