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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The Christie Challenge

Henry Olsen

In order to translate his success in New Jersey to the national level, Chris Christie must meet a new set of challenges with the proper strategy.

Articles

National Review Online / November 6, 2013

Setting the Record Straight About the White Working Class

Henry Olsen

A new book about the political disposition of the white working class offers valuable electoral lessons for conservatives.

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The American / October 17, 2013

Food (Stamps) for Thought

Henry Olsen

Instead of waging war on food stamps, conservatives should direct their energy against a more egregious waste of taxpayer dollars.

Articles

National Review Online / September 19, 2013

Ensuring Choice and Universal Coverage

Henry Olsen

Conservatives and libertarians have criticized the IPAB “death panel” that Obamacare endows with the authority to make top-down decisions about Americans’ health care.

Articles

National Review Online / August 6, 2013

Rand Paul’s Party

Henry Olsen

Rand Paul has made news recently by urging his allies to use “libertarian Republicanism.” But what does that mean for conservatives?

Articles

National Review / July 1, 2013

New Century, New Deal

Henry Olsen

In these written remarks, derived from a lecture delivered at Villanova University, Henry Olsen discusses why conservatism is in decline–and how it can revive itself.

Articles

Harvest Deficit Reductions From the Farm Bill

Henry Olsen

Finding common ground in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations will be hard for Republicans and Democrats. But there’s one place they should be able to agree: farm subsidies.

Articles

The Washington Examiner / December 23, 2012

What Voters Want: A Prez Who Cares

Henry Olsen

Conservatives and Republicans should have two takeaways from Tuesday’s election. First, they do not comprise a clear majority. Second, if they want to gain a majority, they need to listen to people who rejected them to find out why.

Articles

New York Post / November 9, 2012

Twilight or Breaking Dawn?

Henry Olsen

Tomorrow, the final installment in the reality series called America’s election season will be filmed. Tens of millions of Americans have divided themselves into Team Barack and Team Mitt, passionately arguing which prospective leader is better for our nation. But we have no book to read to discover who wins. Will we have twilight or breaking dawn?

Articles

National Review Online / November 5, 2012

Early Ohio Numbers Promising for Romney

Henry Olsen

Who is really winning the early vote in Ohio, the state that may decide the 2012 election? The Obama campaign seemingly has an overall numerical advantage, but the county-level data shows that Mitt Romney may have the real advantage.

Articles

American Enterprise Institute / November 1, 2012

Open your heart, Mitt

Henry Olsen

A year ago, many GOP operatives and activists thought defeating the president would be easy. Unemployment and dissatisfaction would remain high, so all the GOP had to do was nominate a candidate with no obvious flaws and the nation would elect him.

Articles

National Review Online / October 3, 2012

Romney’s Drift From the True Heart of Conservatism

Henry Olsen

The problem with Mitt Romney’s comments about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes isn’t just that they are highly misleading and damaging politically. They also severely misstate and undermine conservative principles at a time when many Americans desperately want an alternative to Obamaism.

Articles

The Washington Post / September 19, 2012

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