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

Republicans Have Already Lost the Health-Care Debate

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Speaker Paul Ryan prepare to face reporters at Republican National Committee Headquarters on Capitol Hill. I f we had to reduce the philosophical debate over health care to a single question, it would be this: Is health care a right or a privilege? As Donald Trump and congressional Republicans attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and make profound changes to the entire American health-care system, the deep resistance they're encountering has its roots in the fact that they've lost that debate. Just to be clear, that doesn't mean they won't succeed in passing their legislation. The Republican health-care bill could come up for a vote in the House as early as this week, though its prospects in the Senate are far more dim. Even without the public behind them, they may be able to push a bill through. But everything they do on health care will be judged by the standards Democrats have set, and more particularly,...

Americans Must Liberate Themselves From the Oppression of Health Coverage, Say Republicans

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images Speaker of the House Paul Ryan conducts a presentation on the American Health Care Act, the GOP's plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A s they try to win Americans over to their plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Republican Party is like a salesman trying to get you to buy one of those hoverboards. You ask, "But don't these burst into flames? That seems like a problem." The salesman waves his hand. "Pshaw," he says. "It's not about who is or isn't on fire. It's about freedom!" Keep that idea in mind while we proceed. Early this week the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) will release its assessment of the bill currently moving through the House, and the CBO's "score" will almost certainly say that the bill will cause millions (if not tens of millions) to lose their health coverage, in perhaps the most catastrophic event to hit the American health-care system in modern times. It may also predict that premiums will rise,...

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...

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