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

Every Bizarre Trump Eruption Is a Rehearsal for When It Really Matters

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump speaks before signing two executive orders aimed at supporting women in STEM fields, Tuesday, February 28, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. E very president has the ability to dominate the news, but none has dominated it quite like this one, in much the same way as a flaming car on the side of the highway dominates the attention of the drivers passing by. Donald Trump's eruptions (for lack of a better word) have a gravitational pull on the entire political world, making them impossible to ignore even if one might step back and ask whether it really matters if the president thinks he had the biggest inaugural crowd in history, or that millions of people voted illegally, or that Barack Obama tapped his phones. But these controversies are in some ways a dress rehearsal for all concerned, for the time when it really does matter. That moment will come, and probably before long. Every president faces crises with...

The Democratic Party Gets Up Off the Mat

AP Photo/Branden Camp
AP Photo/Branden Camp Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who is a candidate to run the Democratic National Committee, before speaking during the general session of the DNC winter meeting in Atlanta, Saturday, Febuary 25, 2017. A s soon as Tom Perez beat out Keith Ellison to become the next chair of the Democratic Party, the grumbling began, in press releases and Facebook posts and tweets. Instead of a real progressive whose heart beats to the thumping rhythm of grassroots organizers marching purposefully down the street to win over their fellow citizens, Democrats chose another establishment stooge, just showing how out of touch these captives of big business are! This party doesn't deserve the support of true progressives! Give me a break. That the race between Perez and Ellison turned in some quarters into a depressing rerun of the 2016 primary campaign was perhaps inevitable, even if neither Perez nor Ellison saw it that way. But there are some people for whom taking affront is...

Why Democrats Need to Forget About "Reaching Out"

AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee A supporter holding a "Make America Great Again," hat waits to greet President Donald Trump when he arrives on Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, Friday, February 10, 2017. R eporters who traveled to Melbourne, Florida, on Saturday for the first rally of President Trump's re-election campaign —and let's be honest, he deserved a break from all that presidenting he's had to do for four whole weeks— found something shocking. A bunch of people who waited in line to see Donald Trump, it turns out, like Donald Trump and think he's doing a great job . This remarkable development was delivered in the form of breaking news, but we've also seen one story after another of late in which a journalist travels to some Trump stronghold to touch base with the people who voted for the president and reports back that they haven't abandoned him yet. Alongside those are think pieces telling Democrats that if they want to climb out of their pit of electoral despair, they need...

Mocking Trump

Greg Allen/Invision/AP
Greg Allen/Invision/AP Alec Baldwin participates in an anti-Trump rally in New York on January 19, 2017. S omething unusual happened over the weekend: Saturday Night Live mocked Donald Trump, and the president didn't take to Twitter to insist that Alec Baldwin's impersonation of him is weak and unfunny and the entire show is failing. Whether this break from his usual pattern was an act of uncharacteristic restraint or a result of Reince Priebus hiding his smartphone, we may never know. But is it possible that when Trump tweets that the skits about him aren't funny, he might have a point? Many of the comedians who talk about politics have joked that Donald Trump is comedy gold, which certainly seems obvious on its face. After all, we're talking about a buffoonish ignoramus, a man of world-historical insecurity, someone who tells absurdly obvious lies on a daily basis. What's not to laugh at? (Well, the disastrous consequences to America and the world. But besides that.) I have to...

One Horrific Week in, Trump Remains Who He Always Was

(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson)
(Photo: AP/Elaine Thompson) Emtisal Bazara and Ahmad Bazara look on at a rally in Seattle on January 29, 2017. The couple arrived in the Seattle area with two of their four children in December, four years after leaving Aleppo as refugees. They said that their two adult children have been denied entry because of Trump's order. D uring a presidential campaign, we often act as if our job is to uncover the secret selves the candidates are trying to hide from us, to decode their words and actions in order to discern the truth of who they'll be as president. But it's almost always the case that the future president is more than evident in the candidate. Think about the presidents in your lifetime, both those you admired and those you despised. Did they take office and surprise everyone, becoming someone completely different from who you thought they'd be? They did not. And there may never have been a candidate more clear about who he really was than Donald Trump. We didn't need to see his...

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