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

Everything Is Backlash

Emily Molli/NurPhoto/Sipa USA via AP Images Protesters gather to demonstrate against Justice Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation on the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington. T he battle over Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court will have effects for years to come—legally, sociologically, and politically—and to understand the political question, you need only ask who was made angrier by the spectacle we just witnessed. Is it Democratic voters, who watched while the GOP rallied around a man credibly accused of sexual assault, belittled his accuser, then celebrated their triumph in putting him on the court to (among other things) eviscerate women's reproductive rights? Or is it Republican voters, who were terribly offended by what a fine upstanding son of the elite like Kavanaugh had to endure? In other words, whose backlash is going to be bigger? The answer will determine what happens in November and beyond. It's too early to know for sure, though I have my suspicions. But...

The Best Explanation for Ford's and Kavanaugh's Conflicting Stories

(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
(Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP) Christine Blasey Ford A s soon as allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh began circulating, Republicans knew they had a problem, even if they were disinclined to believe that one of their own could ever have been guilty of any misdeeds. Already facing the potential of huge midterm losses driven by women candidates and women voters, and worried about the spectacle of 11 white Republican men snarling at a woman telling her story of sexual abuse, they found a fig leaf—a female prosecutor who could interrogate Christine Blasey Ford about the assault she says she suffered at Kavanaugh's hands. But what about the fallout from all of them dismissing Ford's allegations, as they inevitably would? Ever creative, Republicans have found another fig leaf, a way of claiming that they believe Ford while not actually believing her. Part of their logic does make some sense. But the place it takes them to is upside down. Not only that, there's a...

Why Republicans Are Fighting so Hard for Brett Kavanaugh

AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question as he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. I n an alternate universe, the White House, with the strong support of Republicans on Capitol Hill and everywhere else, has said to Brett Kavanaugh, "We're sorry, Brett, but the accusation that you attempted to rape Christine Blasey Ford when you were both teenagers has made it impossible to proceed with your nomination to the Supreme Court. You're going to have to step aside in favor of another candidate." That's not what happening in this universe, however. And why not? We sometimes believe that people who work in politics are infinitely cynical, that there's nothing they won't do for political advantage and no goal that takes precedence over winning. While that may be true of a figure here or there ( Mitch McConnell comes to mind), both parties regularly do politically questionable or even foolhardy...

All of Our Fears About Trump Are Coming True

AP Photo/Susan Walsh President Donald Trump walks off of the stage after speaking at a fundraiser in Fargo, North Dakota. E very once in a while, amid the relentless assault on one's psychological well being that is the Donald Trump presidency, it's tempting to say that as bad as things may be, we haven't had an outright catastrophe yet. The nuclear missiles remain in their silos, martial law has not been declared, and the citizenry does not yet lie trembling in their caves as they hide from roving bands of cannibals. So it could certainly be worse. True as that may be, when you step back to take stock, you soon realize that things are very, very bad. In fact, this presidency is living up to all of our fears. To see how, let's look at what happened just in the last week, a week that was only slightly more eventful than the typical one since Trump became president. Here are just some of the highlights: According to The Washington Post 's Fact Checker, Trump surpassed 5,000 false or...

Will Those Who Work for Trump Ever Face Accountability?

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Attorney General Jeff Sessions, second from right, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, right, speak together during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House. T he political world remains consumed with discovering the identity of the anonymous Trump administration official who wrote an op-ed in The New York Times last week saying that they are part of a group of Trump aides who "have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office." The president himself is certainly consumed with it; he called the Times ' decision to publish the piece "treason" and demanded that the Justice Department deploy the federal government's resources to ferret out the official, apparently unaware that disloyalty is not a crime. Meanwhile, members of Trump's administration have rushed to proclaim that it isn't them, lest Trump doubt their devotion; ambassador to the United Nations...

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