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.


Op-eds and Articles

By / 3.12.2018

Donald Trump loves walls and he loves tariffs, which are walls of another kind – barriers to open trade. In his mind, walling off the outside world is the key to making America great again. From this warped perspective, his decision last week to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports makes perfect sense. But […]

Press Releases

By / 2.8.2018

The Republican Party, led by self-proclaimed “King of Debt” Donald Trump, is embracing fiscal profligacy on an epic scale. First, the Trump Republicans broke their promise of “revenue-neutral tax reform” and instead rammed through a bill that will grow deficits by at least $1.5 trillion last December. Now they’ve struck a deal with Senate Democrats […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 1.12.2018

Washington Democrats employ legions of political consultants, entrail readers and data-crunchers to help them figure out how to sway voters. They could save a lot of money by listening instead to Democrats who win elections in red and purple states. That’s the idea behind a trenchant new report that should be required reading for national […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.26.2017

“Another such victory and we are lost,” King Pyrrhus of Epirus lamented after suffering staggering losses in defeating the Romans in 279 B.C. This bit of ancient history seems relevant now as President Trump and the Republicans celebrate a pyrrhic victory of their own on taxes. In ramming through Congress a huge package of tax […]


By / 12.19.2017

It’s been a surreal political year, but PPI has much to celebrate this holiday season. Throughout 2017, we expanded our productive capacity and the scope of our political and media outreach significantly. For example, PPI organized 150 meetings with prominent elected officials; visited 10 state capitals and 10 foreign capitals, published an influential book and […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.8.2017

Last week, Republicans played elves to President Trump’s Santa, cobbling together an atrocious package of tax giveaways that will mostly help wealthy Americans while piling at least $1 trillion on the national debt. So much for GOP claims to be the party of working people and fiscal responsibility. Now Trump and the Republican National Committee […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 11.30.2017

As President Trump and Republicans go full throttle to ram a partisan tax bill through Congress this week, let’s step back and ask a basic question: What does the U.S. economy need most today? The answer isn’t tax cuts – it’s public investment in modern infrastructure. Having wasted most of 2017 trying to kill ObamaCare, […]


By and / 11.17.2017

If there is one thing that negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada agree on, it is that NAFTA should be updated and improved to the mutual benefit of the three partners. The question is how to do so. To grapple with that question, the University of California and Tecnológico de Monterrey, the largest […]

Op-eds and Articles

Democrats—who’d had little to celebrate since Donald Trump’s shocking election a year ago—are exulting in last week’s sweeping victories in Virginia and New Jersey, the first signs that the party can spin Trump’s abysmal public approval ratings into electoral gold. Yet there’s also a danger of over-interpreting these odd-year election results. New Jersey is a […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 9.28.2017

Goaded by President Trump, Republican leaders outlined a tax-reform plan this week that is marginally less generous to the wealthy than many conservatives would like. As the GOP struggles to cobble together an actual bill that can unite their fractious party, it’s tempting for Democrats to sit back and enjoy the show. When your opponents […]