Molly Ball

Molly Ball is National Political Correspondent for TIME where she writes columns, features and contributes video journalism.   Previously she was a staff writer for The Atlantic, where she covered national politics. Before joining the Atlantic, Molly reported for Politico, the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Las Vegas Sun. From 2001 to 2003, she was a reporter for the Cambodia Daily.

She is a recipient of numerous awards for her journalism, including the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting, the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Sandy Hume Memorial Award for Excellence in Political Journalism, and the Lee Walczak Award for Political Analysis.

A graduate of Yale, she was a Knight-Wallace journalism fellow at the University of Michigan in 2009, where she studied economic policy. In 2007, she won $100,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

Ball grew up in Idaho and Colorado. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and three children.

 

 

Most Recent Appearances

Recent Stories

  • Time
    June 7, 2018
    In a warren of low-ceilinged rooms on the ground floor of the West Wing, down the stairs from the Oval Office and next to the Situation Room, Donald Trump’s lawyers are waging war.
  • TIME
    March 8, 2018
    On Feb. 28, John Ferriola, the CEO of America’s largest steel producer, Nucor, got a call from the White House. Could he be in Washington the next day?
  • TIME
    February 15, 2018
    A key White House official has acknowledged what independent economists have been saying for months: The $1.5 trillion GOP tax bill does not pay for itself.
  • TIME
    January 25, 2018
    Much like the secret infrastructure of money and power that makes the world go round, the Swiss Alps were imposing but nearly invisible as the world’s financial, political and intellectual leaders gathered in Davos. An epic 6-ft.
  • TIME
    January 11, 2018
    It was bitterly cold as Donald Trump sat down to dinner on Jan. 5 at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland’s Catoctin Mountains. Republican leaders and Administration officials had joined him for what needed to be a frank conversation.
  • TIME Magazine
    December 14, 2017
    With Jones’s surprising win, the American political landscape seemed to rattle and tilt on its axis.
  • TIME Magazine
    December 11, 2017
    Long before he became a senator, Al Franken was a liberal hero for the way he stuck it to Republicans. And so it was perhaps inevitable that, even as he resigned from the Senate in disgrace this week, he couldn’t resist a parting shot.
  • Time
    November 16, 2017
    The alleged child molester or the Democrat? Alabama voters face that choice in a few weeks’ time, and it’s not clear which of those they’ll find more odious.
  • TIME
    November 9, 2017
    The Trump backlash has begun. One year after their stinging defeat, Democrats bounced back in the off-year elections on Nov. 7 with a surprise sweep from coast to coast, delivering an ominous rebuke to an unpopular President and his party.
  • The Atlantic
    October 23, 2017
    Third Way, for its part, announced in January it would spend $20 million on what it called the “New Blue” campaign to “provide Democrats with a path out of the wilderness.” Like many of their peers, the think tank’s brain trust had been stunned by th
  • The Atlantic
    September 1, 2017
    Five years ago, President Obama ordered that young illegal immigrants be protected from deportation, a program known as DACA. As a candidate, Donald Trump promised to rescind that protection.
  • The Atlantic
    July 18, 2017
    The House is mad at the Senate. The Senate is mad at the House. Various factions in the House and Senate are mad at each other or mad at their leaders.
  • The Atlantic
    June 21, 2017
    Despite the opposition Trump has galvanized, the opposing party still hasn’t figured out how to win in the places they’re trying to stage a comeback.
  • The Atlantic
    June 17, 2017
    Republican elites in the commonwealth thought their base would reject Trumpist politics. Instead, the establishment favorite nearly lost to a Trump-style provocateur.
  • The Atlantic
    June 13, 2017
    The state’s gubernatorial primaries Tuesday will be an early test of how Trump has changed the political environment.
  • The Atlantic
    May 30, 2017
    As Republicans in Congress try to fend off the flurry of scandals, they are haunted by a question: Is this as good as it’s going to get?
  • The Atlantic
    March 20, 2017
    Kellyanne Conway’s theory that Republicans could win a presidential election with an anti-immigration message had a major influence on Trump’s platform—and his win.
  • The Atlantic
    March 13, 2017
    Who did the Russian ambassador meet in D.C.? Welcome to Washington, where everyday encounters may not be what they seem.
  • The Atlantic
    February 28, 2017
    Is the brash new president bending Washington to his will—or being tamed by the status quo?
  • The Atlantic
    February 25, 2017
    Since President Trump’s inauguration, protesters around the country have risen in defiance of his presidency.
  • The Atlantic
    February 9, 2017
    There’s no telling, in these early days, where the anti-Trump resistance will lead.
  • The Atlantic
    January 20, 2017
    He’s moved to establish his dominance of his party, of Congress, and of the media. Now, he turns to the nation.
  • The Atlantic
    January 18, 2017
    The president-elect has yet to name a secretary of agriculture, a delay that has caused controversy and illustrated the difficulties governing will pose.
  • The Atlantic
    December 7, 2016
    The election is over, but the president-elect is demonstrating he hopes to dominate Washington the same way he dominated his campaign rivals: by taking the case to his loyal movement of supporters.
  • The Atlantic
    November 1, 2016
    The presidential campaign has unfolded in ways she never could have imagined. It is ending in a morass of ugliness. What could possibly come next?
  • The Atlantic
    October 26, 2016
    The crowd at the Donald Trump rally was a sea of gray and white. They hobbled on walkers and canes into the massive amphitheater, searching for a place to sit on the lawn.
  • The Atlantic
    October 18, 2016
    As a presidential election of historically divisive proportions nears conclusion, the black community has experienced it as a fresh trauma: As America’s first black president prepares to leave office, one of the major-party nominees appears to them t
  • The Atlantic
    October 14, 2016
    In Donald Trump's war of all against all, none shall be spared. "I'm so angry at the Republicans," he says, eyes slitted in a mocking grimace.
  • The Atlantic
    October 12, 2016
    Avik Roy, disaffected republican, surveyed the upstairs room of a tony Palo Alto restaurant where a group of journalists and conservative intellectuals was sipping cocktails before a private dinner.
  • The Atlantic
    October 7, 2016
    There was remarkably little idealism in the roomful of undecided young voters that convened here on Wednesday.Asked to find a picture that represents America, the participants in this focus group—eight suburban voters in their 20s, with varying backg
  • The Atlantic
    October 3, 2016
    The Libertarian vice-presidential nominee wants to offer an alternative—but he doesn’t think Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are equally terrible.
  • The Atlantic
    September 28, 2016
    Between disaffected Republicans and energized Latinos, all of 2016’s cross-currents have conspired to make this formerly red state one of the cycle’s most contested targets.
  • The Atlantic
    September 14, 2016
    Colorado was supposed to be a presidential battleground, but that now seems far-fetched. Democrats’ success in places like this could spell trouble for the Republican Party long past 2016.
  • The Atlantic
    September 9, 2016
    How political consulting works—or doesn’t
  • The Atlantic
    September 2, 2016
    "People are scared,” Donald Trump said recently, and he was not wrong. Fear is in the air, and fear is surging.
  • The Atlantic
    August 18, 2016
    A few minutes into the conservative policy seminar, the economist John Cochrane made a point of clarification.
  • The Atlantic
    August 10, 2016
    That House Speaker Paul Ryan easily won his congressional primary on Tuesday, by a nearly 70-point margin, should not have surprised anyone. Yet the political world was watching the result on tenterhooks, waiting for a surprise that never came.
  • The Atlantic
    August 3, 2016
    A year ago, in the innocent days before Donald Trump had wholly taken over American politics, the Republican establishment had other things on its mind: those pesky Tea Party congressmen who were preventing anything from getting done in the House of
  • The Atlantic
    July 29, 2016
    It was a hot and stormy week at the Democratic convention, one that began with discord and ended with invocations of togetherness.
  • The Atlantic
    July 26, 2016
    The Democratic chairwoman had few supporters—but clung to her post for years, abetted by the indifference of the White House.
  • The Atlantic
    July 23, 2016
    Donald Trump took the freak show of American politics and made it the main event. But now he says he wants to be the candidate of calm.
  • The Atlantic
    July 18, 2016
    An eccentric band of conservatives thought they could make a last stand against the presumptive nominee, but wound up only strengthening Trump as he marches to the nomination next week.
  • The Atlantic
    July 16, 2016
    An eccentric band of conservatives thought they could make a last stand against the presumptive nominee, but wound up only strengthening Trump as he marches to the nomination next week.
  • CNN
    July 11, 2016
    A big test for President Barack Obama, a map challenge for Trump and the unconventional wrinkles of the GOP convention: It's all a part of our "Inside Politics" forecast.
  • The Atlantic
    June 16, 2016
    On Wednesday, the Washington Post's media columnist, Margaret Sullivan, declared that Donald Trump "has benefited from oodles...of free exposure in the media." Another Post columnist, Dana Milbank, proposed that the media impose a Trum
  • The Atlantic
    June 13, 2016
    You could tell how much the effort to control himself pained Donald Trump. He was trying to do what the consultants and D.C. stiffs had told him to do: stick to the script. But his whole being practically strained against the restriction.
  • The Atlantic
    June 3, 2016
    Both political parties experienced populist uprisings this year. But while Republicans were consumed by theirs, Democrats have defeated their insurgent wing, even if they haven’t tamed it.
  • The Atlantic
    May 27, 2016
    The 2016 campaign has revealed an America of stark division and mutual animosity.
  • The Atlantic
    May 17, 2016
    The building that is in the process of becoming the Trump International Hotel Washington D.C.—a century-old granite behemoth that has served as postal headquarters, government offices, and a retail mall—sits cheek by jowl with an IRS building.
  • The Atlantic
    May 10, 2016
    There was already a Republican civil war before Donald Trump came along. Remember the Tea Party? Remember the government shutdown?
  • The Atlantic
    May 4, 2016
    Where were you the night Donald Trump killed the Republican Party as we knew it? Trump was right where he belonged: in the gilt-draped skyscraper with his name on it, Trump Tower in Manhattan, basking in the glory of his final, definitive victory.
  • The Atlantic
    April 28, 2016
    Molly Ball sits down with socialist politician Eugene Puryear.
  • The Atlantic
    April 19, 2016
    I had many questions for Eugene Puryear, the real-life socialist politician seated across the table from me. Did he really want to nationalize the Fortune 500? Why wasn’t he on board with Bernie Sanders?
  • The Atlantic
    March 21, 2016
    What was John Kasich doing there on Tuesday night, and why did he seem so happy? Yes, the governor of Ohio had just won the primary in his home state.
  • The Atlantic
    March 2, 2016
    The ballroom at Mar-a-Lago is white and gold—it is called, in fact, the White and Gold Ballroom. Gilded columns topped with gilded arches line the sides of the room; the ceiling is embossed with a gilded pattern of seashells and vines.
  • The Atlantic
    February 27, 2016
    By winning over the black voters who rejected her in 2008, Hillary Clinton may clinch the Democratic nomination—and inherit the coalition built by the president who defeated her.
  • The Atlantic
    February 23, 2016
    The presidential candidate avoids talking about race on the stump, but he's placing spots on conservative talk radio offering a very different message.
  • The Atlantic
    February 20, 2016
    With the candidates flinging insults as Saturday’s South Carolina primary approaches, can anybody hope to win?
  • The Atlantic
    February 10, 2016
    Twenty-three minutes into his typically rambling, hourlong stump speech in the arena here, at a private liberal-arts college on the Massachusetts border—after he had decried the Koch brothers and the prescription-drug companies, after he had accused
  • The Atlantic
    February 8, 2016
    Humbled by his struggling presidential campaign, can the once-mighty New Jersey governor vault back into contention after Saturday’s debate?
  • The Atlantic
    February 1, 2016
    This was not a hallucination: Here stood Donald J.Trump, on the brink of beginning his unstoppable run on the Republican nomination, raised above a worshipful crowd of humble, everyday Iowans who were bound and determined to make him the next preside
  • The Atlantic
    January 26, 2016
    Cruz’s fans say it’s because he stands on principle. But his critics say he’s never achieved anything—except burnishing his own brand.
  • The Atlantic
    January 21, 2016
    The rabble-rousing former Alaska governor pioneered the rhetorical style now powering the frontrunner's rise.
  • The Atlantic
    January 19, 2016
    With the Iowa caucuses just two weeks away, can Republicans reconcile themselves to Donald Trump and Ted Cruz? Or will the GOP break into pieces?
  • The Atlantic
    January 8, 2016
    The Working Families Party has pushed the political debate to the left in the states where it’s already active. Now—in the era of Occupy and Bernie Sanders—it’s ready to take that fight nationwide.
  • The Atlantic
    December 16, 2015
    The GOP candidates shared a stage in Vegas, but seemed locked in their own, only occasionally intersecting conflicts.
  • The Atlantic
    December 1, 2015
    As the public’s fear and loathing surge, the frontrunner’s durable candidacy has taken a dark turn.
  • The Atlantic
    November 13, 2015
    Ben Carson came out to address the media after Tuesday night’s debate, emerging in the spin room with his typical air of beatific nonchalance.
  • The Atlantic
    November 5, 2015
    In Tuesday’s elections, voters rejected recreational marijuana, transgender rights, and illegal-immigrant sanctuaries; they reacted equivocally to gun-control arguments; and they handed a surprise victory to a Republican gubernatorial candidate who e
  • The Atlantic
    October 24, 2015
    In a year of inexplicable presidential candidacies, his stood out for its utter pointlessness.
  • The Atlantic
    October 23, 2015
    A few days after last week’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton’s headquarters here buzzes with activity.
  • The Atlantic
    October 22, 2015
    Back in February, Donald Trump was trying to convince the Washington Post he was really going to run for president, after years of crying wolf.
  • The Atlantic
    October 15, 2015
    After her triumph in Tuesday night’s debate, Hillary Clinton was due for a victory lap. “Did we have a good debate last night?” she asked several hundred locals who had gathered for a Wednesday evening rally in an amphitheater here.
  • The Atlantic
    September 18, 2015
    The Republican frontrunner’s weak showing in Wednesday’s debate has political observers (nervously, tentatively) predicting he’ll finally start to fade.
  • The Atlantic
    September 16, 2015
    Can the Democratic frontrunner turn around her struggling campaign—or is it time to panic?
  • The Atlantic
    September 8, 2015
    The Wisconsin governor’s presidential campaign is in free fall—a development that puzzles the state he has dominated.
  • The Atlantic
    August 31, 2015
    “I think panic is the operative mode for the Democratic Party,” David Axelrod, who has been on the receiving end of panic mode many times over the years, told me this week.
  • The Atlantic
    August 24, 2015
    The GOP frontrunner’s surprising staying power has inspired soul-searching and agony among party elites.
  • The Atlantic
    August 13, 2015
    Imagine for a moment that you are Ted Cruz, the junior senator from Texas and proud voice of the Tea Party. You have built your career by stoking the rage of conservatives, much of it against the very Republican Party to which you, and they, belong.
  • The Atlantic
    August 10, 2015
    RedState editor Erick Erickson, caught in the middle of Trump’s latest media feud, says he thinks GOP voters will eventually tire of the tycoon’s antics.
  • The Atlantic
    July 27, 2015
    You want the Trump show to be over. But it’s not over. You want to ignore Donald Trump. You think maybe if you ignore him long enough, he will go away. Well, guess what? He’s not going away.
  • The Atlantic
    July 14, 2015
    The movement for gay marriage is one of the most successful issue campaigns of the last several decades, having convinced the American public—and the Supreme Court—that an issue once considered ridiculous was a matter of basic rights.
  • The Atlantic
    July 1, 2015
    The untold story of the improbable campaign that finally tipped the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • The Atlantic
    June 15, 2015
    Don’t believe the hype: There was precious little class warfare in the Democratic frontrunner’s kickoff speech.
  • The Atlantic
    May 19, 2015
    He may be one of the longest shots of the 2016 Republican field, but Graham, who has always relished a fight, is perfectly serious about his ambition to be president.
  • The Atlantic
    May 7, 2015
    Last week, in the first policy speech of her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton staked out a position on criminal-justice reform that was a direct repudiation of Bill Clinton's tough-on-crime policies.
  • The Atlantic
    April 28, 2015
    As the Supreme Court hears arguments for legalizing same-sex unions nationally, shifting public opinion could convince the justices to act.
  • The Atlantic
    March 30, 2015
    Nobody ever thought Harry Reid would retire, and that includes Harry Reid. Not long ago, when a reporter for CQ Roll Call asked him what might happen when he left office, Reid retorted, “If I drop dead?” He added, “I mean, I will someday.
  • The Atlantic
    February 17, 2015
    “Mark Wahlberg is asking me for a pardon?,” Charlie Baker said as he folded his lengthy frame into the backseat of a black SUV one evening in December.
  • The Atlantic
    December 22, 2014
    As you may have heard, 2014 was a good year for Republicans. They won a lot of elections!
  • The Atlantic
    November 5, 2014
    Republicans took the Senate majority in a commanding sweep on Tuesday, winning nearly every contested race across the country, gaining governor's mansions and adding to their majority in the House of Representatives.
  • The Atlantic
    November 4, 2014
    "Well, we expect to win," Mitch McConnell said, his jowly face set in its usual chelonian glare.
  • The Atlantic
    October 31, 2014
    In the tiny storefront that houses the Boulder County Republicans, the air is thick with paranoia.
  • The Atlantic
    October 29, 2014
    These are not easy times for a Democratic canvasser, and Cindy Pollard knows it.
  • The Atlantic
    October 28, 2014
    In Kansas recently, Republican Senator Pat Roberts, who’s in a tough race for reelection, made a statement that left me puzzled. “A vote for me is a vote to change the Senate back to a Republican majority, and we’ll get things done,” he said.
  • The Atlantic
    September 11, 2014
    Less than two months before the midterm elections, American voters are frightened and unsettled by conditions in the U.S. and around the world.
  • The Atlantic
    September 9, 2014
    Why does it matter that President Obama has decided to delay action on immigration until after the November elections? What difference does a couple of extra months make?
  • The Atlantic
    August 28, 2014
    The last government shutdown, almost a year ago, was no fun for anyone. Republicans in the House and Senate demanded that legislation to fund the government simultaneously defund Obamacare; Democrats refused to go along.
  • The Atlantic
    August 26, 2014
    No sign announces the purpose of this little storefront, squeezed between a Bestway Rent to Own and a Rent-a-Center in a dilapidated shopping center.
  • The Atlantic
    July 29, 2014
    And lo, another year dawns on the barren landscape of the American polity, that vast, frigid tundra full of people yelling at each other.
  • The Atlantic
    July 29, 2014
    The government shutdown was supposed to doom Republicans forever. But less than three months later, things look very different.
  • The Atlantic
    July 25, 2014
    The members of the Republican National Committee gathered in Washington this week. On Thursday, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and former presidential candidate, was the featured speaker.
  • The Atlantic
    July 25, 2014
    On a recent Monday in San Antonio, Texas, Tom Vilsack, the secretary of agriculture, got up to speak to an auditorium full of farmers. Vilsack, a doughy, wavy-haired former governor of Iowa, wore a grim expression as he gripped the lectern.
  • The Atlantic
    July 25, 2014
    The farm bill passed the House with remarkable ease Wednesday.
  • The Atlantic
    July 25, 2014
    In this snowbound summer town on the frozen Chesapeake Bay, about 100 reporters crammed into a maritime-themed restaurant, half a mile down the road from the hotel where the Republican members of the House of Representatives were holding their annual
  • The Atlantic
    July 23, 2014
    Is this what remains of the Tea Party?
  • The Atlantic
    July 23, 2014
    In this snowbound summer town on the frozen Chesapeake Bay, about 100 reporters crammed into a maritime-themed restaurant, half a mile down the road from the hotel where the Republican members of the House of Representatives were holding their annual
  • The Atlantic
    July 23, 2014
    In a classroom in Harlem, the liberal new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, appeared with union leaders in support of his plan to raise taxes on incomes higher than $500,000 to fund public pre-kindergarten.
  • The Atlantic
    July 22, 2014
    In the Hobby Lobby decision handed down last month, the Supreme Court was asked to strike a balance between women’s rights and religious freedom.
  • The Atlantic
    July 21, 2014
    Vice President Joe Biden's speech to the Democratic National Committee on Thursday included a paean to long shots and lost causes.
  • The Atlantic
    July 21, 2014
    When Texas Representative Steve Stockman announced he would run for the U.S. Senate, back in December, pundits girded for a doozy of a fight.
  • The Atlantic
    July 21, 2014
    In the end, Joe Scarborough's name wasn't on the ballot for the presidential straw poll of the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference. The organizers of this small, regional GOP meeting had planned to include him after his appearance
  • The Atlantic
    July 21, 2014
    The Tea Party has become a convenient scapegoat for both the left and the establishment right.
  • The Atlantic
    July 21, 2014
    Frank Schubert tried to warn us. In 2012, after voters in four states took the side of gay marriage in ballot initiatives, Schubert, a consultant working for the National Organization for Marriage, was sure they would live to regret their choice.
  • The Atlantic
    July 18, 2014
    The big Obamacare deadline has passed, and Democrats are exultant.
  • The Atlantic
    July 16, 2014
    It often seems there's no center in American politics anymore. Increasingly polarized camps on the right and left hold diametrically opposed, irreconcilable views on seemingly every issue.
  • The Atlantic
    July 15, 2014
    In the last few months, the polls in this state's divisive Republican primary turned upside-down.
  • The Atlantic
    July 15, 2014
    Primary season is almost over, and as you may have heard, the Republican establishment mostly won.
  • The Atlantic
    July 11, 2014
    The governor of New Hampshire does not live in the governor’s mansion.
  • The Atlantic
    July 10, 2014
    A few years ago, Chicago residents accustomed to parking on the street got a rude shock. Parking-meter rates had suddenly gone up as much as fourfold. Some meters jammed and overflowed when they couldn't hold enough change for the new prices.
  • The Atlantic
    July 8, 2014
    On Tuesday night, a Republican who'd just won a tough primary stood before a crowd of his supporters and pledged not to back down from the issue of immigration reform, vowing to "solve the 11 million in a practical way." That Republica
  • The Atlantic
    July 8, 2014
    This week, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court ruled that a religious employer could not be required to provide employees with certain types of contraception.
  • The Atlantic
    July 8, 2014
    This year’s Republican primaries have been closely watched by pundits sifting for clues about the relative primacy of the GOP’s warring factions. But Democrats have primaries too—and this year, the left is winning many of them.
  • The Atlantic
    July 8, 2014
    Republicans have an image problem.
  • The Atlantic
    July 8, 2014
    Tuesday's Republican primaries were the Tea Party's last chance. And the Tea Party struck out.