David Coates

Answering Back

Answering Back: The Living Book is a resource to keep you up-to-date as you fight for a better America. The book consists of 10 chapters, each covering a major issue in today’s political debates. Additional articles on these topics are regularly added to the book’s website, so it continues to live on. Here you will find the latest story lines, data sets, and literature references necessary to keep you fully up to speed with this incredibly rapidly changing and important set of political struggles.

I encourage you to respond to any and all of the articles. – David Coates

September 30, 2016

Treating Donald Trump as Just Another Republican Presidential Nominee

  Just because Donald Trump is so unconventional a presidential candidate, it does not automatically follow that we should immediately abandon our conventional criteria for judging his adequacy for the position. On the contrary, the reverse is more likely to be true: that the more unconventional he attempts to be, the more determined should we […] read more »
August 25, 2016

Donald Trump: the Politics of Fear and Violence

American presidential politics is always a contact sport. The stakes are invariably so high that being polite to the opposition is normally difficult, and is often honored only in the breach. The 2012 “there is a village in Kenya that is missing its idiot” bumper sticker offended me at the time for its ongoing birtherism […] read more »
August 1, 2016

Extracting the United States from a Condition of Permanent War

The scale and character of US military action overseas didn’t figured much in the Democratic Party’s internal debate on the choice of a presidential candidate, but with that choice resolved it needs to figure now. Indeed, the question of what constitutes a progressive foreign policy needs to move center-stage – and to do so with […] read more »
July 9, 2016

Tony Blair’s Day of Reckoning

The very long (and indeed very long awaited) report of the Chilcot Inquiry was finally published in London on July 6th. Set up in 2009, its much-delayed arrival allows us one last large-scale public examination of the key event that so profoundly destabilized the modern Middle East – namely the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. It […] read more »
June 9, 2016

History Once as Tragedy, Twice as Farce? American lessons from a British referendum

The United States is not alone in being in campaign mode. The United Kingdom is as well. Not for the British a general election in November, as here. Rather, a June 23rd referendum on whether to remain, or whether to leave, the European Union – the 28 member economic-political union headquartered in Brussels. But though […] read more »
May 18, 2016

Democratic Primaries in the Shadow of Neoliberalism

There is an understandable tendency, when in the thick of a long set of presidential primaries, to treat all of them simply as exercises in the choice between individual candidates, and to make them as much about character as about policy. There is also an understandable tendency to assume that what is at stake in […] read more »
April 13, 2016

Horses for Courses? The Candidates and the Economy.

It may be difficult to believe right now, but eventually the nightmare will be over. The race for the presidency will end, and we will be free of the daily media diet of who is ahead, who is behind, and who might get ahead as others falter. Time and again right now, the bulk of […] read more »
March 19, 2016

The Democrats and the Donald

People of all kinds of political persuasions are rightly horrified by the violence erupting at Trump rallies,1 and by the demagoguery of the candidate himself.2 People of a more progressive predisposition are often equally disturbed by the hold that Donald Trump appears to have on the support of at least sections of the white working […] read more »
February 25, 2016

The Housing Crisis of the Young

There was a time, not very long ago, when housing was high on the political agenda, and understandably so.1 By 2008, the inadequate financing of it – first in the United Kingdom and then massively in the United States – had triggered the worst economic crisis in over six decades. The bitter fall-out from that […] read more »
January 25, 2016

Common Weaknesses in the Republicans’ Tax Proposals

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 Cruz and Marco Rubio clashing sharply […] read more »

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