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 / 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 […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 8.11.2016

Donald Trump’s travesty of a presidential campaign is forcing Republicans to ask themselves some hard questions: Does party loyalty outweigh the risks of putting a self-infatuated political ignoramus in the White House? Do they hate Hillary Clinton more than they love their country? No doubt Democrats are enjoying the GOP’s agonizing moment of truth, but […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 8.1.2016

After the Republican fear-fest in Cleveland, watching the Democrats in Philadelphia last week was like stepping out of the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment. Donald Trump may have no use for facts, civility or rational argument, but these things still seem to matter to Democrats. There was, however, a big exception to the rule: trade. […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 7.18.2016

When Republicans nominate Donald J. Trump for president in Cleveland next week, it will mark the nadir of their party’s 164-year existence. To go from Lincoln to Trump is to descend from the sublime to the ridiculous. As a progressive, I should be delighted because a Trump-led GOP should portend sweeping Democratic gains this fall. […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 6.28.2016

On what basis should presidential nominees pick their running mates? Theories abound, but there’s scant proof that vice presidential candidates ever change electoral outcomes. It’s still an important choice that says much about a nominee’s political psychology and needs. But selecting a veep, like pairing wines with food, is more art than science. There used […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 6.23.2016

The ‘Brexit’ tide at last seems to have hit the sturdy seawall of British common sense. Heading into today’s national referendum, polls show rising support for staying in the European Union. True, the contest remains a dead heat and could go either way. But the momentum apparently shifted after last week’s shocking murder of Labour […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 6.22.2016

The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell recently detailed the economic carnage that would result from Donald Trump’s reckless approach to trade — including likely recessions, millions of lost jobs, and higher prices for American consumers. As we’ve detailed, protectionism is bad economics. But, apparently, it’s been good politics for Trump as well as Bernie Sanders, both […]

Other

By and / 5.11.2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has put President Obama’s Clean Power Plan on hold while lower courts review challenges to the regulation. The ruling is a setback to Obama’s hopes of bypassing a hostile Republican majority in Congress and using his executive authority to require electric utilities to make big reductions in carbon emissions. At last […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 4.29.2016

The nominating contest grinds on, but the Acela primary set the stage for a general election faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump’s solid majorities mean that GOP voters, in their inscrutable wisdom, have spoken, choosing a political neophyte who’s never held any public office, has no discernable governing philosophy, and whose campaign consists […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 4.19.2016

In this campaign season of populist anger and demagoguery, bad ideas are bubbling to the surface like marsh gas. Among the worst is protectionism, which would wreak havoc on a U.S. economy that’s finally picking up steam. Both Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders have seized on trade as a convenient scapegoat for the nation’s economic […]