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

Democrats Can't Stop the Tax Bill -- But They Can Make Republicans Pay

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Throughout this year, anyone familiar with the Republican Party could have told you that no matter how many ways they might fail, the one thing they will do when they have power is cut taxes, particularly for the wealthy and corporations. If it required their last dying breath, or at least incurring huge political cost, this they would do, above all else. And now they appear to have gathered the votes, with every last Republican in the Senate likely to vote to approve the conference committee's final version of the bill (though it's possible Mitch McConnell may allow Susan Collins to vote no and save face now that they have a cushion of a vote or two, an old technique called "catch and release"). Democrats cannot stop this bill from passing. But there is something else they can do: Make Republicans pay a price for it. You have to give the GOP some credit for taking a tax cut—which is supposed to be just about dispensing goodies—and making it one of the least popular pieces...

A Constitutional Crisis Is on the Way

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Remarkably, we are almost a year into Donald Trump's term as president of the United States and we haven't yet had a full-blown constitutional crisis. But it may be on its way. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is circling the Oval Office, and the closer he gets, the more agitated President Trump and his defenders become. In response, they've begun an all-out assault on Mueller, one that could well result in Trump firing him. It's more than obvious that Trump wants to do so; the only question is how long the relatively sane people around him who appreciate the consequences of such a move can hold him back. They surely know that Trump firing Mueller would not only be a political disaster for him but would plunge the government into its most serious crisis in decades, with a president moving to shut down an investigation into his own wrongdoing. In order to do it, Trump would have to create his own version of Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre, in which he moved to...

How Republicans Are Digging Their Own Grave for 2018

(Albin Lohr-Jones/Sipa USA via AP Images)
In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Senate Republicans passed their version of tax "reform," and you could feel the relief flooding over the Capitol. Yes, they were joyful that at long last, corporations and the wealthy will find the terrible burden of taxation under which they struggle lightened considerably. But even more, Republicans knew that they had averted political disaster by finally accomplishing something, sparing themselves the wrath of their ever-wrathful base. The fight isn't over—there still has to be a conference committee to reconcile the House and Senate versions, and once it comes up with a compromise, that bill will have to pass both houses. But if the conference committee fails, the House could merely pass the Senate's version and be done with it. In other words, the chance that Republicans won't get their tax cuts is not quite zero, but it's getting close. After they failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Republicans convinced themselves...

Why We All Should Be Sick and Tired of This Tax Debate

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)
Orrin Hatch is sick and tired, and so am I. Hatch, however, has the benefit of knowing that his illness and fatigue will soon be relieved by the soothing balm of victory, as the Republican Party fulfills its most profound and deeply revered purpose and delivers a tax cut to corporations and wealthy people. It was Thursday night, not long before the Senate Finance Committee passed its version of the Republican tax cut bill, when Hatch and Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown got in a spirited exchange that began with Brown's assertion that the tax bill is not, as Republicans contend, all about helping the middle class, but instead bestows its greatest bounty on corporations and the rich. Hatch took spectacular umbrage to this charge, to the point where his language got a little blue (for a Mormon from Utah, anyway). "I come from the poor people," he said, "and I have been here working my whole stinking career for people who don't have a chance, and I really resent anybody who says I'm just...

Your Guide to Where Republicans Stand on Roy Moore

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
The 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 party into a panic. Four women who don't know each other all describe how Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he...