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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 and Making the Progressive Case . He writes here in a personal capacity.

Entries by David Coates

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

(48) 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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Responding to David Brooks: The Question of Poverty and Character

(75) Comments | Posted August 5, 2014 | 10:35 PM

David Brooks' recent essay on "The Character Factory" would have us believe that "nearly every parent on earth operates on the assumption that character matters a lot to the life outcomes of their children" while "nearly every government anti-poverty program operates on the assumption that it doesn't."...

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Defending Trade Unions While the Justices Are Away

(10) Comments | Posted July 19, 2014 | 11:02 AM

The nine justices of the Supreme Court are now in recess, leaving the rest of us the summer in which to reflect upon and digest their latest set of rulings -- particularly the two handed down on the last day before they took their break. Quite properly, given its reactionary...

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Winning in November by Defending the Affordable Care Act Now

(29) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 11:17 AM

Lindsey Graham's recent warning that Republicans might yet push for a presidential impeachment serves to demonstrate, if further demonstration was still required, just how brutal Washington politics could get if his party ends up in control of both Houses of Congress after the mid-term elections in November. In progressive terms,...

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Progressive Politics After Piketty: Making the Case for Managed Markets

(27) Comments | Posted May 14, 2014 | 12:02 AM

It is very rare for the Left to have a best-seller but we have one now. The French economist Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century is currently being both widely read and even more widely discussed. That is great news. The question it leaves us with is how to...

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Dozing Through 'The Great Moving Right Show'

(317) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 9:37 AM

The greatest danger currently facing all of us in America, and particularly progressives, is one of drift. As an economy, the United States is drifting along a low-growth path that is acclimatizing all of us to levels of unemployment which only a decade ago would have been treated as an...

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The Poverty of Policy on Poverty

(62) Comments | Posted March 13, 2014 | 11:39 AM

Earlier this month, those who govern us -- and those who would govern us -- each laid out their vision of how to alleviate poverty in the United States. Since there is currently a rather large amount of poverty around that ideally would be rapidly alleviated, you could...

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The Long-Term State of the Union - Counting the Cost of Empire?

(49) Comments | Posted February 16, 2014 | 3:45 PM

There is something desperate about the current quality of politics in Washington DC. It is not that our elected representatives steadily avoid any discussion of key issues. It is rather that -- on far too many occasions -- the way in which they choose to discuss those key issues trivializes...

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The State of the Union Address -- Taking the Longer View

(20) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 9:24 AM

It is presumably unreasonable to expect any modern president of the United States to use his best prime-time moment, the annual State of the Union address, to tell Congress and the American people that on his watch the state of the union is not strong -- even if that is...

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New Year Reflections: The Character of the Task Before Us

(33) Comments | Posted December 30, 2013 | 12:23 PM

The start of a new year is always a good moment for reflection on the nature of our present condition. It is an even better moment for the adoption of resolutions designed to improve that condition. So perhaps we should try both.

Our Present Condition

Our present condition is...

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Negative Freedom or Positive Freedom: Time to Choose?

(536) Comments | Posted November 13, 2013 | 10:15 AM

In the seemingly never-ending battle over the scope of government in America -- on issues from gun control and climate change to federal spending and the Affordable Care Act -- opponents of active government regularly mix detailed criticism of immediate policy consequences with more general arguments about the erosion of...

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Placing the Affordable Care Act in the Wider Debate on Healthcare Systems

(6) Comments | Posted October 9, 2013 | 12:41 PM

Right now, hysteria inside the Republican Party about the flaws of the Affordable Care Act is running very high indeed. So high in fact that Representative Todd Rokita (R-IN) was not treated as mentally insane by his party's leadership last week for denouncing Obamacare as "one of the...

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Exactly How Is the Affordable Care Act an Affront to Freedom?

(1332) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 3:31 PM

In all the understandable cacophony about the shutdown of government, the underlying trigger to that shutdown -- Tea Party opposition to the Affordable Care Act -- is in danger of falling out of the public spotlight. But that must not happen. The government is being shut down for a reason,...

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The Half-Forgotten Student Debt Crisis

(115) Comments | Posted September 17, 2013 | 10:44 AM

The debt ceiling debate is poised to return to the center-stage of American domestic politics. The Bipartisan Policy Center anticipates that the U.S. Treasury will hit the current debt ceiling sometime between October 18 and November 5, and House Republicans have already drafted a short-term spending resolution extending federal government...

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Back to Basics on the Question of Labor

(10) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 11:54 AM

As we prepare to celebrate another Labor Day, we do well to remember that celebrating labor on just one day always runs the risk of implying that every other day is not a labor day. Celebratory days can invite tokenism as equally as they can generate empathy. Celebrating the fact...

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Revisiting 'Resisting Republican Excess'

(105) Comments | Posted August 20, 2013 | 10:44 AM

The blog entry Resisting Republican Excess -- written as a critical comment on the policies introduced by North Carolina's Republicans since they captured both the legislature and the governorship in 2012 -- triggered more than a thousand comments in the immediate wake of its posting two weeks ago. The argument...

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Resisting Republican Excess

(1061) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 10:51 AM

Very dark political forces stalk the land, and we do ourselves, and those who will come after us, no favors by pretending otherwise.

Contemporary Republican legislators -- those in Washington and in a string of red states like mine, North Carolina -- are not like previous ones. North Carolinian...

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Poverty in America: Half-Forgotten or Totally Forgotten?

(259) Comments | Posted June 30, 2013 | 3:56 PM

Successful progressive politics require widespread popular support for progressive programs, and there is no way in which that support can be created without those programs being fully and regularly explained. But on so many important issues, that is simply not happening right now. True, the scale of unemployment...

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