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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A Victory and a Warning

Henry Olsen

Wisconsin’s results do not mean conservatives should abandon entitlement reform, but they should expect an energized Democratic base that will fight with all its might. They will need to talk persuasively about what entitlement reform means, stressing that it is absolutely necessary to preserve the lifetime security that entitlements provide.

Articles

National Review / April 26, 2011

After the Wave

Henry Olsen

The results of the 2010 elections fail somehow to account for the continued difficulties that Republicans (at all levels of government) have had after past wave elections.

Articles

National Affairs / January 10, 2011

Where the Votes Are

Henry Olsen

What can we learn from last week’s House vote on the tax deal? Politicos calculate that important elements of both party bases are unhappy with the compromise, but that the vast American middle wants it.

Articles

National Review Online / December 17, 2010

Blue Collars, Red Voters

Henry Olsen

Look to Ronald Reagan’s conservative principle when rebuilding the new Republican Party. The fulfillment of Reagan’s dream will create the renewed Republican party that has taken back control of the House.

Articles

National Review / November 18, 2010

Number of Unemployed Rises by 76,000

Henry Olsen

The employment rate has fallen farther and faster in this recession than at any time in the last thirty years and it continues to drop.

Articles

AEI Online / November 5, 2010

Republican Reliance on White Voters Holds Risks

Henry Olsen

This week’s historic Republican landslide is due to a massive swing among white working-class independents in rural and exurban areas, rather than an enthusiasm gap between Republican and Democratic supporters, as the party predicted.

Articles

Bloomberg News / November 3, 2010

Day of the Democratic Dead

Henry Olsen

The anger, disappointment, and disgust that the voters will shower on the Obama administration and the Democratic congressional leadership is unusually deep, offering today’s conservatives a rendezvous with destiny.

Articles

National Review Online / November 1, 2010

House Sleepers

Henry Olsen

In every wave year, the winning party ends up grabbing seats that just a short time before the election were on no one’s radar screen, and there are five such races where the GOP could spring a surprise this election.

Articles

National Review Online / October 15, 2010

The 70 Percent Rule

Henry Olsen

In wave years, such as this one, approximately 70 percent of the seats in play on Election Day are usually carried by the victorious party.

Articles

National Review Online / October 14, 2010

Employment Rate Remains Stagnant with Little Cause for Hope

Henry Olsen

The employment rate is a better reflection of the bleak future facing American workers than the unemployment rate, and a new report gives Americans little cause for hope.

Articles

AEI Online / October 8, 2010

GOP Heaven, West Virginia?

Henry Olsen

For all the talk about independents and tea parties, the defining characteristic of this election is the revolt of the white working class, which may determine the outcome of the Senate election in West Virginia.

Articles

National Review Online / October 1, 2010

The Fifty Years’ War

Henry Olsen

This fall’s election will be the most intense battle yet between conservatives and liberals for possession of America’s political soul and over what defines American freedom.

Articles

National Review Online / September 30, 2010

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