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

Donald Trump, Weakling

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump puts remarks back in his jacket pocket after speaking in the East Room of the White House. B ill Clinton, who had an exquisitely tuned radar for how ordinary people's prejudices influence their political choices, used to say that the public would always prefer a politician who was "strong and wrong" to one who was "weak and right." I couldn't help but think of that when I saw Ted Cruz defend President Trump's chest-thumping bluster on North Korea by saying that while he wouldn't speak the way the president does, "I do think it helps for North Korea and for China to understand that we have a president who is strong. That is beneficial." Yeah, that seems to be working out great. I don't mean to pick on Senator Cruz—it can't be easy to have to defend Trump on anything, especially when you loathe him as much as Cruz surely does (you'll recall that during the 2016 campaign, Trump insulted Cruz's wife's looks and suggested that his father might...

The Worst People

AP Photo/Angie Wang
AP Photo/Angie Wang Former Sheriff Joe Arpaio leaves the federal courthouse in Phoenix. " I'm going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people," Donald Trump said when he was a candidate for president. Top-notch, grade A, cream of the crop, platinum-quality people, people so terrific they're the human equivalent of marble floors and gold-leaf wallpaper. Yet even then, there were subtle hints that perhaps Trump was not in fact going to surround himself with the best people. Maybe it was the enthusiastic support he got from the likes of convicted rapist Mike Tyson , or jerktastic basketball coach Bobby Knight , or NFL bully Richie Incognito . Maybe it was all those spittle-flecked dudes in "Trump that bitch" T-shirts at his rallies. Maybe it was the Nazis and Klansmen who kept expressing their enthusiasm about his candidacy. ("The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in," said one Imperial Wizard of the KKK...

In Trump Country, Trump Supporters Support Trump

(AP Photo/Mel Evans)
(AP Photo/Mel Evans) Trump supporters wave flags near Trump National golf course on July 15, 2017, in Bedminster, New Jersey, where Trump was attending the Women's U.S. Open tournament. T his weekend, The New York Times published the latest in its endless series of articles in which the paper checks in with ardent Donald Trump supporters to reveal the fascinating discovery that they still support Donald Trump. What follows is a dispatch from two years in the future. SCRACKNECK, KENTUCKY, AUGUST 21, 2019 — Doris Kerflupf has heard all the arguments, from neighbors, friends and relatives. "He started a nuclear war." "He brought on a global apocalypse." "His decisions led to the breakdown of human society." "He tweeted that shockingly inappropriate thing about Malala." But Kerflupf, a 67-year-old retiree now making it on her own after her husband George was carried away by one of the packs of feral children that roam the streets of this former mining down, won't hear any criticism of the...

The 'Many Sides' of Trump's Moral Rot

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump leaves after speaking to reporters at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. L ike all politicians, presidents spend a good deal of their time talking. Most of what they say is barely worth remembering—banal interviews, comments before or after a meeting, inconsequential press conferences, welcoming remarks to a foreign delegation or champion sports team—but on rare occasions, the country looks to the president for rhetoric that unifies and uplifts the nation, creating shared meaning out of critical events, particularly tragic ones. At those moments, words matter and the president's character can reveal itself. And boy, did Donald Trump's character ever reveal itself this past weekend. As we stand back in wonder at just what a repugnant human being now sits in the Oval Office, we need to keep reminding ourselves that his sins (of both omission and commission) are not his alone. Many Republicans have stepped up to disagree with...

He's Good Enough, He's Smart Enough, and Gosh Darn It, People Like Him

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia. I n an age where our children are supposedly being made soft by too many participation trophies and too much praise, no one is thirstier for tributes than the president of the United States. Give him the chance and he'll tell you how amazing he is with all the self-awareness of a 3-year-old; as we recently learned, in explaining the political importance of his anti-immigration stance to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said , "I am the world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country." And if you work for Trump or depend on him for your position, you know that you have to praise him, too. You need to convince him he has your love and your loyalty, and the best way to do that is to extol his fabulousness to all who will listen, especially on TV. If you're looking for a model, you might take Corey...