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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How Can Republicans Court More Diverse Voters? Turn to Ronald Reagan.

Henry Olsen

Evidence is accumulating that Hispanic, Asian and even some Black Americans are increasingly voting Republican. GOP leaders are naturally eager to cement these new voters’ loyalties. To do that, they should reexamine a speech Ronald Reagan gave more than 40 years ago.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 23, 2021

Moderate Democrats Know the Build Back Better Bill Will Haunt Them. They Voted for It…

Henry Olsen

Many moderate House Democrats surely voted for the Build Back Better bill with serious misgivings. They know in their guts they are likely walking a political plank for their party — and they’re right.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 19, 2021

Don’t Underestimate Xi Jinping’s Ambition

Henry Olsen

For anyone who thought that fears of China invading Taiwan are overblown, think again. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s rise as the paramount figure within the Communist pantheon suggests he has greater ambitions than his recent predecessors.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 18, 2021

Are Americans Starting to Embrace One-Earner Households Again?

Henry Olsen

Last year’s enforced idleness and economic slowdown surely pushed many families into a one-earner status — even if unwillingly. It’s not unreasonable to assume that some liked the subsequent work-life balance.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 12, 2021

Keeping the GOP Coalition Together Might Be Harder than Republicans Think

Henry Olsen

Republicans looking to move on from Donald Trump see their party’s wins in Democratic-leaning states last week as a sign they can do so relatively easily. A new poll from the Pew Research Center, however, shows creating that new majority coalition will be harder than many in the party think, especially on economic issues.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 10, 2021

How Conservatives Can Get Nationalism Right

Henry Olsen

Defining the essence of American nationalism is deceptively simple — until one tries to do it.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 9, 2021

New Jersey’s Election Results Should Terrify Democrats

Henry Olsen

If the Republican sweep in Virginia wasn’t enough to terrify Democrats, New Jersey’s results should definitely do the trick. The state’s shockingly close gubernatorial race is evidence that Americans of all stripes have turned on the Biden-led Democrats and, contrary to what so many on the left claim, don’t believe the GOP is morally unfit to govern.

Articles

The Washington Post / November 3, 2021

Biden’s Vaccine Mandates Might Just Backfire

Henry Olsen

President Biden’s job approval ratings have been sinking for months as voters increasingly see him as out of touch with their priorities and values. The coming clash over vaccine mandates might be another area where the president has misread the public temperament.

Articles

The Washington Post / October 29, 2021

Conservative Justices, Ignore All the Empty Threats About Court-Packing

Henry Olsen

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court has a host of controversial cases before them this term that could result in a fury of calls to “pack” the court with more members. Those justices should not let fear affect their judgment. These are almost certainly empty threats.

Articles

The Washington Post / October 26, 2021

Why Biden, a Senate Success, Is a White House Mess

Henry Olsen

President Biden’s Senate experience is a plus when it comes to the inside-baseball negotiating that produces legislation. It’s a huge minus, however, when it comes to displaying the consistent, public leadership that defines successful presidencies.

Articles

The Washington Post / October 22, 2021

What Republicans Should Learn from Glenn Youngkin

Henry Olsen

Republicans are salivating over the chance that businessman Glenn Youngkin can win the Virginia’s governor race. They should also be salivating over the campaign platform and messaging that’s making his potential upset possible.

Articles

The Washington Post / October 20, 2021

Why Have Biden’s Approval Ratings Plummeted? Look to His Spending Agenda.

Henry Olsen

A recent Gallup poll shows how hard it’s going to be for Democrats to make progress on their huge domestic spending bill—and why going small best serves their political interests.

Articles

The Washington Post / October 18, 2021

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