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

Why the Koch Brothers Are Heroes In Their Own Minds

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan David Koch, Executive Vice President of Koch Industries, Inc., attends The Economic Club of New York, Monday, December 10, 2012. W hen Charles E. Wilson appeared before a Senate committee in January 1953 as President Eisenhower's nominee to become Secretary of Defense, he was asked whether his large holdings of stock in General Motors, where he had been president and chief executive, might cause some conflict of interest. " I cannot conceive of one," he replied, "because for years I thought what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa. The difference did not exist. Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country." While Wilson is often misquoted as saying that what's good for GM is good for America, a quote often used as a symbol of corporate arrogance, his intent seemed at least somewhat more benign. But however you interpret it, Wilson was almost certainly sincere in believing that when you get right down to it, the...

Why Donald Trump Matters

(Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
(Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall) In Oskaloosa, Iowa, on Saturday, Trump said to his supporters, "I'm very good with contracts. Don't you want that?" T he political press is struggling over how exactly to report on Donald Trump. On one hand, we absolutely love covering him—Trump's intoxicating combination of boorishness, ignorance, tactlessness, and overconfidence, all wrapped up in a gold-plated package, is utterly irresistible as copy. On the other hand, we feel a little guilty about it, as though we know it's bad for us and bad for the public. Which is what produces the endless assurances that, despite his rather remarkable strength in the polls, you should rest assured that he is not going to be his party's nominee. You see that judgment made about other candidates all the time, but seldom repeated so often and almost never for someone who is leading in all the primary polls. And while it might be true, we've now moved beyond the point where we don't have to take Trump seriously. It'...

The GOP Finally Finds the Courage to Attack Donald Trump

AP Photo/Danny Johnston
AP Photo/Danny Johnston Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump speaks at the Republican Party of Arkansas Reagan Rockefeller dinner in Hot Springs, Arkarsas, Friday, July 17, 2015. T he GOP may finally have found the means to rid itself of that meddlesome real estate tycoon. And it's fitting—and really, should have been predictable—that what is uniting Republicans against Donald Trump is his own big mouth. It's one thing to call Mexican immigrants rapists and drug dealers—that caused some agita, but not enough to rid Trump's GOP opponents of their visceral fear of alienating his supporters. But insulting John McCain's war record? That's something everyone can agree on, and thus gives the other candidates just the excuse they've been waiting for to bring out the knives for Trump. On the off chance you haven't heard, on Saturday, Trump said some interesting things about McCain, with whom he has had a little East Coast/Southwest beef of late. The setting was the Family Leadership...

Clinton Tries to Move the Economic Conversation Beyond Jobs

(Photo: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
(Photo:AP/Charlie Neibergall) Hillary Clinton speaks to residents of Iowa City, Iowa, during a July 7 campaign stop. A s most of us understand, "Do I have a job?" is not the only question you might ask about your economic situation. That understanding is what Hillary Clinton is counting on as she delivers her first major economic address Monday, an attempt to articulate a vision that will not only provide a means of understanding the collection of policy changes she'll be advocating in her 2016 campaign for president, but also contrast with the now 17 Republicans who want to face her next fall. I'm writing this before the full text of Clinton's speech is available, so what I have to go on is only the outline and selections that have been leaked to a couple of reporters (see here and here ). But it's clear that Clinton is attempting to expand the economic conversation beyond the two measures that usually dominate the discussion: job growth and GDP growth. "The measure of our economic...

How Donald Trump Changed the GOP Debate on Immigration

AP Photo/Jim Cole
AP Photo/Jim Cole Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump waves as he arrives at a house party Tuesday, June 30, 2015, in Bedford, New Hampshire. H ere's how the immigration issue was supposed to play out for Republicans in the 2016 presidential campaign. During the pre-primary period and into the initial wave of voting, the candidates would tell voters how tough they'll be on undocumented immigrants, talking about building fences and enhancing border security. Then, as a likely nominee emerged, he'd begin to use a more welcoming rhetoric in the hopes of winning back the Hispanic general election voters who were alienated by what had happened before. He might not shift his actual policy position—which for nearly all the candidates comes down to "Secure the border first, then maybe we can talk about comprehensive reform"—but he would definitely shift his tone. Then along came Donald Trump. In his very first appearance as a candidate, Trump went on an extended riff about the...