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 Against Democracy

Steve Apps/Wisconsin State Journal via AP Wisconsin State Senator Scott Fitzgerald, right, smiles after being elected to the post of Senate Majority Leader during a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus in the State Capitol. " Can we really get away with this?" It's a question I've often wondered if Republicans ask themselves, but all evidence suggests that if it comes up, the answer they give is, "Sure—why the hell not?" And with good reason. Since Donald Trump became president we've heard a lot about norms, the informal expectations and patterns of behavior that govern much of the political world. We've discussed them because Trump so often breaks them, in ways small and large. There's no law saying the president has to release his tax returns, or can't publicly demand that the Justice Department investigate his political opponents—it's just how everyone accepted that things would work. But Trump, who has spent a lifetime being taught that he can do whatever he wants, determined...

Don't Mess with Nancy Pelosi

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi talks to reporters during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill. P olitics, Albert Einstein supposedly said, is more difficult than physics. It's full of uncontrolled variables, experiments impossible to repeat, and human beings in all their unpredictable cravenness, ambition, and ignorance. In our media-saturated age, when we call someone a good politician we're usually thinking of their charisma, their rhetorical skill, and their ability to win the affections of their constituents. The quieter work that goes on in back rooms is harder to see and therefore to judge. Except at certain moments like this one. Nancy Pelosi, target of endless criticism and thousands upon thousands of attack ads, is showing what it means to be a good politician. While she hasn't yet guaranteed her place as the next speaker of the House, she is busily dismantling the rebellion she has faced in the last year or so, what appeared to be the...

Donald Trump Will Never Change His Strategy

AP Photo/Evan Vucci President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House. F ailure is a great teacher, but only if you actually understand you've failed and are willing to admit it. And when it comes to the midterm elections, President Trump admits nothing. Which suggests both that he has learned nothing, and that his 2020 re-election campaign—and everything that comes between now and then—will reflect that vacuum of understanding. On Sunday, Fox News aired an interview Chris Wallace conducted with the president, and the topic of the Democrats' extraordinary midterm victory naturally came up. Trump tried to insist that it had actually been a spectacular victory, not just for Republicans but for him personally. He repeated "I won the Senate" three times, claiming absurdly that the GOP's gain of two Senate seats was "a far greater victory" than taking the House was for Democrats. But confronted with all the ways Democrats won, not just in terms of seats but with key...

The Midterms Showed that the Real America Is Democratic

AP Photo/John Bazemore Former President Barack Obama stands with Georgia Democratic candidate for Lieutenant Governor Sarah Riggs Amico, left, gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and congressional candidate Lucy McBath, right, during a campaign rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta. Y ou've heard lots of figures from the 2018 election, but here's what may be the most remarkable one: Once the last couple of House races finish counting, Republicans will have only between 12 and 14 women in their caucus, out of around 200 members. You'll be able to fit all the Republican congresswomen in one van. Before the election there were 23 of them, which was nothing to be proud of, but between retirements, defeats, and some running for higher office, the number was slashed almost in half—even as a wave of successful Democratic women candidates brings the total number of women in the House over 100 for the first time. Democrats are an even more diverse party, and Republicans are almost entirely...

Republicans Undertake Last-Minute Wave of Voter Suppression

(AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
(AP Photo/Mike Stewart) People cast their ballots ahead on October 27, 2018, in Marietta, Georgia. I f voting weren't important, it's been said, Republicans wouldn't work so hard to keep people, especially African Americans, from doing it. And with the 2018 midterm elections upon us, they're doing everything they can to put up a few last hurdles in front of those trying to exercise the franchise. You can see why they're worried. Democratic enthusiasm is extraordinarily high this year, even among the young, who normally sit out midterms. States, counties, and districts from all over are reporting record turnout in early voting. Instead of the usual turnout of 30 percent or so we see in a midterm, this year it could approach 50 percent, more like a presidential year. Places where Republicans would ordinarily expect to win without expending much effort are competitive for the first time in years. Even before they knew that they'd face a backlash against their repellent president,...

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