Posts by David Coates

David Coates, Professor of Anglo-American Studies, Wake Forest University, North Carolina

Beyond the madness: Donald Trump and the resetting of America’s social contract

David Coates

Away from the White House chaos an ultra-conservative Republican Party is building an America for the rich and privileged The daily circus that is the visible face of contemporary American politics keeps our gaze firmly fixed on the character of the ring-master: but it does so to our long-term cost. Why? Because all the bluster and circus-nonsense associated with this … Continue reading

19 January 2018 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , ,

The Anglo-American Centre-Left and the immediate question of agency

David Coates

The Democrats and the Labour Party have been on the defensive for too long. Winning again requires a progressive re-radicalization of politics The primary problem faced by the Centre-Left in both the US and the UK is not ultimately one of programme. Adequate policy proposals abound. The problem lies rather in the lack of electoral support for such proposals, and … Continue reading

18 September 2017 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , , ,

The grief before the storm

David Coates

Overcoming the grief caused by Trump’s victory requires us to analyse the sources of our pain When Hillary Clinton gave her concession speech on November 9th, admitting defeat to an opponent who had received a lower share of the popular vote than she had, many of her supporters in the room with her, and those watching from afar, actually wept … Continue reading

5 December 2016 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , , , ,

First thoughts on the Trump victory

David Coates

There is no quick fix to the Trump phenomenon, but to win again the US centre-left must build broad class alliances that include the white poor There are times when being right is a luxury too far. This is one of those times.  It was possible to see Trump coming, but it was also possible – until about midnight on … Continue reading

10 November 2016 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment Tags: , , ,

The Democratic primaries in the shadow of neoliberalism

David Coates

The Clinton/Sanders battle exposes the challenge of the centre-left to overcome its pre-crisis accommodation with neoliberalism One way of grasping what is now at stake in the on-going battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is to set that clash in the shadow of the Reagan/Thatcher neoliberal revolution of the 1980s. That revolution kept Democrats out of the White House, … Continue reading

2 June 2016 by David Coates
Categories: Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA Tags: , , ,

The ongoing American housing crisis

David Coates

The US housing crisis may have slipped down the political agenda but it hasn’t gone away – and young people are being hardest hit There was a time, not very long ago, when housing was high on the political agenda on both sides of the Atlantic; and understandably so, given the role its financing played in the run-up to the … Continue reading

29 March 2016 by David Coates
Categories: Housing, SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , ,

Working-class anger and the problem of progressive politics

David Coates

The only effective answer to right-wing populism is the creation and deployment of a superior left-wing alternative The start of a new year – especially the start of an important election year as this one happens to be in the United States – is a good time to reflect on the broad strategic choices facing progressive forces on both sides … Continue reading

7 January 2016 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , ,

TPP time in America

David Coates

President Obama may view this as his legacy, but it may well not be something of which he will long be proud Every political system has its own local economic agenda.  In Britain this currently includes the Osborne commitment to austerity politics, with its potentially devastating impact on the plight of the low-paid.  Here, in the United States, that austerity … Continue reading

23 November 2015 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , ,

Getting ready for Donald Trump

David Coates

It is time to begin worrying about his misguided, superficial and bombastic approach to US problems and politics There is a growing realisation, not to mention a creeping fear, in the upper echelons of the American political establishment that Donald Trump might actually win the Republican Party nomination for President in 2016.  There is less fear that, if he does … Continue reading

9 September 2015 by David Coates
Categories: Economics, SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , ,

Labour’s historic defeat: learning the right lessons

David Coates

Designing and refining a new growth strategy that rejects austerity are the most pressing tasks before us If there was any doubt on this matter before the election, there can be none now: those of us making the case for a progressive reconfiguration of advanced capitalisms now start from a position of incredible weakness. The immediate conversation in the UK … Continue reading

14 May 2015 by David Coates
Categories: Economics, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment Tags:

Different elections, similar issues: the UK and the US at the polls

David Coates

Class and racial divisions will not go away in either country until progressive politics succeeds in pushing them away As the United Kingdom comes to the end of its very short general election cycle, the United States is gearing up for the start of its next very long one.  Yet, for all the differences of electoral timing and length, the … Continue reading

5 May 2015 by David Coates
Categories: Global crisis, Inequality, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA, Welfare

The President’s ‘Queen’s Speech’

David Coates

The nature and timing of Obama’s latest policy shift is extraordinarily hard to understand The United Kingdom and the United States are divided by more than a common language.  They are divided too by the different character of the political systems prevalent in each.  They do, however, share a propensity for political theatre.  The UK has a major example of … Continue reading

22 January 2015 by David Coates
Categories: Economics, Politics and policy, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA, Welfare Tags: , , ,

The American economy at mid-term

David Coates

The numbers don’t reflect the reality and give no cause for crowing over the Eurozone It is mid-term season in America: time for the Administration to talk up the strengths of the economy.  The President did so a week ago, wanting ‘people to know that there are some really good things happening in America’.  And, since in economic terms it … Continue reading

28 October 2014 by David Coates
Categories: Economics, Employment, Global crisis, SPERI Comment Tags: , , , , ,

Economics and the gathering storm

David Coates

Progressives need to stand up and be counted in the struggle against creeping free-market orthodoxy One lesson that you learn the hard way in American politics is that it is always a mistake to think that, from a progressive point of view, things are so bad that they can’t get any worse. You only have to think it before the … Continue reading

15 July 2014 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA

Paul Ryan as the Prince of Paupers

David Coates

The hard-nosed approach to poverty from the American Right is a threat to long-term democratic stability in the United States Given the scale and depth of poverty in the United States, it is not surprising that periodically debates about it should surface in Washington DC. What is more surprising is that the issue of poverty is not permanently centre-stage. It … Continue reading

15 April 2014 by David Coates
Categories: Economics, Employment, Inequality, SPERI Comment, Tax, USA Tags: , , , ,

America’s War on Poverty, America’s War on the Poor

David Coates

Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson’s vision, American politicians desperately need to reinvigorate the stalled campaign against poverty January 2014 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the State of the Union Address in which Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty. This anniversary is leading to much soul-searching here in the United States. Partly that soul-searching reflects the high levels of poverty … Continue reading

14 January 2014 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA, Welfare Tags: , ,

Social security in the cross-hairs

David Coates

The last remaining pillar of the New Deal era is increasingly endangered In the UK, pension reform is controversial enough, though it rarely occupies centre-stage for long and there is often common ground between the parties. In the US, by contrast, the reform of Social Security is a perennial political issue, and it is now heavily partisan in nature. The … Continue reading

27 November 2013 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA Tags: , , , , , , ,

The American student debt crisis: the next financial time bomb?

David Coates

Staggering levels of student debt are strangling the US economic recovery In an earlier SPERI comment, Johnna Montgomerie wrote persuasively of household debt being the silent dimension of the financial crisis afflicting both the British and the American economies, and treated that debt as the most telling consequence of the broken Anglo-liberal growth model. She is undoubtedly correct in writing … Continue reading

26 September 2013 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA

Swopping conservatives

David Coates

American conservatism has shifted so far to the right we almost need a new term to describe it Watching David Cameron & Co. dealing with UKIP and the rise of Nigel Farage, it struck me again how much we are divided by a common language; and so how vital it is, if we are ever fully to understand our common … Continue reading

29 July 2013 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA

Gridlock in Washington: conservative heaven!

David Coates

Conservative populism is flourishing in America as rapid change and media hysteria cultivate the politics of fear As must now be blindingly obvious to anyone following the international news, American politics is not like Western European politics. In the United States, popular outrage does not turn rapidly into responsive public policy. Governments do not move effectively to deal with economic … Continue reading

2 May 2013 by David Coates
Categories: SPERI Comment, USA