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

Someday, Republicans May Reject Trump's White Nationalism — But Not Yet

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte speak during a news conference about immigration legislation at the Capitol on June 29, 2017. A fter George W. Bush left office with the economy in crisis and the Iraq War widely acknowledged as the greatest foreign policy disaster in American history, Republicans began a desperate rehabilitation campaign—not to restore his image, but to salvage their own. Bush? We never liked him anyway, they said, the evidence of eight years of worshipful support notwithstanding. Searching for some grounds on which to make this absurd claim, they said he wasn't a real conservative because he didn't cut spending. So their hands were clean. When Donald Trump leaves office, either in 2021 or 2025, Republicans will go through the same charade. The "Never Trump" crew, they'll insist at that point, didn't consist of a few hardy intellectuals and writers, but instead included nearly every Republican...

The Liberal Backlash Is Coming

(AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)
(AP Photo/Kevin Hagen) Demonstrators protest against the Trump administration's immigration policies on June 30, 2018, in New York. A mong the many privileges certain Americans enjoy—along with the presumption of competence and driving without being pulled over unless they actually commit a moving violation—is the right to cry out in rage at the sight of political and societal change, to demand that things revert back to how they were before, and to find this demand greeted with understanding and consideration. Indeed, the angry demand for a reversion to the prior order—what we can call the politics of backlash—has been the basis of Republican electoral success for decades. They have held up one social or political development after another and told have voters, "These changes are the symptom and cause of what you have lost." Your standard of living, your hopes for the future, the vibrancy of your community, your security, your place in a society ordered as you would like it, or just...

Should Trump Staffers Be Shamed and Protested Wherever They Go?

AP Photo/Evan Vucci Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House I t's getting hard out there for a Trump staffer. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, who made the interesting choice to go out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant at the moment her department was separating thousands of children from their parents at our border with Mexico, found herself heckled by protesters shouting "Shame!" Politico reports that "Staffers leaving the White House grounds semi-regularly catch passersby flipping them the bird," and the young ones looking for love on dating apps find that when prospective partners find out who they work for they're regularly rejected, with some colorful insults thrown in. And last Friday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders posted this on Twitter: Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far...

Has Trump Overestimated the Cruelty of His Own Supporters?

AP Photo/Chuck Burton President Donald Trump speaks with Pastor Franklin Graham in March. Graham is one of several conservative religious leaders to criticize the administration's family separation policy. W hen it comes to public policy, Donald Trump doesn't believe in very much. He has little in the way of strong feelings about abortion or guns or health care, for instance, though he understands that staying consistent with Republican orthodoxy is politically important for him. But there are a few issues he cares deeply about, and has since before he became a politician. Trade is one of them; he thinks that whenever an American buys something made in another country, the country has been made to look the fool and the world is laughing at us . The other major issue on which Trump has firm beliefs is immigration, and now we are truly seeing those beliefs put into practice, and the result is one of the more intense controversies of this presidency. After a lengthy internal argument in...

Trump Unchained

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno) Donald Trump in Italy on May 27, 2017 " You are a king," Donald Trump's father reportedly told him . And the thing about being a king is that nobody gets to tell you what to do. It's becoming clear that few parts of the president's character are as important as how harshly he reacts to any attempt to constrain him. He grew up in wealth, and without any sense of obligation to anyone. As the head of a private company, he had no board of directors overseeing him and no one to answer to. And today, the very idea that someone might try to push him in one direction or another—let alone force him to do something like testify before a grand jury or reveal his tax returns—seems to fill him with rage. Seldom has a leader mattered more as an individual, divorced from institutional imperatives, party commitments, international alliances, traditional norms, and historical forces. Indeed, that was part of the appeal Trump made to voters, and the thing that made many in his...

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