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 / 1.16.2019

Dear Democratic Class of 2018, Congratulations on your election to the U.S. House of Representatives! In addition to winning your own race, you are part of something larger – the first wave of a progressive resurgence in U.S. politics. The midterm elections gave U.S. voters their first opportunity to react to the way Donald Trump […]

Press Releases

By / 12.31.2018

Dear Friends, What a year 2018 has been for the Progressive Policy Institute, marking – I can hardly believe it – our 29th year as a catalyst for progressive innovation and reform in U.S. politics. Thankfully, the year is also ending on a high note for our country. Last month’s midterm elections restored a modicum […]

Op-eds and Articles

By / 12.17.2018

New Texas ruling is the latest example of Republican efforts to kill Obamacare. But while the GOP is winning on tactics, it’s losing hearts and minds. What is the strongest political force driving America toward national health care? No, it’s not Sen. Bernie Sanders and his “Democratic Socialist” minions. It’s the Republican Party. Hang on, […]

Op-eds and Articles

By and / 12.14.2018

Emboldened by their new majority in the House of Representatives, Democrats are understandably eager to exercise their power. Some House members believe the way to do that is with an aggressive, sharply partisan agenda aimed at both calling out President Trump for his egregious behavior and demanding immediate action on longshot legislation such as single-payer […]

Blog

By and / 12.13.2018

Chinese hackers stealing technology from U.S. companies, Russian trolls interfering in our elections, U.S. tech leaders hauled before Congress to explain some new data breach or misuse of personal information – hardly a week goes by without Americans being bombarded with new revelations about assaults on our privacy. The problem will only get worse as […]

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 […]