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

Spare a Thought For Those Condemned to Defend Donald Trump

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus answers questions from The Associated Press about Thursday's face-to-face meeting between Donald Trump, the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee, and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Friday, May 13, 2016, at RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington. T here's a perfectly logical reason why any Republican would decide that getting behind Donald Trump is the least bad option they face. If you genuinely care about conservative policy goals, the chance that you'll see the government move in your favored direction under President Hillary Clinton is approximately zero, while with President Trump you'd at worst see many of those goals come to fruition. You'd get a conservative Supreme Court, an executive branch filled with Republicans, and probably many areas where Trump, who plainly doesn't care at all about the details of policy, just tells the congressional GOP to write whatever bills it...

Donald Trump Is a New Kind of Dissembler

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally in Spokane, Washington, Saturday, May 7, 2016. M ost partisans would probably tell you that while their own party's leaders sometimes get a fact wrong here or there, the other side is a bunch of blatant liars, whose contempt for the truth leaves the public in a perpetual cloud of misinformation. We don't have to settle who's right on this question to acknowledge that in politics, there are ordinary tale-tellers and then there's Donald Trump. As he has in so many ways, Trump has upended the usual operation of politics by refusing to play by its rules, written or not. The presumption that politicians should at least try to speak the truth as often as they can is something most everyone shares, whether Democrats, Republicans, or the news media that cover them. It's that presumption that establishes a basic set of behaviors for all concerned—for instance, that news media will call out lies from...

Why Hillary Clinton May be Doomed to Repeat the Obama Presidency

AP Photo/Paul Sancya
AP Photo/Paul Sancya Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the NAACP's 61st annual Fight for Freedom Fund dinner in Detroit, Sunday, May 1, 2016. B arack Obama's presidency, we can all agree, has been anything but easy. It's full of real, even monumental accomplishments, but for every victory there has been a defeat, for every moment of triumph a long stretch of frustration. And because Obama's remarkable 2008 campaign was so inspiring, accompanied by so much hope and belief in transformation, the long hard slog of governing has been particularly painful for liberals. That pain has been the engine driving the Bernie Sanders campaign forward, as many on the left have, somewhat ironically, come to believe that the promise of Obama's presidency could be fulfilled by a 74-year-old Jewish socialist possessing a fraction of Obama's charisma and political skill. But if you think the Obama years were frustrating, just you wait for the Hillary Clinton presidency. I say...

Why Republicans Couldn't Make 2016 Their Version of 2008

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, wave as they wait in an airplane hangar in Hagerstown, Maryland, Sunday, April 24, 2016. P arties exist in large part to bring order and stability to politics. When you go into the voting booth in November, you'll be confronted with a bunch of races you know nothing about, but the party affiliations of the candidates will tell you almost everything you need to know in order to make reasonable choices. You can predict much of what a candidate for county council will do just by knowing which party she represents—and that goes for president, too. Yet every four or eight years, the parties have to offer the country something entirely new for the office of the presidency, something that will be untainted by the party's past mistakes and perfectly positioned to take advantage of the other party's more recent ones. And only when timing and individual ambition come together can a party give the country...