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

Obama's Plan to Destroy America Has Failed Miserably

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida, Sunday, November 6, 2016. B arack Obama will be president for only two more months, and any judgment of his presidency will have to account for all he failed to accomplish. Consider this partial list of things Obama was supposed to do but never did: Destroy America's image and influence in the world Dismantle our military Send us into a Greece-like debt spiral that would crash the economy Institute a government takeover of all health care Kill elderly and disabled people who had become a drain on the system Transition the U.S. to communism Outlaw Christianity Reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine then use it as a tool to silence conservative media Force gas prices up to $8 or $10 a gallon to make driving impossible Open the borders to a flood of undocumented immigrants Confiscate Americans' guns Throw dissenters...

The Media Freakout Over the Clinton Email Story Is a Preview of the Next Four Years

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pauses while speaking at a rally at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday, October 28, 2016. I f there's an archetypal Clinton "scandal" story, it may be the one we saw break on Friday. Some piece of information is revealed, though it really isn't any information at all, just the fact that someone says there might be some information somewhere that we might someday find. There's nothing indicating any wrongdoing on anyone's part. There's nothing to be disturbed or outraged about, yet Republicans dutifully pretend to be disturbed and outraged anyway. And the media react as though they just got an injection of adrenalin, had a quadruple espresso, and then did five lines of coke. An explosion has rocked the campaign! New revelations send Clinton reeling! The race is upended! If you find this profoundly depressing, then you're going to really hate the next four years. But before we get to that,...

Why Clinton Doesn't Need a "Mandate"

(Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer)
(Photo: AP/Mary Altaffer) Hillary Clinton greets supporters at a campaign event in Charlotte, North Carolina, on October 23, 2016. H illary Clinton is going to be the next president of the United States—there, I said it. Yes, it's possible that in the next two weeks some story so shocking, appalling and horrifying could come out about her that it would throw the election to Donald Trump. But given her clear lead in the polls and her vastly superior ground operation, it would have to be a truly monumental scandal, of the kind Republicans are always dreaming about but can never deliver no matter hard they try. Unless she turns out to maintain a dungeon in Chappaqua where she conducts gruesome medical experiments on kidnapped runaways, this race is unlikely to move enough to keep her from the White House. But if and when she does win, you can count on Republicans to insist that she has no "mandate" to enact her agenda. Instead, they'll insist, not only should she put aside the policy...

Donald Trump's Surreal Alternate Reality

(Photo: AP/Julio Cortez)
(Photo: AP/Julio Cortez) Donald Trump speaks during a charity event hosted by the Republican Hindu Coalition on October 15 in Edison, New Jersey. I f you've been around politics and campaigns for even a little while, you probably have a pretty clear sense of what happens behind closed doors with Hillary Clinton and her close advisers. They plan which battleground states she'll visit in the few remaining weeks, go over polling data to see where she's strong and where she's weak, consider how to react to each day's developments in the news, practice for the final debate on Wednesday, talk about the key messages she should emphasize—those kind of things. There's not much mystery there. But when you consider Donald Trump's campaign, one question dominates all others: What the hell are they thinking? If we're lucky, when the 2016 presidential campaign is over someone within the Trump campaign will pen a tell-all memoir to show the rest of us what this most bizarre presidential candidacy...

If the 2016 Campaign Were a Satirical Novel

(Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty)
(Photo: AP/Robert F. Bukaty) Donald Trump speaks in Sandown, New Hampshire, on October 6, 2016. " Call me Donald" might be the opening line if the 2016 presidential campaign were a novel. Or perhaps, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—no, actually it was just the worst of times." Either way, that's what this campaign has most come to resemble: a sprawling, outrageous, seriocomic novel aiming its satirical blade a the heart of contemporary American politics and society, focused on a protagonist occupying a space somewhere between antihero and outright villain. Think about what the plot of this campaign has involved. The protagonist made a dramatic entrance, shocking and enthralling observers with his immediate and unadorned demagoguery, and his bizarre brand of charisma that captivated the media. Then he vanquished a passel of primary opponents, who tried and failed to fight him in the gutter where he dwelt so comfortably. All the while his supporters growled like an...