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

Your Guide to Where Republicans Stand on Roy Moore

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore is questioned by the media in the Capitol T he Republican Party, home of moral clarity and ideological certainty, finds itself deeply conflicted. How do you respond when your candidate for a precious Senate seat is credibly charged with skeeviness so extreme that it might well have been criminal? Do you circle the wagons or head for the hills? How do you weigh your vital political interests against the values you claim to hold? This is the dilemma the GOP faces as the story of Roy Moore and his alleged predilection for teenage girls captures the political world. The reaction of those in Moore's party has covered a spectrum defined by where the different forces in the party and the conservative media draw their support. If you want to figure out where people stand on Moore, all you have to do is look at where they sit. When The Washington Post published its deeply reported story on Thursday, it sent the...

The One Thing the Democratic Party Doesn't Need

(Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)
(Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP) Virginia Democratic candidates Justin Fairfax, Attorney General Mark Herring, and Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam join hands with former President Barack Obama in Richmond, Virginia, on October 19, 2017. T his Tuesday is Election Day, and two things are likely to happen: Democrats will win most of the key races taking place here and there around the country, and the results will be taken as evidence that their party is lost at sea, unable to figure out who it is or what it stands for. I say that because "Dems in Disarray!" may be the single most irresistible headline to the political news media, whether or not it's true at a particular moment. The two biggest races taking place Tuesday are the gubernatorial contests in New Jersey, where Democrat Phil Murphy is all but certain to win, and Virginia, where Democrat Ralph Northam's lead over Ed Gillespie has shrunk in recent days. But even if Northam wins, the size of the victory will...

With the Russia Scandal Getting Serious, the GOP Spin Machine Kicks Into High Gear

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File Fox News host Sean Hannity I t sometimes feels as if the Trump presidency has been one long scandal, whether it manifests itself on a particular day in private jet flights taken by cabinet officials, the muzzling of EPA scientists, or president Trump exploiting the presidency to increase his own income. But underneath all those smaller scandals is the Big One: Russia. With special counsel Robert Mueller set to release his first round of indictments this week, the scandal is about to begin a new and intense phase. While Democrats are pretty much standing back and watching, Republicans are preparing for war. This is going to be one of the greatest tests their formidable spin machine has ever faced, and their mobilization has already begun. But before we discuss what that means, we have to stand back and marvel at the power of partisanship to shape people's views, at least Republicans'. Try to imagine for a moment what they would be saying if Hillary Clinton...

In the Trump Administration, Everyone Becomes a Liar

(Sipa via AP Images/Oliver Contreras)
(Sipa via AP Images/Oliver Contreras) White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks during the daily press briefing on October 19, 2017, at the White House. O f all President Trump's multitudinous character flaws, it's the relentless dishonesty that does the most damage to anyone who works for him in the effort they must make to retain some shred of dignity as they labor in his service. You might to be able to spin or rationalize some of what Trump does—Sure, the Twitter stuff is nuts, but he's just speaking directly to the voters! Sure, he knows nothing about policy, but that's OK because his instincts are so sound! But you can't explain away all the lying, day after day after day—especially when you may eventually be called upon to step before the cameras and explain it, echo it, or even add lies of your own to the ever-growing pile. There's a cycle that repeats itself in some variation again and again: Trump lies about something, then when it gets pointed out he doubles down,...

Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, and the (Sometimes) Beneficial Politics of Reaction

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File Producer Harvey Weinstein participates in the War and Peace panel at the A&E 2016 Winter TCA in Pasadena, California. L et's take a moment to thank Donald Trump for opening so many eyes—OK, so many men's eyes—to the reality of sexual harassment and assault that women continue to live with. That may sound strange, but it's entirely possible that had Trump not been elected, particularly after being caught on tape bragging about his ability to assault women with impunity, Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein wouldn't have had his long history of repellent behavior revealed. And that's after Roger Ailes was exposed last year for doing similar things, as was Bill O'Reilly. We're at a moment where awareness of the reality of sexual coercion in the workplace is reaching levels we haven't seen before, and it's partly because we're living not only in the age of Trump, but in the age of reaction to Trump. The spectacle of this man being president changes...