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

A Third-Class Intellect, But a Fourth-Class Temperament

(Rex Features via AP Images)
After the 2017 we had, it seems completely appropriate that as 2018 begins, we're arguing about whether Donald Trump is an idiot or a genius. Or perhaps "arguing" is the wrong word. It isn't like there's some kind of grand debate afoot, in which the two parties articulate opposing views, marshall evidence, and work to convince the public that their side is correct. You'd have a hard time finding a Republican not in Trump's direct employ who would say with a straight face that the president is an intelligent man, and with the release of Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House , in which Wolff describes how the White House staff has to work to accommodate the fact that their boss is a simpleton, the president's insecurities have come bursting out yet again. Nobody's going to call him stupid without him hitting back! And so he has, announcing on Twitter that "Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really...

President Trump Is Wrong: The Postal Service Is an American Treasure

(Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)
Last Friday, the president took a shot at the U.S. Postal Service over Twitter, alleging that they aren't charging Amazon enough to mail packages, "making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer." In response, I took the opportunity to go on a little Twitter rant of my own , in which I sought to dispel some of the myths about the Postal Service. I figured it would get a few retweets and likes, and that would be that. What happened instead was an overwhelming response from tens of thousands of people, sharing my comments and their affection for the Postal Service as customers, employees, and the loved ones of both. That response convinced me that there's more to say about this topic and what it says about America. To begin, let me explain why the U.S. Postal Service, target of so many derisive portrayals in popular culture, is actually a marvel. There are many parts of modern life that are so routine that we take them for granted and never contemplate how much planning,...

Why the Republicans' Tax Cut Won't Save Them from Political Disaster

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Donald Trump lies so often that when he tells unadorned truths it can be a shock. But sometimes it happens when he forgets to spin, as it was when he was speaking to a group of wealthy friends at a dinner at Mar-a-Lago last Friday. "You all just got a lot richer," he told to the well-heeled diners, referring to the tax cuts he had just signed. And they certainly did, despite the endless assurances that the bill was really aimed at the struggling middle class. That's particularly true if Trump's guests own lots of stock, because the bill's centerpiece, the cut in the corporate tax rate, will in all likelihood be mostly passed on to shareholders, in the form of dividends and share price-boosting efforts like stock buybacks. Republicans in Washington, however, are holding out hope that before long, the American middle class will understand how the tax bill has transformed their lives, then reward the GOP accordingly. Once the inevitable tide of prosperity washes across the land, voters...

Democrats Can't Stop the Tax Bill -- But They Can Make Republicans Pay

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Throughout this year, anyone familiar with the Republican Party could have told you that no matter how many ways they might fail, the one thing they will do when they have power is cut taxes, particularly for the wealthy and corporations. If it required their last dying breath, or at least incurring huge political cost, this they would do, above all else. And now they appear to have gathered the votes, with every last Republican in the Senate likely to vote to approve the conference committee's final version of the bill (though it's possible Mitch McConnell may allow Susan Collins to vote no and save face now that they have a cushion of a vote or two, an old technique called "catch and release"). Democrats cannot stop this bill from passing. But there is something else they can do: Make Republicans pay a price for it. You have to give the GOP some credit for taking a tax cut—which is supposed to be just about dispensing goodies—and making it one of the least popular pieces...

A Constitutional Crisis Is on the Way

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
Remarkably, we are almost a year into Donald Trump's term as president of the United States and we haven't yet had a full-blown constitutional crisis. But it may be on its way. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation is circling the Oval Office, and the closer he gets, the more agitated President Trump and his defenders become. In response, they've begun an all-out assault on Mueller, one that could well result in Trump firing him. It's more than obvious that Trump wants to do so; the only question is how long the relatively sane people around him who appreciate the consequences of such a move can hold him back. They surely know that Trump firing Mueller would not only be a political disaster for him but would plunge the government into its most serious crisis in decades, with a president moving to shut down an investigation into his own wrongdoing. In order to do it, Trump would have to create his own version of Richard Nixon's Saturday Night Massacre, in which he moved to...