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

Republicans Need to Find a New Culture War to Fight

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, people gather in Lafayette Park to see the White House illuminated with rainbow colors in commemoration of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington. W hile Antonin Scalia's dissents in last week's two blockbuster cases were full of his usual colorful bombast (I can't wait to respond to a line of baloney someone gives me with "That, sir, is pure applesauce !"), there was one line that stuck out for me. In Obergefell v. Hodges , the gay marriage case, Scalia aimed his withering contempt at Anthony Kennedy's assertion in the majority opinion that two people can find "other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality" in the bond of marriage. "Really?" Scalia wrote. "Who ever thought that intimacy and spirituality (whatever that means) were freedoms? And if intimacy is, one would think Freedom of Intimacy is abridged rather than expanded by marriage. Ask the nearest...

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...