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 / 4.11.2016

With Donald Trump and Ted Cruz locked in a bitter battle for the Republican nomination, the stakes in 2016 rise dramatically. The likely victory of either one of these deeply flawed candidates will give Democrats a chance not only to hold the White House, but also to realign U.S. politics. No wonder Republicans are panicking. […]

Publications

By / 3.15.2016

As Americans choose a new president in 2016, populist anger dominates the campaign. To hear Donald Trump or Senator Bernie Sanders tell it, America is either a global doormat or a sham democracy controlled by the “one percent.” These dark narratives are caricatures, but they do stem from a real dilemma: America is stuck in […]

Other

By and / 3.9.2016

Growing inequality has emerged as a central issue in the 2016 presidential election. Yet none of you has paid much attention to a major source of economic inequality in America: the uneven quality of our public schools. As far as we can determine, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has no thoughts on how to improve K-12 […]

Press Releases

By / 2.18.2016

WASHINGTON—PPI President Will Marshall today released the following statement after a U.S. federal magistrate ordered Apple to help the Federal Bureau of Investigation unlock the encrypted iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters: “The Progressive Policy Institute has long advocated a forceful U.S. response to the threat of jihadist terrorism. With the rise and […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 2.11.2016

Barack Obama is thinking big as his presidency enters the final stretch. The centerpiece of his last budget, unveiled this week, is a $300 billion plan for a “clean transportation system”—the biggest federal infrastructure push since President Eisenhower launched the interstate highway system. Here at last is a fix that’s equal to the magnitude of […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 11.22.2015

Syria has become Barack Obama’s Iraq—a foreign policy debacle rooted in faulty assumptions about the utility of American power. Where George W. Bush overstated what U.S. military intervention could achieve in Iraq, Obama has underestimated the risks and costs of non-intervention in Syria. The analogy will rankle many progressives, as well as conservative “realists” who […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 11.5.2015

Compared to the Republicans’ presidential cattle calls, the next Democratic debate will be an intimate affair, since the field has shrunk to just three candidates. They will gather in South Carolina Friday for a “candidate forum” moderated by MSNBC’s uber-progressive Rachel Maddow. That sounds like a recipe for another rousing round of populism, business-bashing and […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.13.2015

Hillary Clinton’s decision to oppose President Obama’s top trade priority is beyond disappointing. It devalues two of her real assets – foreign policy expertise and political loyalty – while aligning her with the most economically retrograde voices on the “populist” left. Political reporters naturally played up Clinton’s “break” with Obama, who has just wrapped up […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.1.2015

All political parties struggle to reconcile their core convictions with their desire to win elections. But apparently there’s one party so pristinely principled that it despises its own electoral successes. I refer, of course, to Britain’s Labour Party. In choosing as its new leader Jeremy Corbyn, a long-time fixture of the hard-left fringe, the party […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 8.28.2015

As Congress takes up the Iran nuclear deal next month, it ought to confront this paradox: The agreement allows the Iranians to do something Americans can’t—sell oil to the rest of the world. Don’t get me wrong. I support the deal, under which Tehran would stop enriching weapons-grade uranium for the next 15 years in […]