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 Tim Kaine Is the Progressives' Dream

The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images
The Yomiuri Shimbun via AP Images Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine appear for the frst time together on the stage in Miami, Florida, on July 23, 2016. T he vice presidency tends to be vastly overrated during the presidential campaign and then underrated once the administration takes office. So it has been since Hillary Clinton announced Friday that Virginia Senator Tim Kaine would be her running mate. Progressives rushed to tell reporters how disappointed they were that one of their preferred choices like Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown wasn't the one picked, expressing how deeply troubled they were about the rightward pull Kaine would supposedly have on Clinton's prospective presidency. But they shouldn't be worried; in fact, Kaine is likely to be a genuine boon to progressive goals. That might sound odd if you've been listening to some of the Bernie Sanders dead-enders (a group that, it should be noted, does not include Bernie Sanders himself) over the last couple of days. But hear...

Trumpapalooza Should Be One Hot Mess of a Convention

Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images
Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx/AP Images Donald Trump with Ivanka Trump announces Mike Pence as his VP pick, July 16, 2016. I n most election years, you can count on at least a few pundits to lament that all the time, effort, and expense of the party conventions is for little purpose other than airing a four-night-long advertisement for the nominee, an endless recitation of already-tired talking points issued to drunken delegates while journalists prowl the hall in a fruitless effort to find some interesting news to report. But not this year! The Democratic convention in Philadelphia may turn out that way, but the Republican gathering in Cleveland promises to be as much of an angry, chaotic mess as the campaign of the man the delegates will raise up. It should be great fun, provided no one actually gets killed. Which isn't out of the realm of possibility. Republicans will insist that it's all going according to plan, and any other impression you might have could only be the fault of a...

Why 2016 Could Be a Turning Point on Guns

(Photo: Chelsea Purgahn/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP)
Chelsea Purgahn/Kalamazoo Gazette via AP Adriana Echols, center, at a July 9 vigil in Kalamazoo, Mich., held in response to recent violence across the nation. I 've been a gun control pessimist for about as long as I've been writing about the issue of guns. No matter what happens—no matter how many mass shootings there are, no matter how many abusive men kill their wives and girlfriends, no matter how many terrorists figure out how easy it is to kill huge numbers of people with our readily available firearms, no matter how many children accidentally shoot their siblings and friends—the marriage between the National Rifle Association and the Republican Party will prevent any meaningful national legislation from being passed. That even applies to measures like universal background checks, which somehow can't be enacted despite support from 90 percent of the public. You couldn't get 90 percent of the public to agree that ice cream is tasty, and yet we can't even get a vote on that in the...

Enough With the 'Optics' and the 'Narrative'

AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File
AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File In this June 7, 2016, file photo, former President Bill Clinton, left, stands on stage with his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, after she spoke during a presidential primary election night rally in New York. W hen an important news story breaks, Americans turn to journalists for answers. Answers to questions like: Does this story "play into a narrative"? And what are the "optics" of the story? Because that's what really matters, right? Or so you might have thought if you had been reading or watching the news for the past few days. Journalists and pundits were all in a tizzy because when Bill Clinton and Attorney General Loretta Lynch crossed paths recently at an Arizona airport tarmac, Clinton jumped on Lynch's plane to chat with her for a half hour, about such shocking topics as Clinton's grandchildren and their mutual friend Janet Reno. The ensuing controversy looks like a prime example of the "Clinton Rules," under which the...

The Last Berniebro?

AP Photo/Mike Groll
Senator Bernie Sanders delivers his "Where We Go From Here" speech on Friday, June 24, 2016, in Albany, New York. “ I've got this thing,” said the politician on a secretly recorded phone call, “and it's f-ing golden. And I'm just not giving it up for f-ing nothing.” That politician, as you probably remember, was Rod Blagojevich, then the the governor of Illinois, and the thing in question was the appointment to temporarily fill the Senate seat of Barack Obama, who was headed to the White House. But Blagojevich's colorful sentiment could apply equally well to the way Bernie Sanders seems to think about his endorsement in this year's presidential race. It's golden, a precious jewel he has secured in a safe whose lock can only be sprung by one who has shown herself to be pure of heart, or at least one who has paid sufficient attention to Sanders and performed the proper rituals of supplication. Then and only then will the endorsement be presented, perhaps on a velvet pillow of deepest...