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

He's Good Enough, He's Smart Enough, and Gosh Darn It, People Like Him

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster President Donald Trump waves to the crowd after speaking at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, West Virginia. I n an age where our children are supposedly being made soft by too many participation trophies and too much praise, no one is thirstier for tributes than the president of the United States. Give him the chance and he'll tell you how amazing he is with all the self-awareness of a 3-year-old; as we recently learned, in explaining the political importance of his anti-immigration stance to Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, Trump said , "I am the world's greatest person that does not want to let people into the country." And if you work for Trump or depend on him for your position, you know that you have to praise him, too. You need to convince him he has your love and your loyalty, and the best way to do that is to extol his fabulousness to all who will listen, especially on TV. If you're looking for a model, you might take Corey...

At Last, Trump Finds His Mini-Me

(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci answers reporters' questions during his first press briefing on July 21, 2017. P erhaps never in American history has a lowly White House aide been so roundly and gleefully mocked in such short a time as Sean Spicer, President Trump's soon-to-be-former press secretary. Spicer's departure and the arrival of the new communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, show that this White House has really found its groove. Not in passing legislation (which hasn't happened yet) or in convincing Americans that the president is doing a bang-up job (his approval ratings are in the 30s), but in making Donald Trump's staff more fully Trumpian. Ordinarily, the position of White House communication director is filled by someone with at least a decade of experience in press relations—after all, it's pretty much the most prestigious and challenging job in that field. Scaramucci, however, was picked using the...

Trump's Always Been a Con Artist. But Now He's the Sucker.

AP Photo/Susan Walsh
AP Photo/Susan Walsh Protesters gather outside the White House. S ome of us spent a good part of 2016 arguing that Donald Trump was a con man. He had spent much of his career pulling grifts on unsuspecting victims, whether it was the enrollees at Trump University, customers of the multivitamin pyramid scheme called the " Trump Network " (bet you forgot about that one), or small businesspeople from whom he bought goods and services and then stiffed on the bill . Now he was pulling his biggest con of all on the voters, and too many of them were getting fooled. But guess what: Now Donald Trump is the mark. He's the one being manipulated. He turns out to be the biggest sucker in town. The thing about a con man is that in order to be successful, he has to have some understanding of human nature—what motivates people, where their vulnerabilities are, and how they can be manipulated. Which is what makes Trump's success as a grifter somewhat unusual—he possesses little apparent human empathy...

How Trump Is Dragging America's Image Down

(Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Photo: Kay Nietfeld/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) Protesters march during a demonstration against the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 8, 2017. W hile the G20 summit in Germany didn't feature the leaders laying their hands on a glowing orb , it did offer a vivid illustration of just how far the United States has fallen in the mere six months that Donald Trump has been president. He has broken many of the promises he made as a candidate, but he has certainly come through on his pledge to make American foreign policy more inward-looking and contemptuous of the interests of the rest of the world. We're just beginning to see the results. To put it simply, the very idea of "American leadership" in the world is on indefinite hold for as long as Trump remains president. We still have the largest economy, strongest military, and most influential culture, but other countries know they can no longer look to America as a partner or a leader in any common endeavor. Trump has made it...

The Coming Democratic Infighting Over Single-Payer Health Care

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Members of the California Nurses Association and supporters rally in the Capitol rotunda in Sacramento, California, on June 28, 2017, call for a single-payer health plan. B eware Democrats: There's a new litmus test on the way that you'll have to satisfy if you want to avoid being branded an establishment sellout. It concerns single-payer health care, and while this one can get silly in some quarters, there are serious questions that everyone on the left, from the most moderate Democrat to the most committed leftist, will have to answer. With the Republicans proving that a health plan embodying conservative principles can garner the support of as much as 16 percent of the American public, there has never been a better time for liberals to make the case for an expansion of government's role in health care. No long ago, single-payer was either something supported by fringe figures, or an idea that Democrats would say they would favor if we were starting from...

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