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

Pay Close Attention to What the Republican Candidates Are Saying About Abortion

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill Republican presidential candidate, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, left, speaks as John Kasich looks on during the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, California. I f a year ago you had tried to predict what issues would dominate the presidential primary campaign of 2016, there would have been a few obvious contenders. The economy, of course, which is a central issue in every campaign. Obamacare? Definitely. After making opposition to the Affordable Care Act the defining feature of contemporary Republicanism—they've voted to repeal it over 50 times, after all, which must be unprecedented in American history—how could they not spend their primary arguing about which of them loathes it the most? Then there's immigration, an issue that both animates the GOP base and has been the subject of lots of contention between the president and the Congress. Terrorism would surely...

Donald Trump Could Actually Be the Republican Party's Nominee for President

(Photo: AP/Sipa USA/Olivier Douliery)
(Photo: AP/Sipa USA/Olivier Douliery) Donald Trump attends a Tea Party rally against the Iran deal at the U.S. Capitol on September 9. T hough there are many Republican presidential candidates whose continuing presence in the race seems to defy common sense, last week saw the first withdrawal of the campaign, as former Texas governor Rick Perry decided to pack it in and sashay back to Texas. So we're now down to a mere 16 GOP candidates, at least 14 of whom are hoping that at some point there will be a sudden and inexplicable surge of interest in the possibility that they might be president. Meanwhile, the two who are actually gaining support, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, are the most wildly implausible in the bunch. Relish this primary race, my friends, because we may not see its bizarre like again. The candidates will be debating again on Wednesday, and the RNC's plan to limit and space out the number of debates seems to be working—if the idea was to heighten anticipation and the...

Why Nothing Can Quell the Media's Addiction to Clinton Scandals

No matter what Hillary does, the media thirst for scandal will be unquenched. 

AP Photo/John Locher
AP Photo/John Locher Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at a town hall meeting Tuesday, August 18, 2015, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. I f there's any constant in presidential campaigns, it's that at the first sign of difficulty, everyone who wants one particular candidate to win has an iron-clad critique of the candidate's decisions thus far, which goes something like, "If only they'd get their heads out of the sand and listen to what I have to tell them, they wouldn't be having these problems." You only have to get two or three partisans in a room (or an exchange on email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to quickly learn that the answers to what the candidate should have done before and ought to do now are as clear as a bright spring morning; it's just that the candidate and his or her advisers can't see the wisdom of the true path to victory. The fact that this complaint is as predictable as the sunrise doesn't mean it's always wrong; candidates do screw up, and...

Republicans Find Their Next Anti-Choice Innovation

(Photo: AP/Tony Dejak)
(Photo: AP/Tony Dejak) A woman walks past an abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican Governor John Kasich has overseen some of the strictest anti-abortion measures in the U.S. I f you're looking for true Republican policy innovations, don't bother with tax policy or national security; the place where the GOP is really exercising its creativity is in coming up with new ways to restrict abortion rights. In the latest inspired move, Republican state legislators in Ohio have introduced a bill to make it illegal for a woman to terminate her pregnancy because she has discovered that the baby would have Down syndrome. The bill is expected to pass, and though he hasn't yet taken a position on it, it would be a shock if Governor John Kasich—who is both an opponent of abortion rights and currently in search of votes in the Republican presidential primary—didn't sign it. After it passes in Ohio (and even if by some strange turn of events it doesn't), look for identical bills to come up in...

The GOP Primary Is a Mess. Can Anyone Unite This Party?

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) The Republican presidential candidates stand on stage before the first GOP primary debate in Cleveland on August 6. J eb Bush is starting to remind me of someone. Tall guy, former governor, worshipped his politician dad? That's right, I'm talking about Mitt Romney. It isn't just the part about their fathers, or the fact that like Romney, Bush is the representative of the "establishment" and doesn't get a lot of love from the Tea Party base, or even that he seems to share Romney's propensity for reinforcing his most glaring electoral weaknesses. (Jeb spent much of the last week explaining how the Iraq War was actually a tremendous success and we just need to bring back the Bush Doctrine, which is a great way to win over the many voters pining for a rerun of George W.'s term in office.) It's also that Bush's only path to his party's nomination may be to duplicate what Romney did successfully in 2012: use his money (and dogged persistence) to hang around while...