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

Mocking Trump

Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Greg Allen/Invision/AP Alec Baldwin participates in an anti-Trump rally in New York on January 19, 2017. S omething unusual happened over the weekend: Saturday Night Live mocked Donald Trump, and the president didn't take to Twitter to insist that Alec Baldwin's impersonation of him is weak and unfunny and the entire show is failing. Whether this break from his usual pattern was an act of uncharacteristic restraint or a result of Reince Priebus hiding his smartphone, we may never know. But is it possible that when Trump tweets that the skits about him aren't funny, he might have a point? Many of the comedians who talk about politics have joked that Donald Trump is comedy gold, which certainly seems obvious on its face. After all, we're talking about a buffoonish ignoramus, a man of world-historical insecurity, someone who tells absurdly obvious lies on a daily basis. What's not to laugh at? (Well, the disastrous consequences to America and the world. But besides that.) I have to...

One Horrific Week in, Trump Remains Who He Always Was

(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson)
(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson) Emtisal Bazara and Ahmad Bazara look on at a rally in Seattle on January 29, 2017. The couple arrived in the Seattle area with two of their four children in December, four years after leaving Aleppo as refugees. They said that their two adult children have been denied entry because of Trump's order. D uring a presidential campaign, we often act as if our job is to uncover the secret selves the candidates are trying to hide from us, to decode their words and actions in order to discern the truth of who they'll be as president. But it's almost always the case that the future president is more than evident in the candidate. Think about the presidents in your lifetime, both those you admired and those you despised. Did they take office and surprise everyone, becoming someone completely different from who you thought they'd be? They did not. And there may never have been a candidate more clear about who he really was than Donald Trump. We didn't need to see his...

The Media Will Be Trump's Enemy as Long as He's President

(Photo: AP/Alex Brandon)
(Photo: AP/Alex Brandon) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer departs after speaking in the press briefing room on January 21, 2017. A n old adage says that you should never start a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel. Updated for the 21st century, this might reference someone who buys server space by the petabyte (not quite as catchy, I know). But before he was even president for a full weekend, Donald Trump was all but promising that his war with the American press will last as long as he's president—four years, or, heaven help us, eight. This might seem like political lunacy, not to mention an attack on an institution so central to our democracy that the framers made sure to protect it right in the First Amendment. But there's a method at work—or if not anything so carefully considered as a method, at least a purpose. But before I explain what that purpose is, let's take a moment to marvel at the bitter, petty, vindictive attack that Trump and his aides launched at the...

The News Media Has to Change or It'll Get Steamrolled by Trump

(Photo: Rex Features via AP)
(Photo: Rex Features via AP) Trump speaks at a news conference at Trump Tower in New York on January 11. F or months, foolish people like myself suggested there was something problematic about the fact that Donald Trump had not held a press conference since July. How could he be held accountable without subjecting himself to interrogation by the press corps? Don't we need to at least see him confront some tough questions, in a situation where he can be called out when he lies and be forced to answer questions he'd rather avoid? But Trump has a unique ability to make you question your assumptions. And after watching his first post-election press conference, one has to wonder whether there's much point in demanding that he do any more. In fact, it only highlighted the urgency for the nation's press corps to understand that covering this unusual president requires them to figure out a new way to do their jobs. That press conference was no less of a dumpster fire than Trump's entire...

How Democrats Can Defeat the Repeal of Obamacare

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Chris Van Hollen, and US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after their gathering with President Barack Obama to strategize on how to counter Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A s we begin 2017, despondency covers America's progressives like a dark and enervating fog. With good reason—these are going to be a hard four years, with a great deal of suffering to come. But perhaps the biggest legislative battle of the Trump administration is beginnning, and it's one Democrats can win, if they're smart about it. As Republicans themselves are now realizing, it's easy to criticize a complex health-care law when the other party is getting blamed for everything anyone doesn't like about the system, but it's a lot harder to come up with an alternative that won't do real harm to at least some Americans. That's their dilemma, and it provides the opening Democrats need to kill the repeal of the...