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

Bernie Sanders Has a Turnout Problem

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks on the day of the Nevada Democratic caucus, Saturday, February 20, 2016, in Henderson, Nevada. I n order to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, you have to amass 2,382 of the 4,763 delegates who will attend the party's convention in July. The three contests that have taken place in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada have allotted only 118 of those delegates, or 2 percent. And yet to listen to journalists, pundits, and analysts, the end of the Democratic race is in sight. If Hillary Clinton succeeds in beating Bernie Sanders in South Carolina this coming Saturday, they will declare that she has delivered a crushing blow, leaving him face-down on the canvas, his vision doubled and ears ringing as his weakened arms struggle to raise him up for Super Tuesday, when the final, gruesome pummeling will be administered. If that's what they say, will it be unfair? You bet. There's still a long way to...

The Electability Conundrum

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks during a rally at Bonanza High School, on Sunday, February 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. T he death of Antonin Scalia has brought home two truths about the presidential race to voters in both parties. First, there may be no more important issue in the campaign than the Supreme Court (which some of us have been saying for some time ). And second, if that's true, then there may be no more important criterion in picking your party's nominee than who has the best chance of winning in November. Unfortunately, electability is a difficult thing to predict, no matter how much you know about politics. During the 2008 primaries, for instance, many intelligent Democrats believed there was no way that the voting public would ever elect an African American with a name like "Barack Hussein Obama." Four years before, many Democrats thought that John Kerry was the most electable Democrat because Republicans couldn't...

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...