Henry Olsen

Senior Fellow

Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

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For media inquiries or to book Mr. Olsen for an interview, contact Josh Britton at jbritton@eppc.org or 202-715-3493.

Click here to view the full archive of Mr. Olsen’s writings at The Washington Post.

Click here to view the full archive of Mr. Olsen’s writings at National Review Online.

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Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.

Mr. Olsen is an opinion columnist for The Washington Post, where he writes daily pieces focusing on politics, populism, foreign affairs and American conservative thought. He is also the author of The Working Class Republican: Ronald Reagan and the Return of Blue-Collar Conservatism and The Four Faces of the Republican Party, co-authored with Dante Scala.

Mr. Olsen was previously an editor at UnHerd.com and a regular contributor to American GreatnessCity Journal, and World Magazine. Mr. Olsen’s work has been featured in many prominent publications, including The New York TimesThe Wall Street JournalNational ReviewThe Guardian, and The Weekly Standard.

His predictions of the 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018 elections were particularly praised for their remarkable accuracy. In the 2016 campaign, he accurately identified the factors fueling the rise of Donald Trump early in the race, and his election-eve predictions were among the most accurate of any major analyst or commentator.

Mr. Olsen has worked in senior executive positions at many center-right think tanks. He most recently served from 2006 to 2013 as Vice President and Director, National Research Initiative, at the American Enterprise Institute. He previously worked as Vice President of Programs at the Manhattan Institute and President of the Commonwealth Foundation.

Mr. Olsen started his career as a political consultant at the California firm of Hoffenblum-Mollrich. He then worked with the California State Assembly Republican Caucus before attending law school. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Danny J. Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and as an associate at Dechert, Price & Rhoads. He has a B.A. from Claremont McKenna College and a J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as Comment Editor for the University of Chicago Law Review.

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The World’s Populists Are Ascendant

Henry Olsen

Norway’s election on Monday begins a two-month collection of votes around the globe that will tell us a lot about public opinion a year-and-a-half into the pandemic. Though each country is different, the patterns are already clear: The traditional right is down, while the far left and populism are on the rise.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 15, 2021

Biden’s Covid Vaccine Mandates are Unconstitutional — and Unnecessary

Henry Olsen

President Biden’s speech Thursday announcing the imposition of national vaccine requirements was more than a brazen flip-flop. It was a breathtaking disregard for the Constitution and an arrogant display of overreaching federal power.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 10, 2021

The Virginia Governor’s Race Might Not Be a Slam Dunk for Democrat Terry McAuliffe

Henry Olsen

Virginia has become a Democratic-leaning state over the past decade, which gives former governor Terry McAuliffe a leg up in his effort to get his old job back. The polls, however, suggest that it might not be a slam dunk.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 7, 2021

Manchin Sees Clearly What His Party’s Progressives Don’t or Won’t

Henry Olsen

Sen. Joe Manchin’s declaration that he wants his fellow Democrats to take a “strategic pause” in crafting the party’s proposed $3.5 trillion domestic spending package is an early warning sign for the political troubles Democrats are courting if they ignore his plea and move full speed ahead.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 3, 2021

The Supreme Court Had No Reason to Block Texas’s Abortion Law

Henry Olsen

The Supreme Court’s refusal to prevent operation of Texas’s law banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected has unleashed a squall of public debate over abortion law. While that furor won’t calm for months or more, one thing is clear: The court’s majority was legally correct.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 2, 2021

Ron Desantis Probably Won’t Be Hurt by Florida’s Covid Surge

Henry Olsen

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is again receiving national media scrutiny as his state’s Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations soar to record levels. That is as likely to help him politically as it is to hurt him.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 30, 2021

No Matter What Naftali Bennett and Joe Biden Say, the U.S.-Israeli Relationship Will Likely Sour

Henry Olsen

Aside from platitudes about the enduring U.S.-Israeli friendship, it is hard to see what Bennett and Biden can possibly agree on.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 26, 2021

The Democratic Rift Between Progressives and Moderates Is Unresolvable

Henry Olsen

The irresistible force of progressive wants will meet the immovable object of moderate desires. Which gives way and when will shape the future of our politics for years to come.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 24, 2021

The U.S. Can Learn Something from Europe’s Covid-19 Restrictions

Henry Olsen

Europe is demonstrating that high rates of vaccination, combined with tolerance of one’s fellow citizens, is the best approach to the pandemic while maintaining high levels of freedom. U.S. policymakers would be wise to learn that lesson.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 23, 2021

No, Afghanistan did not Improve Much with U.S. intervention

Henry Olsen

Critics of President Biden’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan often paint a rosy picture of the country. Afghans themselves would probably say otherwise.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 20, 2021

Biden’s Approval Rating Is Slipping Fast. Democrats Should Be Nervous.

Henry Olsen

The media is hammering President Biden over the chaotic fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. That can only amplify what was already a slow but steady decline in his job approval numbers.

Archives

The Washington Post / August 18, 2021

Now’s the Moment for Biden to Pivot His Foreign Policy and Stand Up to Adversaries

Henry Olsen

The loss in Vietnam was followed by years of U.S. retreats and defeats, culminating in the Iran hostage crisis. President Biden and Democrats in Congress must not allow that to happen again.

Articles

The Washington Post / August 16, 2021

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