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

Blog

By / 3.31.2017

Just over a year ago, PPI unveiled a big ideas blueprint with a prescient subtitle: Unleashing Innovation and Growth: A Progressive Alternative to Populism. We knew that progressives in the United States and Europe needed better answers to the economic and cultural grievances that have fueled the rise of a retrograde populism and nationalism around […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 3.30.2017

WASHINGTON — President Trump has discovered that trying to work with Republicans, like trying to work on health care policy, is complicated. So with all his big campaign pledges in limbo following last week’s Obamacare fiasco, he reportedly is contemplating overtures to a party that actually wants to govern: the Democrats. This new tack comes, […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 3.23.2017

Many Congressional Republicans regard Donald Trump as an interloper, so it’s not surprising that their political marriage of convenience is already showing signs of strain. They’re bickering over health care now, but the deeper source of discord is the basic incompatibility of conservatism and populism. During the campaign, Trump echoed Republicans in caricaturing Obamacare as […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 3.15.2017

President Trump’s “open mind” on climate change seems to be closing. He’s preparing an executive order to kill Obama administration rules aimed at curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. It is almost as though Trump is determined to increase the amount of carbon and other greenhouse gases America pumps into the atmosphere.   As carbon emissions […]

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 […]