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

Has Trump Overestimated the Cruelty of His Own Supporters?

AP Photo/Chuck Burton President Donald Trump speaks with Pastor Franklin Graham in March. Graham is one of several conservative religious leaders to criticize the administration's family separation policy. W hen it comes to public policy, Donald Trump doesn't believe in very much. He has little in the way of strong feelings about abortion or guns or health care, for instance, though he understands that staying consistent with Republican orthodoxy is politically important for him. But there are a few issues he cares deeply about, and has since before he became a politician. Trade is one of them; he thinks that whenever an American buys something made in another country, the country has been made to look the fool and the world is laughing at us . The other major issue on which Trump has firm beliefs is immigration, and now we are truly seeing those beliefs put into practice, and the result is one of the more intense controversies of this presidency. After a lengthy internal argument in...

Trump Unchained

(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
(AP Photo/Luca Bruno) Donald Trump in Italy on May 27, 2017 " You are a king," Donald Trump's father reportedly told him . And the thing about being a king is that nobody gets to tell you what to do. It's becoming clear that few parts of the president's character are as important as how harshly he reacts to any attempt to constrain him. He grew up in wealth, and without any sense of obligation to anyone. As the head of a private company, he had no board of directors overseeing him and no one to answer to. And today, the very idea that someone might try to push him in one direction or another—let alone force him to do something like testify before a grand jury or reveal his tax returns—seems to fill him with rage. Seldom has a leader mattered more as an individual, divorced from institutional imperatives, party commitments, international alliances, traditional norms, and historical forces. Indeed, that was part of the appeal Trump made to voters, and the thing that made many in his...

Inevitably, Trump Declares He Is Above the Law

(Chip Somodevilla/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
(Chip Somodevilla/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images) President Trump walks across the South Lawn before departing the White House on June 1, 2018. O n July 27, 1974, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, saying that he had "prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice." Nixon resigned before the full House could vote on his impeachment. Twenty-five years later, after an investigation that had begun more than five years before, the United States Senate voted on articles of impeachment for President Bill Clinton, which used the same language, that he had "prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice." Of the 55 Republicans then in the Senate, 50 voted to convict Clinton on this charge; among them were ten who are still in office today. Six Republicans who were then in the House and voted for impeachment are now in the Senate. Also voting for impeachment on the charges including obstruction was then-...

The Moral Compromise Republicans Made to Support Trump in 2016? It's Only Getting Worse

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais President Donald Trump stops to look at supporters at a rally in Washington, Michigan I f you're a Republican, the last two years have asked a lot of you. First you were given an extraordinarily difficult choice: Support Donald Trump, or turn your back on your party. And now, Trump himself is demanding something even more distasteful. If you support him, you must not merely hold your nose and say "The alternative is worse." You must accept an increasingly rancid collection of ideas, ones that require you not only to abandon any commitment at all to honesty but to cast aside much of your dwindling stock of moral values. Let's remind ourselves of the bargain so many Republicans made back in 2016. While Trump's avid supporters made up at least a plurality of the party during the primaries, once he became the nominee, many analysts thought that he'd be unable to bring the rest of the party to him and command the kind of loyalty that had come to mark our...

Forget the Deep State -- This Is the Trump State

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) Donald Trump is seen through the window of his motorcade vehicle on May 15, 2018. P eriodically over the last year and a half we've had cause to ask ourselves, "Is this it? Is this the moment we've been dreading and warning about? When Donald Trump truly becomes the kind of president he keeps telling us he wants to be?" Sometimes it's hard to tell. It's as if we're all standing in a river of corruption rushing around us with impossible speed and force, and every once in a while another wave smashes us in the face. Was that wave the real problem, or is it the whole river? The answer is: It's both. The "Deep State" may be a myth, but we've seen the installation of the Trump State, which is something far worse. Here's what Trump tweeted on Sunday: I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or...