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

Is Hillary Clinton Showing Actual Courage on Guns?

AP Photo/Mary Schwalm
AP Photo/Mary Schwalm Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton listens to a question during a town hall meeting Friday, October 16, 2015, in Keene, New Hampshire. F or a candidate known for caution, Hillary Clinton is doing something awfully bold right now: advocating for stronger gun laws, pushing to the forefront of the campaign agenda an issue that in recent years Democrats have been afraid to make too much noise about. And she's doing it by attacking the National Rifle Association, which I've been arguing for years is a paper tiger when it comes to elections—but a paper tiger everyone fears. On Friday, Clinton got asked a question about the large gun buyback program Australia instituted after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre , in which 35 people were murdered. In the wake of that event, the country not only bought back hundreds of thousands of guns, it also passed a series of tough gun control measures; Australia hasn't seen a mass shooting since. Clinton spoke about...

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...