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 [email protected].

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.

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 is teaching as the Thomas W. Smith Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at Arizona State University for the Winter/Spring 2023 semester.

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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What a DeSantis Rebound Looks Like

Henry Olsen

Why Iowa governor Reynolds’s endorsement could be the first step in a recovery for the struggling presidential candidate.

National Review Online / November 10, 2023

The GOP’s silver linings after Virginia election losses

Henry Olsen

Tuesday’s off-year elections were clearly disappointing for Republicans.

Washington Post / November 9, 2023

Haley and DeSantis battle in the race for second place

Henry Olsen

The two politicians are miles ahead of their competitors – but that’s not enough to take down Trump.

The Telegraph / November 9, 2023

What Ron DeSantis doesn’t seem to understand about Ronald Reagan

Henry Olsen

Ron DeSantis is telling Republican voters that “the 2024 election is a time for choosing.”

Washington Post / November 6, 2023

Donald Trump Wants to Be Held in Contempt

Henry Olsen

Trump seems to have concluded that provoking the judges in the cases against him helps his reelection chances more than it hurts him in court.

National Review Online / November 2, 2023

Biden should take Dean Phillips’s 2024 campaign seriously, not literally

Henry Olsen

Phillips might not be a serious candidate, but he is a serious threat.

Washington Post / October 25, 2023

Neither Steve Scalise nor Jim Jordan is an ideal speaker candidate

Henry Olsen

The House speaker contest is shaping up to be a battle between two top Republicans: Majority Leader Steve Scalise (La.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (Ohio).

Washington Post / October 10, 2023

Matt Gaetz Should Be Careful What He Wishes For

Henry Olsen

Gaetz and his crew could be losers even if they unseat Kevin McCarthy.

Uncategorized

National Review Online / October 10, 2023

DeSantis Should Use the Reagan Playbook to Regain His Footing against Trump

Henry Olsen

The Florida governor must outline a clear set of differences with the former president on policy — emphasizing abortion policy in particular.

Uncategorized

National Review Online / October 4, 2023

How the Virgin Islands could play a key role in choosing the GOP nominee

Henry Olsen

The Republican presidential nomination looks like it will be a runaway for Donald Trump.

Washington Post / October 3, 2023

Bob Menendez is right not to step down

Henry Olsen

The buzzards are circling Bob Menendez as he limps away from his federal indictment last week.

Washington Post / September 27, 2023

A Uniform Hike in the Retirement Age Is a Bad Idea

Henry Olsen

It would disproportionately harm working-class Americans. We need a more tailored approach to Social Security reform.

Uncategorized

National Review Online / September 26, 2023

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