Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is an associate professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author of The Stronghold: How Republicans Captured Congress but Surrendered the White House.

Recent Articles


When the final analysis of this Democratic primary is written, the story will be that a black man and white woman had a very similar, but not identical task: make their identity part of, but not the whole of the change they offered, and to sell that change by making it palatable to the country, or at least the not insignificant (and not necessarily racist or sexist) portion of the public that, rightly or wrongly, was wary of digesting that change. And the outcome of that story will be this: Barack Obama was able to do it, but Hillary Clinton was not. The media, myself included, has been tough on Hillary at times. She’s had an unfair ride. She’s burdened by problems, including some created by her own husband that were not of her making yet were her obligation to correct or at least manage. It’s not been a fair campaign for Hillary, and from the start. But she could have done it. She could have made the first-woman-ever opportunity both a vessel for changing a country...


Isn't it amazing, as Harold hinted at below, that Obama is such a phenomenon at this point that you have Republicans complimenting him? Is it possible for one candidate to win two debates in a single night, even if he's only entered in one? What's also clear to me is, a few polite barbs aside, how much more thoughtful and civil the tone of this debate is, compared to the earlier one. (On that note, I will have some juicy quotes from the Spin Room by Romney surrogate Ron Kauffman and McCain surrogate Lindsey Graham once I get them transcribed.) Totally different tenor. That said, isn't it about time that the national media narrative about which party "doesn't know what it stands for" and which party is a "compilation of its identity groups" officially shift from the Democrats to the Republicans? To me, it's clear how much the fate and ideas of the two parties have shifted since November 2004, and it's a stunning change. --Tom Schaller


... I take an opportunity during one of the next tense exchanges and just say this: I'll respond in a second, but I want to pause a moment to say something about Sen. Clinton. She was not only one of the most influential and important women in American history last century, but with her Senate career has been and will be remembered as one of the most important women in American and world history in the 21st century. And yes, she's smart and dedicated and experience and loves her party and her country. I just think the politics of the moment call for something more. And I want to be the person who offers that something more. Gracious, thoughtful, true as hell ... and the final nail in the coffin. --Tom Schaller


It's now a tag-team WWF match: Change v. More of the Same Old Experience. Isn't it amazing that Obama and Edwards are using precisely the same slogan that the Bill Clinton "war room" used daily to pump itself up and enthrall the voters 16 years ago? The ironies abound. --Tom Schaller


Wow. Get your kids out and put them in front of the TV: The Clinton Era officially ended at 9:34 p.m. EST when Edwards paired with Obama to bury Hillary as a non-agent of change. Wow, again. -- Tom Schaller