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David Coates
David Coates holds the Worrell Chair in Anglo-American Studies at Wake Forest University. He is the author of Answering Back: Liberal Responses to Conservative Arguments, Making the Progressive Case, and America in the Shadow of Empires . He writes here in a personal capacity.

Entries by David Coates

Common Weaknesses in the Republicans' Tax Proposals

(12) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 8:50 AM

Though for understandable reasons the leading Republican presidential candidates continually emphasize the things that divide them, we would do well to concentrate rather on the things that do not.

The televised-debate format accentuates differences. It did so on tax policy, for example, when last the candidates met - Ted...

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How Best to Separate Donald Trump from His Base

(98) Comments | Posted January 1, 2016 | 7:44 PM

If there is anything currently uniting most political commentators in contemporary America, it is surely their on-going fascination with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. The common agreement on both sides of the political aisle through most of 2015 appeared to be that his campaign was eventually bound to fail...

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Questions that Go Unanswered as We Drift to a State of Permanent War

(96) Comments | Posted December 9, 2015 | 8:03 AM

As the main U.S. media outlets report and amplify each and every outlandish assertion by Donald Trump and his fellow contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, major damage is being done to the underlying quality of the dominant political discourse in the United States.

That damage has two main...

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Waiting for the TPP

(14) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 8:46 AM

Figures on U.S. economic performance continue to disappoint. Seven years out from the greatest financial crisis since 1929, economic growth is sluggish, levels of unemployment and under-employment remain unacceptably high, and real wages for most Americans are still trapped at 1970s levels. Not that the United States is alone in...

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Challenging Republican Premises: On the Cutting of Taxes

(132) Comments | Posted October 4, 2015 | 7:15 PM

One of the great dangers of the seemingly never-ending media coverage of the Republican presidential circus is that it facilitates the steady drip into the popular consciousness of a set of problematic conservative assertions that any serious progressive politics needs to question and refute.

This media-induced steady slippage of...

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Taking Donald Trump Seriously

(122) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 8:57 AM

The initial response to Donald Trump's pursuit of the American presidency, certainly among many more moderate members of the Republican Party, was to wait for his pursuit to implode. It seemed to many seasoned observers of such campaigns that this one was not serious; or that if it was, it...

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Jeremy Who? The Bernie Sanders Phenomenon at Home and Abroad

(40) Comments | Posted August 26, 2015 | 9:55 AM

If you watch virtually any major American news channel right now, you could be forgiven for thinking that the only political development worthy of note was the on-going presidential campaign of Donald Trump. But you would be wrong.

Key sections of the American press are currently playing Trump's main calling-card...

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The Republican Juggernaut Marching Us to War

(82) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 10:36 AM

The over-riding temptation in the wake of the first debate between Republican presidential hopefuls may be to focus on the Trump opening gaffe, or to join the mainstream media in ranking candidate performance and picking winners. But the temptation to focus on the differences on display in Cleveland should be...

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Trade Deals and the Importance of Political Gridlock

(0) Comments | Posted June 20, 2015 | 9:50 AM

For a political capital renowned for gridlock, there are times when Washington D.C. looks poised for too much action rather than for too little. This is one such time.

Moves seem well underway in the Republican-controlled Senate to fast-track the vote on fast-tracking -- maybe as early as this...

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The UK Election: US Lessons

(6) Comments | Posted May 10, 2015 | 7:15 PM

Watching the UK election from Glasgow and not due back in the U.S. until next week, several thoughts seem worth sending home ahead of us.

1. Please remember that this result was entirely unexpected by everyone...

...including the Conservative political leadership who ended up with a small but working majority....

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Judging Presidential Candidates Against Our Criteria Rather Than Theirs, Part 1: On the Issue of Poverty

(23) Comments | Posted May 1, 2015 | 8:57 AM

If the events in Baltimore tell us anything general this week, it is surely that policies are more important than personalities, and that the solutions to our core problems require more than sound-bites.

Yet so far, the 2016 presidential campaign has been remarkably short on policies. To date, it...

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The Invisibility of Class, and the Hegemony of Conservative Ideas, in Contemporary America

(111) Comments | Posted April 10, 2015 | 9:38 AM

The next long race to the White House is now upon us, and those who comment professionally on the comings and goings of American political life already have an emerging list of potential presidential candidates to follow around yet again. And as they do so, if the past is any...

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Weighing the Arguments on U.S. Military Action Against ISIS

(7) Comments | Posted March 9, 2015 | 10:26 AM

In an earlier posting, the case was made that what we desperately need in contemporary America is a national conversation about the appropriate direction of our foreign policy, and about the adverse impact on conditions at home of excessive military activity overseas.

As the military campaign against...

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Hammocks and Ladders: The Poverty of Republican Thinking on the Poor

(131) Comments | Posted February 27, 2015 | 9:43 AM

"The American dream has become a mirage for far too many."
--Jeb Bush

These are early days in the upcoming run for the White House in 2016, but already, among would-be Republican candidates, we see evidence of a tentative willingness to explore a set of contemporary ills...

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The Case for Slowly Getting Out of the Empire Business

(35) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 11:47 AM

If all you witnessed late last month were the speeches of Republican presidential hopefuls at the Freedom Summit in Iowa, you could be forgiven for thinking that the main thing wrong with U.S. foreign policy these days is that, in countries far from these shores, too few people are currently...

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New Year Reflections on the U.S. Global Role and Its Limits

(11) Comments | Posted January 1, 2015 | 10:44 AM

The first hours of a new year are always an ideal time for people across the globe to reflect on their contemporary condition. They are an ideal moment to look back, in the hope that serious reflection now can improve conditions going forward. And it is particularly vital that we...

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The American Global Stance as Chuck Hagel Departs

(3) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 11:29 AM

As the public conversation in America remains preoccupied, as it rightly should, with our ongoing anger at the injustice perpetrated in Ferguson, other issues of equal importance are slipping by without the degree of attention they deserve. The resignation of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is one such issue.

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The Mid-Term Elections: Taking the Longer View

(22) Comments | Posted November 19, 2014 | 8:59 AM

In the wake of an electoral setback on the scale experienced by the Democrats two weeks ago, the temptation to immediately rush to judgment is enormous. So also, if my emails and robo-calls are any guide, is the temptation to engage in yet more fundraising, as though money was the...

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Hype and Reality: American Economic Numbers

(45) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 10:12 PM

It is mid-term season in America: time for the Administration to talk up the strengths of the economy. The President did so in Evanston a week ago, wanting "people to know that there are some really good things happening in America." The worst of the recession is at...

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Playing Defense and Still Losing

(6) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 1:08 PM

You don't win football games by only playing defense. And you don't win mid-elections that way either. Perhaps somebody should remind the Democrats that winning elections, like winning games, requires you to take the game to the opposition, and to take it to them on your terms -- not on...

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