Paul Waldman

No justice for Trump's enablers: The moral and professional accounting some Republicans feared will never take place

After Donald Trump became his party’s nominee for president in 2016, a great many Republicans in Washington said publicly and privately that they would never work in his administration if he were to win. For some it was because they doubted his commitment to conservative ideology, but for most it was about Trump as a person: He was erratic, unqualified, and most of all an utterly corrupt and immoral person who sullies everything he touches.

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Donald Trump's race-based 2020 re-election campaign

Donald Trump does not play 12-dimensional chess. He does not say or do outrageous things out of a shrewd and carefully constructed strategy to distract you from some other outrageous thing he’s saying or doing. When he makes you appalled, more likely than not it’s because he demonstrated his true beliefs and feelings, whether it benefits him politically or not.

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Students Have Transformed the American Gun Debate

Every social movement in history has been greeted by "concern trolls," long before that term was invented. You're doing it wrong, activists are inevitably told. You're asking for too much too quickly, or your message should be more specific. You don't understand the issue deeply enough, or you're getting lost in the weeds. You've got the wrong spokespeople. You're being rude. Your tactics are alienating those you're trying to persuade. This is never going to work.

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Democrats' Unsolvable Media Problem

As we learn more about how Russia used social media as part of its campaign to help elect Donald Trump, what stands out is how easy it was. Spend $100,000 on Facebook ads, create a bunch of Twitter bots, and before you know it you've whipped up a fog of disinformation that gives Trump just the boost he needs to get over the finish line. Even if it's almost impossible to quantify how many votes it might have swayed, it was one of the many factors contributing to the atmosphere of chaos and confusion that helped Trump get elected.

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Donald Trump, Weakling

Bill Clinton, who had an exquisitely tuned radar for how ordinary people's prejudices influence their political choices, used to say that the public would always prefer a politician who was "strong and wrong" to one who was "weak and right." I couldn't help but think of that when I saw Ted Cruz defend President Trump's chest-thumping bluster on North Korea, by saying that while he wouldn't speak the way the president does, "I do think it helps for North Korea and for China to understand that we have a president who is strong. That is beneficial."

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At Last, Trump Finds His Mini-Me

Perhaps never in American history has a lowly White House aide been so roundly and gleefully mocked in such short a time as Sean Spicer, President Trump's soon-to-be-former press secretary. Spicer's departure and the arrival of the new communication director, Anthony Scaramucci, show that this White House has really found its groove. Not in passing legislation (which hasn't happened yet) or in convincing Americans that the president is doing a bang-up job (his approval ratings are in the 30s), but in making Donald Trump's staff more fully Trumpian.

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Trump Demands Loyalty From Everyone, But Gives It to No One

"I just feel that loyalty is a very, very important part of life, not only of business but of life," said Donald Trump last year. He has been quoted saying similar things for years, and his underlings have learned to echo him. "This campaign, above all other things, is about loyalty," said Corey Lewandowski last April, when he was managing Trump's campaign. Two months later Lewandowski was fired.

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Could Bill O'Reilly, the King of Cable News, Be Going Down?

When you're a star, they let you do it," said Donald Trump about the joy he took in grabbing women by the genitals without their consent, back when he was eager to impress the likes of Billy Bush. "You can do anything." In a way, he was proven right, since for all the controversy around the release of that recording, he still managed to get elected president. And now his good friend Bill O'Reilly is testing the theory. Cable news's biggest star is confronting the most serious threat to his position he's ever faced, as a result of the revelation by The New York Times that O'Reilly and his employer have settled at least five sexual harassment claims against him, paying out $13 million—of course, always with the condition that the accuser keep her mouth shut. It would be deeply ironic for O'Reilly to lose his position just as he watches the presidency finally held by someone who embodies exactly the politics and perspective he has been promoting on air for years.

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Every Bizarre Trump Eruption Is a Rehearsal for When It Really Matters

Every president has the ability to dominate the news, but none has dominated it quite like this one, in much the same way as a flaming car on the side of the highway dominates the attention of the drivers passing by. Donald Trump's eruptions (for lack of a better word) have a gravitational pull on the entire political world, making them impossible to ignore even if one might step back and ask whether it really matters if the president thinks he had the biggest inaugural crowd in history, or that millions of people voted illegally, or that Barack Obama tapped his phones.

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