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 / 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 […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 9.27.2016

The biggest asset GOP nominee Donald Trump brings to the presidential race is not his alleged business acumen — which more and more looks like an elaborate con — but his showmanship. So it was a bit surprising to watch Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton consistently skewer and dominate the reality-TV star in last night’s debate. […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 9.20.2016

After a long stretch of economic stagnation, the stars may be aligning at last for America’s hard-pressed middle class. The U.S. economy’s growing strength, plus a push in Washington to update overtime rules, could combine to boost incomes and give working families a long overdue raise. New government figures show that the Obama recovery is […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 9.7.2016

Anti-trade populists are hell-bent on locking Democrats into a future of rigid opposition to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. They recently failed in efforts to include a plank in the Democratic Party Platform that would have committed Democrats to the decidedly undemocratic principle of never, ever agreeing even to bring TPP to a vote—either […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 8.29.2016

Twenty years ago this month, President Bill Clinton signed a landmark bill fulfilling his pledge to “end welfare as we know it.” It was the biggest change Clinton made in national policy, and it lanced a political boil that had vexed Americans for a generation. Both accomplishments, substantive and political, are worth celebrating today as […]