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

Will the Right's Coalition Hold?

Like all raucous celebrations, the Tea Party will eventually wind down.

A few weeks ago, two conservative culture-war mainstays, the Christian Coalition and the Family Research Council (FRC), announced that they were launching a campaign to preserve the Bush tax cuts. It may have seemed odd -- after all, does the New Testament mandate low taxes for the wealthy? -- but you could see it as a bid for conservatives to retain their relevance, since the expiration of the tax cut is a looming battle, and in a bad economy their usual fights for Puritan sexual ethics have become less salient. It's also a good example of one of conservatives' greatest strengths: the willingness to stick together and work on behalf of causes that might seem outside their immediate interests. It's not that the left is incapable of doing the same, but such an approach doesn't seem quite as tightly woven into liberals' political DNA. There are efforts like the Blue Green Alliance , a coalition of labor and environmental groups advocating investments in renewable energy. But there you...

One Sharp-Looking Campaign.

Last year, I wrote a column about how the Obama design aesthetic -- including, but not limited to, the use of the Gotham font and the reassuring palette of blues the campaign used -- was spreading around the world. If you're into this kind of thing, we learn ( Via ) that Scott Thomas, the design director of the 2008 Obama campaign, has created a book called Designing Obama , which describes the process that went into creating the Obama visual brand. You can read the whole thing online, get a hardcover version, or, of course, get it for your iPad. It's safe to say that no campaign in history paid as much attention to design as the Obama campaign did (has any other campaign even had a design director?). But maybe it will set a trend. If our campaigns aren't going to get any more high-minded or edifying (and of course they won't), at least they might be more pleasing to the eye. -- Paul Waldman

The New York Times' Latest Bogus Trend Story.

If you opened up your New York Times today, you would have seen this headline on the front page: " In a Shift, Fewer Younger Voters See Themselves As Democrats ." More terrible news for the Dems! "There's a vibe," one college hunk says while pumping iron at the gym. "Right now it seems like Republicans just care a lot more than Democrats." Wow -- I guess the nation's young people are abandoning the Democratic Party in droves. So how big has this swing been? Ten points? Twenty points? Let's amble on down to the 21st paragraph of the story: Self-identification figures for Democrats — in national polls asking young people what party they lean more toward — peaked at 62 percent in July 2008 , according to the Pew Research Center. By late last year, the number had dropped eight percentage points, to 54 percent, though researchers saw an uptick earlier this year, back to 57 percent . Republican gains roughly mirrored Democratic losses. Well now. That doesn't seem so dramatic anymore, does...

Finding Real America.

One of the interesting things that happened after September 11, 2001, was that many of the people Sarah Palin calls "real Americans" -- meaning those who live in small towns away from the two coasts -- suddenly became big fans of New York City. This was, to put it mildly, a new development. For many Americans, New York is everything they can't stand. It's hard and fast and brash and noisy and expensive. The people there can sometimes be brusque, even rude. You don't like it when you hear somebody speaking Spanish down at the local pharmacy? New Yorkers speak 170 different languages . In 2000, there were almost 40,000 New Yorkers who spoke Urdu at home , and another 45,000 who spoke Tagalog, and 25,000 who spoke Hindi, and 58,000 who spoke Greek. Politicians regularly extol the virtues of small-town life, where everyone knows your name, neighbors help out neighbors, dads play catch with their kids, the smell of burgers on the barbecue floats down the street, folks are possessed of...

The Truth About Illegal Immigration.

When you ask an anti-immigration advocate these days why the issue has suddenly demanded such draconian measures as Arizona's controversial SB 1070, the response is invariably that the problem has become so acute that we simply must do something. This is how John McCain explained his flip-flop from sponsor of a comprehensive reform bill to a "complete the danged fence" tough talker . They'll also say that Barack Obama has been ignoring the problem, perhaps because doing so fits in with his larger project of destroying America. But the truth is just the opposite. As I've pointed out before , the federal budget for customs and enforcement has doubled since 2004, and we now have nearly twice as many Border Patrol agents as we did five years ago. That all started during the Bush administration, but it has continued under Obama. Not only that, Obama has dramatically increased the number of deportations and audits of companies to make sure they aren't employing undocumented workers. And now...