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

Could Donald Trump Deliver Congress to the Democrats?

AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
A supporter holds a Trump sticker before attending a campaign rally, Saturday, March 5, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. W ith each preposterous new turn in the GOP presidential primary campaign, the chances of Hillary Clinton becoming president of the United States increase. The trouble is that a Clinton presidency has always promised to be largely an exercise in frustration. That's not because she's an incrementalist (true though that may be), but because she'll likely be confronted with a Republican Congress—and one no more inclined toward compromise and pragmatism than the one Barack Obama faces. But what if that weren't true? Is there any chance Democrats might actually win back control of Capitol Hill and at least let a President Clinton (or a President Sanders, a possibility that remains real, if dwindling) do something that resembles governing? The answer is yes, there is such a chance. And the reason is simple: Donald Trump. We don't yet know whether Trump will be the Republican...

Marco Rubio Is Right: Donald Trump Is a Con Man

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
AP Photo/David J. Phillip Republican presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio, left, reacts as Republican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump speaks during a Republican presidential primary debate at The University of Houston, Thursday, February 25, 2016, in Houston. E ven now, as Republicans mount a last, desperate attempt to stop Donald Trump, they have to do it on his terms, not theirs. They tried saying he wasn't conservative enough, because, they thought, isn't that what we've been arguing about for the last few years? Who's a real conservative and who isn't? But it turned out that while ideology matters a great deal to the elite, it's less important to the rank and file, and it doesn't matter at all to the plurality of Republican voters supporting Trump. Then they figured he might just implode on his own, so nobody bothered to dig up the dirt that would arm them against him. Despite the fact that there surely is plenty there. It was the South Carolina primary...

Bernie Sanders Has a Turnout Problem

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks on the day of the Nevada Democratic caucus, Saturday, February 20, 2016, in Henderson, Nevada. I n order to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, you have to amass 2,382 of the 4,763 delegates who will attend the party's convention in July. The three contests that have taken place in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada have allotted only 118 of those delegates, or 2 percent. And yet to listen to journalists, pundits, and analysts, the end of the Democratic race is in sight. If Hillary Clinton succeeds in beating Bernie Sanders in South Carolina this coming Saturday, they will declare that she has delivered a crushing blow, leaving him face-down on the canvas, his vision doubled and ears ringing as his weakened arms struggle to raise him up for Super Tuesday, when the final, gruesome pummeling will be administered. If that's what they say, will it be unfair? You bet. There's still a long way to...

The Electability Conundrum

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at Bonanza High School, on Sunday, February 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. T he death of Antonin Scalia has brought home two truths about the presidential race to voters in both parties. First, there may be no more important issue in the campaign than the Supreme Court (which some of us have been saying for some time ). And second, if that's true, then there may be no more important criterion in picking your party's nominee than who has the best chance of winning in November. Unfortunately, electability is a difficult thing to predict, no matter how much you know about politics. During the 2008 primaries, for instance, many intelligent Democrats believed there was no way that the voting public would ever elect an African American with a name like "Barack Hussein Obama." Four years before, many Democrats thought that John Kerry was the most electable Democrat because Republicans couldn't...

What Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Both Get Wrong About "the Establishment"

AP Photo/David Goldman
AP Photo/David Goldman Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles as Senator Bernie Sanders answers a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, February 4, 2016, in Durham, New Hampshire. E verybody knows "the establishment" is something you definitely don't want to be a part of. It's full of old rich white guys smoking cigars and laughing about their offshore accounts as they run roughshod over the interests of real Americans, twisting government to the rapacious ends of their cronies and benefactors. And that establishment will do its best to crush anyone who challenges its privileged position. On this, it has become clear, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree. The trouble is that this picture doesn't actually describe the Democratic Party's establishment very well. On the Republican side, there's been a lengthy and bitter fight between a pre-existing party power structure and a well-represented...