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

Donald Trump's Race-Based Re-Election Campaign

Donald Trump does not play 12-dimensional chess. He does not say or do outrageous things out of a shrewd and carefully constructed strategy to distract you from some other outrageous thing he’s saying or doing. When he makes you appalled, more likely than not it’s because he demonstrated his true beliefs and feelings, whether it benefits him politically or not. And while you’re probably tired of people saying “Oh my god did you see what Trump tweeted,” over the weekend he spat out such a rancid piece of poison that it’s worth taking note of — more than anything else because it’s a preview of what’s to come. Behold: So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly...... — Donald J. Trump (@...

How Florida 2000 Created Our Modern Dysfunction

If back in 2001 I had told you that 18 years later the country would be living with the most corrupt president anyone could remember while his administration and Republicans in Congress steamrolled over every norm of politics and governing they could find, while Democrats meekly debated whether it would seem rude to impeach him, you would have said, “So I take it not much has changed?” That’s because the seeds of what we endure today, particularly with regard to the limitlessly cynical view of politics embodied in the GOP, were sown in November and December of 2000, in Florida. To understand where we are now, you have to understand what happened then and the way that debacle reverberates through our system. I decided to revisit Florida 2000 in part because of the release of Leon Neyfakh’s vivid new podcast “Fiasco,” in which he gives it the same examination he gave to Watergate and the Lewinsky scandal. To hear those events recounted and the...

What Democrats Don't Get About the Republican Party

In 2018, Florida voters did something revolutionary, passing an amendment to the state constitution to restore voting rights to people with felony records who had served their time. By an overwhelming 65-35 margin, the electorate decided to get rid of this vestige of Jim Crow , one of many laws passed to keep African Americans from the ballot box. One might have thought that was the end of the story, but it most certainly was not. And that’s the story I want to focus on: One in which every advance Democrats make is met by unceasing attempts to undermine it, undo it, reverse it, destroy it. Those attempts are a key strategy employed by today’s Republican Party, something their opponents may not fully understand. When that Florida initiative passed, Republicans did not say, “Oh well, looks like our ongoing attempt to restrict voting rights suffered a setback. We’ll just have to persuade the voters that our vision is the best one.” Instead, they immediately...

Is Joe Biden the Wrong Man at the Wrong Time?

In early 2015, it seemed obvious to most political observers ( including me ) that Jeb Bush was the most likely Republican presidential nominee. He may not have been heart-stoppingly charismatic, but he was raising lots of money, had extensive support within the party, and was just the kind of safe, established figure Republicans usually nominate. And who was going to beat him— a pipsqueak like Scott Walker or Marco Rubio? Not too likely. Yet his campaign sputtered and faltered, even before Donald Trump entered the race and made clear what Republican voters were really looking for. One of the lessons is that in presidential politics, you can never tell what a candidate has in them until they jump into the rushing river of the race. There is nothing quite like running for president. It challenges you in ways no other endeavor can, not even running for another major office: your stamina, your fortitude, your ability to think on your feet, your capacity to deal with crises, your...

There's Almost Nothing Donald Trump Won't Do to Get Re-Elected

The two and a half years since Donald Trump became president of the United States have been horrifying, terrifying, appalling, and maddening. But you haven’t seen anything yet. According to some reports , Trump himself was as surprised as everyone else when he won the 2016 election, but as we look toward 2020 the stakes are different. He knows full well that if he is defeated next November, he will forever be known as the one thing he most fears being: a loser. Even apart from the very real possibility that he could be prosecuted for any number of crimes from tax evasion to obstruction of justice, being rejected by the public and cast out of office would be one defeat he couldn’t spin or bluster his way out of. How far do you think Trump will go to avoid that outcome? Let’s begin with the most extraordinary news of the past week, that the president of the United States made a public invitation to any foreign power, hostile or otherwise, to meddle in the 2020 election...

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