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

Donald Trump's Ignorant Honesty

Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/AP Images Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Racine, Wisconsin, Saturday, April 2, 2016. F or a guy so eager to tell you about the majestic size and quality of his brain, Donald Trump has a way of displaying his ignorance and getting into trouble whenever he gets asked detailed questions about a policy issue. And something has changed: Now it's actually doing him some harm. The latest controversy, on abortion, shows us how some of what has served Trump so well in the primaries is coming back to bite him as he moves toward the general election. For months, we all marvelled at how Trump could say almost anything, no matter how offensive or stupid, without suffering any damage in the polls. But that was possible because of the particular polls that mattered at the time: polls of Republican primary voters. And for Trump voters told for years that "political correctness" was oppressing them and ruining the country, the...

Barack Obama Is Looking Better and Better

(Photo: AP/Natacha Pisarenko)
(Photo: AP/Natacha Pisarenko) President Barack Obama waves as arrives in Bariloche, Argentina, on March 24. I magine the pain your average Republican must feel when he opens his morning paper. His party is not just riven by internal dissent, but looks like it will nominate a spectacularly unpopular candidate to be its standard-bearer in 2016, with a campaign that gets more farcical every day, bringing ignominy upon a party that has suffered so much already. And now, to add insult to injury, the president he loathes with such fervor is looking ... rather popular with the American public. Barack Obama's approval ratings are now above 50 percent in daily Gallup tracking , and have been for weeks. He's risen higher in public esteem than he's been in three years. Every poll taken in the last month and a half shows him with a positive approval rating. You might say that it's no great achievement to be above 50 percent. After all, didn't Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan leave office with...

How to Explain Which Republicans Will Support Trump, and Which Won't

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio carries a sign reading "Dump Trump", in reference to candidate Donald Trump, at Rubio's campaign headquarters, Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Miami. I t's been a tough few years for the Republican "establishment." Criticized and vilified, they've become a pariah within the party they're supposed to dominate. The only saving grace is that since the group itself is so nebulous, anybody can claim that they aren't a part of it. Perhaps that's why the establishment seems to have such trouble getting its act together. It couldn't stop the Tea Party from determining the GOP's agenda, it couldn't get any of its favored candidates the presidential nomination, and now what may be its final stab at asserting its will in this era—a last-ditch attempt to stop Donald Trump from becoming the Republican nominee—seems doomed to fail. In the process, though, there's something interesting happening, something that offers a...

The Trump Campaign's Nasty Turn

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, face off with protesters after a rally on the campus of the University of Illinois-Chicago was cancelled due to security concerns Friday, March 11, 2016, in Chicago. T he last week has felt like an inflection point in the story of Donald Trump's run for the White House, when the undertone of hate and violence that has thrummed under his campaign became much louder and more explicit than it had been up until now. There had been protests before, and ugly words and some pushing and shoving—not to mention encouragement from the man with the microphone. But something has changed, and become impossible for nearly anyone to ignore. Every Trump rally now vibrates with the potential for violence, even more than they did before. The rally that was cancelled in Chicago when the protesters who arrived numbered nearly as many as Trump's fans was a significant event. But the most important moment may...

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...