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

What Happened to the Battle for the Soul of the Republican Party?

AP Photo/Chuck Burton
AP Photo/Chuck Burton Senator Ted Cruz, center, speaks as Senator Marco Rubio, left, and businessman Donald Trump gestures during the Fox Business Network Republican presidential debate at the North Charleston Coliseum, Thursday, January 14, 2016, in North Charleston, South Carolina. R emember when the 2016 presidential primary on the GOP side was going to be a "battle for the soul of the Republican Party"? At the conclusion of a period of frustration and tumult, with Barack Obama's reign coming to its end, they were going to have a passionate debate over the party's identity. What does it mean to be a Republican at this moment, and what do they want to achieve? Who does their coalition include? How do they appeal not just to the voters they have now, but to those they want to win over in the future? The problem is that a party's ability to have that kind of debate in a primary depends on both the people running for president and its voters themselves. Both have to be willing to have...

Why Republicans Wouldn't Actually Repeal Obamacare

(Photo: AP/CQ Roll Call/Tom Williams)
(Photo: AP/CQ Roll Call/Tom Williams) Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan attend an unveiling ceremony for a bust of former Vice President Dick Cheney on December 3, 2015. L ast week, in a bold example of their governing prowess, congressional Republicans took their 62nd vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and this time they actually passed it through both houses and sent it to President Obama to be vetoed. Naturally, they were exultant at their triumph. Speaker Paul Ryan admitted that there is as yet no replacement for the ACA, but they'll be getting around to putting one together before you know it. The fact that they've been promising that replacement for more than five years now might make you a bit skeptical. What we know for sure is this: If a Republican wins the White House this November, he'll make repeal of the ACA one of his first priorities, whether there's a replacement ready or not. To listen to them talk, the only division between the...

Perpetually Outraged, Perpetually Outrageous

(Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews)
(Photo: AP/Bebeto Matthews) Donald Trump appears on The O'Reilly Factor with host Bill O'Reilly on November 6, 2015. This article appears in the Winter 2016 issue of The American Prospect magazine . Subscribe here . Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success By Michael D'Antonio Thomas Dunne Books The Outrage Industry: Political Opinion Media and the New Incivility By Jeffrey M. Berry and Sara Sobieraj Oxford University Press In-Your-Face Politics: The Consequences of Uncivil Media By Diana C. Mutz Princeton University Press I f there’s a defining anecdote about Donald Trump in Michael D’Antonio’s Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success , it comes when young Donald, then a high school student at the military academy where his demanding father sent him for being such an insufferable lout, sees his name in the newspaper for the first time. The occasion was a baseball game, and the headline read, “Trump Wins Game for NYMA.” The experience had a profound impact. “...

Time to Party Like It's 1998

Dennis Van Tine/Sipa USA (Sipa via AP Images
Dennis Van Tine/Sipa via AP Images Hillary Clinton during a town hall meeting at Keene High School in Keene, New Hampshire, on Sunday, January 3, 2016. G et ready, America: We're about to take a long and unpleasant journey back down Bill Clinton's pants. If the idea sounds ridiculous to you, it's probably for one of two reasons. Either you're too young to remember what happened in 1998, the year-long frenzy that culminated in Clinton's impeachment, or you've underestimated the desire in conservative circles to dive right back into that miserable pool of muck. You could be forgiven for the latter. After all, it was a political debacle for Republicans the first time around. When it was revealed that Clinton had had an affair with a young White House staffer, they thought, "We've finally got him now!" But they didn't—they failed to convict him, they lost the 1998 off-year elections (when the pattern of history would suggest a big year for the opposition party), the public became more...

Why the Republican Candidates Are Obsessed With "Political Correctness"

(AP Photo/John Locher)
(AP Photo/John Locher) From left, Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie participate in the CNN Republican presidential debate on Dec. 15 in Las Vegas. L ike most people over a certain age, I first heard the term "politically correct" when I arrived at college (this was a couple of decades ago). At my small liberal arts school where almost everyone was a liberal, the PC folks were the ones who took things farther than the rest of us had the energy to go, turning their belief in social justice or environmentalism into a public performance of earnestness and commitment. At worst, they inspired guilt—sure, you tossed your soda can in the recycling, but if you really cared about the planet you'd be weaving napkins out of hemp—but back then nobody talked about being "politically incorrect" because the idea of bravely standing up to the politically correct was absurd. You can't rebel against people who have no power...