Thomas Edsall

Thomas B. Edsall covers politics for The Washington Post and is the author of The New Politics of Inequality and co-author of Chain Reaction, with Mary Edsall.

Recent Articles

Campaign Reform Boomerang

Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams Through Legislation and Betrays Our Democracy By Mark Green, Regan Books, 352 pages, $24.95 Campaign Finance Reform and the Future of the Democratic Party By Jerrold E. Schneider, Routledge, 208 pages, $19.95 Reformers and their adversaries, Democratic and Republican partisans, and editorial writers alike generally make the same error in thinking that campaign-finance reforms will produce predictable political change. In practice, altering the rules governing the financing of campaigns usually works to accelerate whatever trends are already taking place in the political system: Ascendant demographic groups, ideologies and special interests are usually best positioned to capitalize on new rules, while forces in decline often depend on existing institutions for survival. For the past three and a half decades, the political forces most consistently on the ascendancy have been conservatism and the Republican Party. Both...

A Man For This Season

Bill Clinton has presided over the longest period of economic expansion in American history--whether by design or default, whether by strategic appointments to critical government agencies or by caving in to the private sector, whether by fine-tuning fiscal policy or by getting out of the way. During the years of the Clinton administration, the U.S. gross domestic product has increased roughly 37 percent after adjusting for inflation, 13 million new jobs have been created, and the GDP for the private sector alone has risen approximately 41 percent. Wages are up, median household income at $38,000 a year has reached an all-time high, the overall poverty rate is down to 12.7 percent (a historic achievement), and unemployment is at its lowest point in three decades. The net worth--the value of real estate, stocks, bonds, and other assets-- of the typical (median) family has increased dramatically. At the same time, while the largest budget deficit of the twentieth century was $290.4...