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

What You Should Really Watch for in Tonight's Debate

AP Photo/Julio Cortez
AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File A TV cameraman sets up during rehearsals for the presidential debate between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Sunday, September 25, 2016. A s we arrive at what some are predicting could be the most-watched presidential debate in history, the speculation is reaching a state of frenzy. Will Trump be calm or crazy? Will Clinton show her personal side? Is Lester Holt going to say anything when Trump claims that Clinton sank the Maine , was secretly Tokyo Rose, once made out with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at a party, and wrote all the songs for " Cop Rock "? After the debate is over, the questions will, if anything, get even dumber, all about who "won," who got off the best one-liners, and whether "expectations" were met. Nothing is less important after a debate occurs than expectations—once it has already happened, we no longer need to care about what the...

The Presidential Campaign Has Descended Into Madness

AP Photo/ Evan Vucci
AP Photo/ Evan Vucci Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump pumps his fist after speaking during a campaign rally, Saturday, September 17, 2016, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. M y friends, we have fallen down the rabbit hole. This presidential campaign has completely departed from ordinary reality, into a place where there's no such thing as truth and accountability is a joke—at least for some. I wish I could tell you with confidence that it all will work out in the end, that the electorate will be wise and thoughtful, that we'll only shake our heads and chuckle when we think back on 2016. But I'm no longer so sure. This is the sequence of events we witnessed over the last few days. On Friday, Donald Trump held an event at which he finally gave up the malignant crusade he has been on for the last five years to convince people that President Obama was not born in the United States. In doing so, however, he told a breathtakingly brazen lie: "Hillary Clinton and her campaign of...

Donald Trump's Weak Version of Strength

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is illuminated by a spotlight as he walks offstage during a rally, Friday, September 9, 2016, in Pensacola, Florida. D onald Trump just can't stop lavishing praise on Vladimir Putin, and there are two things he never fails to mention whenever the subject of the Russian president comes up. The first is that he has almost no choice but to exalt Putin, because he thinks Putin called him brilliant. "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him," Trump says , though he doesn't explain why that's so important (not to mention the fact that the word Putin used to describe Trump translates not as "brilliant" but as "colorful"). The second thing Trump always says about Putin is that he's a "strong leader," and much stronger than President Obama. It's this quality of strength that has Republicans rushing to back Trump up on this score and express their own admiration for Putin. "I think it's...

Donald Trump and the Plan of No Plan

AP Photo/Evan Vucci
AP Photo/Evan Vucci Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a visit to the childhood home of Dr. Ben Carson, Saturday, September 3, 2016, in Detroit. I n the course of trying to sell himself to African Americans—or to convince white moderates that he isn't a despicable bigot by making a show of trying to sell himself to African Americans—Donald Trump has said that unlike Democratic politicians, he can deliver jobs. "You're living in your poverty," he says , "your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed—what the hell do you have to lose?" The 58 percent figure is bogus (as you might expect), and the rest of what he says practically oozes contempt (also as you might expect), but underneath it there's an argument that's worth considering, for African Americans and everyone else: Can Donald Trump deliver jobs? That's the supposed appeal of every businessman candidate: Unlike those Washington politicians, I have a deep...

Even on His Signature Issue, Donald Trump Can't Figure Out What He Believes

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, Thursday, August 25, 2016. T his Wednesday, Donald Trump will be giving what he describes as a "major speech" on immigration. Presumably, this will be one of the ones he reads off a teleprompter, which allows his staff to make sure he says just what they want him to. Of course, that won't stop him from saying something completely different the next time he speaks off the cuff, which usually happens within 48 hours of one of these "clarifying" speeches wherein he attempts to bring some coherence to all his contradictory statements. But is anyone's mind going to be changed by anything Trump has to say at this point on immigration? That's another way of asking whether anything at all will change in this race between now and November. After all, this is Donald Trump's signature issue, the one with which he bludgeoned his primary opponents as soft-...