People / Staff

Will Marshall

Will Marshall is president and founder of the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), established in 1989 as a center for political innovation in Washington, D.C. In this capacity, he has been one of the chief intellectual architects of the movement to modernize progressive politics for the global age.

Called “Bill Clinton’s idea mill,” PPI’s policy analysis and proposals were the source for many of the “New Democrat” innovations that figured prominently in national politics over the past two decades. The Institute also has been integral to the spread of “Third Way” thinking to center-left parties in Europe and elsewhere. Marshall is an honorary Vice-President of Policy Network, an international think tank launched by Tony Blair to promote progressive policy ideas throughout the democratic world.

Marshall is editor or co-editor of many books, including Memos to the New President (PPI, January 2009); With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006); The AmeriCorps Experiment and the Future of National Service (PPI, 2005); Building the Bridge: 10 Big Ideas to Transform America (Rowman & Littlefield, 1997); and Mandate for Change (Berkley Books, 1992), PPI’s best-selling policy blueprint for President Clinton’s first term. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and many other newspapers, as well as The American Interest, The American Prospect, Democracy, and other journals.

In 1985, Marshall helped to found the Democratic Leadership Council, serving as its first policy director.

Marshall currently serves on the board of directors for the National Endowment for Democracy.

Marshall’s previous campaign and political experience includes posts as press secretary, spokesman and speechwriter for the 1984 United States Senate campaign of former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt, speechwriter and policy analyst for the late U.S. Representative Gillis Long of Louisiana, Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus; and, spokesman and speechwriter in the 1982 U.S. Senate campaign of former Virginia Lt. Governor Dick Davis.

Before becoming involved in politics and public policy, he was a journalist in Virginia, including a stint with the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1952, Marshall is a 1975 graduate of the University of Virginia, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History. Marshall and his wife, Katryn S. Nicolai, live in Arlington, VA. They have two children, Olivia and William.

Writings

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 2.15.2017

Does a deal now gaining momentum across the aisle actually have the potential to break the stalemate on climate change? Is Donald Trump serious about keeping an “open mind” on climate change? Considering the “drill, baby, drill” cheerleaders he’s put in key Cabinet posts, it’s easy to fear the worst. They appear more than eager […]

Blog

By / 1.30.2017

President Trump evidently believes many things that have no basis in fact. Only a week into his presidency, his make-believe world is colliding with reality – to the detriment and even shame of our country. There’s no better example than his order temporarily preventing citizens of seven Muslim countries from entering our country. It is […]

Blog

By / 1.24.2017

The era of U.S. international leadership is over. How do I know? Because President Trump so decreed in his inaugural address. He put the world on notice: Henceforth, America will be looking out exclusively for No. 1. Do the people, whose instrument Trump claims to be, share his vision of an insular America? We’ll see, […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 1.5.2017

The 115th Congress is off to a stumbling start. House Republicans impetuously made gutting the Congressional ethics office their first order of business—only to beat a humiliating retreat after the resulting public outcry and rebuke from President-elect Trump. Now, House leaders plan to throw more red meat to conservatives by voting today on a sham regulatory […]

Blog

By / 12.22.2016

Because of friends and supporters like you, PPI has much to celebrate as we close the books on 2016. Our holiday cheer is somewhat tempered though by the new political realities progressives face following the 2016 elections. Nonetheless, our New Year’s resolution at PPI is to define a new governing vision for progressives – a […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.7.2016

As Democrats debate why they lost the 2016 elections, Hillary Clinton must feel like the star-crossed heroine in a Greek tragedy. She beat Donald Trump handily, by a margin of at least 2.6 million votes. Yet even in winning, the fates (and the Electoral College) have cruelly decreed that she lose. Compounding the sense of tragedy is Trump’s all-too-characteristic reaction to […]

Blog

By / 11.8.2016

Even if he loses today, Donald Trump already has vandalized American democracy. That someone so plainly unfit for public office could come anywhere close to winning the highest one in the land shows that our experiment in self-government has veered badly off course. Forget about ideology or party for a moment. There’s a lot more […]

Op-eds and Articles

In a new special series published by RealClearPolicy, PPI President Will Marshall squares off against Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, senior policy advisors to the Trump campaign, on trade policy in the next presidential administration. “Donald Trump  calls  the U.S. economy a ‘disaster’ and blames trade for sapping America’s industrial might,” Marshall writes. “Neither claim is true, but […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.17.2016

Hillary’s answer to American discontent is a familiar litany of left-liberalism, while conservative scholars outline a post-Trump intellectual revival. Sometimes U.S. presidential elections confront Americans with a choice between starkly different political visions, not just leaders and parties. The elections of 1800, 1860, 1912, and 1932, for example, were truly pivotal contests that altered the […]

Blog

By / 10.6.2016

I’d like to draw your attention to this extraordinary essay by President Obama in The Economist. It stands out for two reasons. First, it provides what has been sorely missing from the bizarre 2016 presidential race – a progressive roadmap for restoring America’s economic dynamism. Second, President Obama’s approach to reversing nearly two decades of slow economic […]