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

Why Republicans Couldn't Make 2016 Their Version of 2008

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, wave as they wait in an airplane hangar in Hagerstown, Maryland, Sunday, April 24, 2016. P arties exist in large part to bring order and stability to politics. When you go into the voting booth in November, you'll be confronted with a bunch of races you know nothing about, but the party affiliations of the candidates will tell you almost everything you need to know in order to make reasonable choices. You can predict much of what a candidate for county council will do just by knowing which party she represents—and that goes for president, too. Yet every four or eight years, the parties have to offer the country something entirely new for the office of the presidency, something that will be untainted by the party's past mistakes and perfectly positioned to take advantage of the other party's more recent ones. And only when timing and individual ambition come together can a party give the country...

Why Hillary Clinton Could Be the Kind of President Bernie Sanders Supporters Will Love

AP Photo/Seth Wenig
AP Photo/Seth Wenig Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a speaker at a rally in the Staten Island borough of New York, Sunday, April 17, 2016. I t's frustrating to be a Bernie Sanders supporter right now. Your candidate has plenty of impressive wins behind him, Hillary Clinton is still far from having the nomination wrapped up, and yet everyone is talking as if the race is over. First they didn't take your guy seriously, and now they want to push him out of the race. With the expectedly raucous New York primary coming up Tuesday, it's no wonder that there's no small amount of animosity coming from Sanders fans toward Clinton. In fact, in a recent McClatchy/Marist poll , 25 percent of Sanders supporters say they won't vote for Clinton if she's the party's nominee. They may not want to hear it yet, but those who support Sanders might start thinking about how they could exert influence over Clinton's presidency. Because some of what they don't like about Clinton—...

Republicans Haven't Stopped Digging Their Hole with Latino Voters

(Photo: AP/Wilfredo Lee)
(Photo: AP/Wilfredo Lee) GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz stand onstage during the March 10 Republican presidential debate. Y ou might remember how back in March 2012, Mitt Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom dismissed concerns about Romney's ability to pivot to the general election by saying that moving from the primary to the general is "almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again." Romney couldn't, though: He remained the man he had been during the primaries, someone who was so eager to ingratiate himself to suspicious Republican base voters that he sometimes descended into self-parody ("I was a severely conservative Republican governor," he said proudly at one point). No matter how he tried, he couldn't convince voters that the person they saw in the primary was something other than the president he would have been. That was particularly true among Latinos, who gave Romney only 27 percent of their votes according to...

Donald Trump's Ignorant Honesty

Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/AP Images
Al Drago/CQ Roll Call/AP Images Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Racine, Wisconsin, Saturday, April 2, 2016. F or a guy so eager to tell you about the majestic size and quality of his brain, Donald Trump has a way of displaying his ignorance and getting into trouble whenever he gets asked detailed questions about a policy issue. And something has changed: Now it's actually doing him some harm. The latest controversy, on abortion, shows us how some of what has served Trump so well in the primaries is coming back to bite him as he moves toward the general election. For months, we all marvelled at how Trump could say almost anything, no matter how offensive or stupid, without suffering any damage in the polls. But that was possible because of the particular polls that mattered at the time: polls of Republican primary voters. And for Trump voters told for years that "political correctness" was oppressing them and ruining the country, the...

Barack Obama Is Looking Better and Better

(Photo: AP/Natacha Pisarenko)
(Photo: AP/Natacha Pisarenko) President Barack Obama waves as arrives in Bariloche, Argentina, on March 24. I magine the pain your average Republican must feel when he opens his morning paper. His party is not just riven by internal dissent, but looks like it will nominate a spectacularly unpopular candidate to be its standard-bearer in 2016, with a campaign that gets more farcical every day, bringing ignominy upon a party that has suffered so much already. And now, to add insult to injury, the president he loathes with such fervor is looking ... rather popular with the American public. Barack Obama's approval ratings are now above 50 percent in daily Gallup tracking , and have been for weeks. He's risen higher in public esteem than he's been in three years. Every poll taken in the last month and a half shows him with a positive approval rating. You might say that it's no great achievement to be above 50 percent. After all, didn't Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan leave office with...