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

Ben Carson, American Gun Advocates, and the Fantasy of Individual Heroism

(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik)
(Photo: AP/Andrew Harnik) GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson speaks at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Friday, October 9. C hances are that you are not a hero. That is to say that you do your job and live your life, but seldom if ever are you called upon to do something extraordinary in a life-or-death moment, some spectacular act of bravery that calls upon otherworldy cunning and physical skill. Compared to a Hollywood action film, your life is rather mundane and ordinary. You don't begin your week on Monday knowing that by Friday you will have leaped from explosions, taken down ninja death squads, or battled supervillains. It's fun to indulge those fantasies from time to time—with enough money, time, and training, maybe I could be Batman!—but most of us are level-headed enough to realize that they are just fantasies. They certainly shouldn't be the source of judgments we make about our fellow human beings, let alone the basis for policymaking. But not everyone...

Regarding Bernie

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
AP Photo/Michael Dwyer Democratic presidential candidate, Senator Bernie Sanders waves during a campaign rally in Springfield, Massachusetts, Saturday, October 3, 2105. I t wasn't a surprise that Bernie Sanders decided to run for president in 2016. For a long-shot candidate from his party's left flank, there may never have been a better time to run: With everyone assuming Hillary Clinton would be the nominee and only a couple of other politicians bothering to enter the race, he was almost guaranteed to get plenty of attention for his democratic-socialist vision of a more equitable society. Sanders was plenty used to having one foot on the inside and one on the outside of establishment politics, and the biggest political stage would be a perfect place to advocate for his ideas and place a capstone on his career. But could he have anticipated what's happening now? Not many other people did, that's for sure. Sanders is now picking up about a quarter of the Democratic electorate in...

The GOP's Delusions

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana Republican presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz waves to the crowd before he speaks, during the Values Voter Summit, held by the Family Research Council Action, Washington, Friday, September 25, 2015. T hese days, conservatives have to take their victories where they can find them. After all, the Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land, gay people are getting married, our noble job creators suffer under the tortuous and unjust burden of high marginal income tax rates, the government continues to provide food stamps to layabouts who think their children ought to eat, immigrants walk amongst us speaking strange and indecipherable tongues, and worst of all, that usurper Barack Obama strolls into the Oval Office every day like he's the president or something. In the face of all this horror, even small victories can be cause for celebration. So it was when Marco Rubio told attendees at the Values Voter Summit on Friday that Speaker of the House John...

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...