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

Press Releases

By / 11.29.2018

WASHINGTON—Will Marshall, President of the Progressive Policy Institute, today released the following statement regarding the Democratic House leadership election: “The Progressive Policy Institute does not endorse candidates in elections for Congressional leadership. Who should be the next House Speaker and occupy other top leadership posts is for the new Democratic majority to decide. “Whatever the […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 11.26.2018

For years, partisans and ideologues have assured us that the political center is dead, so don’t bother making persuasive arguments to swing voters. Just get your base out, and may the most “energized” team win. The 2018 midterm elections, however, showed that the center’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. The big story was the revolt […]

Publications

By and / 11.14.2018

The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) today released a national opinion survey that highlights the surprising resilience of America’s pragmatic political center two years into Donald Trump’s deeply polarizing presidency. The poll reinforces a key takeaway from the 2018 midterm elections: Suburban voters – especially women – are repelled by the president’s racial and cultural demagoguery […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 11.8.2018

Although not quite the stinging rebuke that Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans were hoping for, the midterm elections show that President Trump’s strategy of maximum polarization has reached the point of diminishing political returns. Trump predictably claimed victory, but in the real world Democrats won the popular vote again, by more than seven percentage points, captured […]

Blog

By / 11.1.2018

Federalism – the division of sovereign authority among three separate levels of government (local, state and national) – is a distinctive feature of American democracy. The interplay between the three levels has profoundly shaped our country’s political, economic and social development. During the 19th Century, progressive democrats like Jefferson and Jackson regarded the states as […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.25.2018

Led by a divisive and dissembling president, America appears to have arrived at peak polarization. At first glance, that would seem to favor Republicans, who dominate Washington and most state governments. But as next month’s midterm elections are likely to show, President Trump’s divide-and-conquer tactics are driving the GOP into a political box canyon. His […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 10.4.2018

Democrats, like progressive parties across the transatlantic world, are struggling to find an answer to populist nationalism. Could that answer lie in reviving another old political creed, socialism? Some young Democratic activists, inspired by Sen. Bernie Sanders, are flirting with “democratic socialism.” But they have nothing on Britain’s Labour Party, which consummated its on-again relationship […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 9.2.2018

More bureaucracies in Washington won’t do much to improve lives. The public-sector success stories of today are the nimble and innovative metro regions. “Go West, young man,” New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley famously urged soldiers coming home from the Civil War and wondering what to do with the rest of their lives. In that […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 8.27.2018

Sen. John McCain deserves more than a tweet. Yet that’s all our graceless and petty president could muster to mark the death of an authentic American hero and patriot. Perhaps that’s because John McCain was everything Donald Trump is not -– unflinchingly honest, brave, selfless, and respectful of others, including his political opponents. The Navy […]

Publications

By / 6.18.2018

President Trump petulantly attacked U.S. allies at the G-7 summit in Quebec, then dashed off to Singapore to heap praise on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. You couldn’t ask for a more vivid illustration of the illiberal spirit that shapes his “America First” doctrine. But Trump is hardly alone in embracing hyper nationalism. According […]