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 Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton Both Get Wrong About "the Establishment"

AP Photo/David Goldman
AP Photo/David Goldman Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles as Senator Bernie Sanders answers a question during a Democratic presidential primary debate hosted by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire Thursday, February 4, 2016, in Durham, New Hampshire. E verybody knows "the establishment" is something you definitely don't want to be a part of. It's full of old rich white guys smoking cigars and laughing about their offshore accounts as they run roughshod over the interests of real Americans, twisting government to the rapacious ends of their cronies and benefactors. And that establishment will do its best to crush anyone who challenges its privileged position. On this, it has become clear, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders agree. The trouble is that this picture doesn't actually describe the Democratic Party's establishment very well. On the Republican side, there's been a lengthy and bitter fight between a pre-existing party power structure and a well-represented...

The Trouble with Bernie Sanders's Revolution

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Bailey Baker, of Fort Dodge, Iowa, center, cheers as Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally at the University of Iowa, on Saturday, January 30, 2016, in Iowa City, Iowa. W e'll know Monday night whether Bernie Sanders has taken the first step toward the revolution he has promised, but we can already say that his campaign has achieved stunning success, more than almost anyone thought was possible. Now that the voting is beginning and Democratic voters have to make their choice, we should take a good hard look at what Sanders wants to do and how he wants to do it. Whatever the results of the Iowa Caucuses, he's a serious candidate, and his candidacy should be engaged on serious terms. If there's one word that Sanders uses more than any other when describing what he wants to do (other than "billionaires"), it would have to be "revolution." He uses it in two different ways, both to describe the movement for change he...

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. “...