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About Godfrey Hodgson

Godfrey Hodgson was director of the Reuters' Foundation Programme at Oxford University, and before that the Observer's correspondent in the United States and foreign editor of the Independent. He is the author of The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Yale University Press, 2009).

Articles by Godfrey Hodgson

This week’s editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Barack Obama: end of the beginning

The United States treasury's plan to deal with "toxic assets" relies on the very financial institutions that created the economic whirlwind. The young presidency is already in a vice, says Godfrey Hodgson.

(This article was first published on 30 March 2009)

Barack Obama's reality gap

The congressional politics of the financial crisis mean that the new president will soon need a new script and toolbox, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Barack Obama: don’t waste the crisis

The realities of power in the American political system have already begun to impinge on the new United States president, says Godfrey Hodgson.

An end and a beginning

The world's economic foundations lost their moorings in 2008. Only a return to active and large-scale government can restore the balance, says Godfrey Hodgson. 


The transition process is casting a shadow over hopes for Barack Obama’s presidency. But the bedraggled reputation of some appointees is the symptom of a deeper issue, says Godfrey Hodgson

Let Obama be Obama

The constraints he will inherit mean that the United States president-elect will be a change-maker not a miracle-worker, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Yes, he can!

The victory of Barack Obama is a decisive rejection of the conservative ascendancy in United States politics. The test now is to make the promise of change a reality, says Godfrey Hodgson

America’s economy election

The everyday hardships of United States citizens are now centre-stage in the presidential contest – in a way that helps Barack Obama. But could race still influence the outcome, asks Godfrey Hodgson.

The week that democracy won

The rejection of the deal to save the United States's financial system is part of a wider victory of the American people who said "no" to an establishment fix, says Godfrey Hodgson.

(This article was first published on 29 September 2008)

Metapolitics: America’s election faultline

The Republican portrayal of "its" America as a fresh and radical challenge to establishment power distorts reality to ill effect even as it draws on potent historical resources, says Godfrey Hodgson. 

America’s foreign-policy election

The United States party conventions open the last phase in an epic election campaign. But the world may have the final say on the result, says Godfrey Hodgson.

(This article was first published on 28 August 2008) 

Welcome to the party: American convention follies

The party conventions and the choice of vice-presidential running-mate are key events in any United States election. They do not always go according to plan, recalls Godfrey Hodgson.

Barack Obama’s political tour

The overseas journey of the Democratic candidate for the United States presidency is part of a sophisticated strategy to reshape the political agenda as well as win votes at home, says Godfrey Hodgson.

A game of two halves

The United States election will turn not on a false polarity between idealism and pragmatism but on the extent of the voters’ hunger for change. Godfrey Hodgson assesses a campaign in fine balance.

Barack Obama: at the crossroads of victory

The Democrats' presidential candidate must avoid the allure of the conventional wisdom to secure victory in the United States election, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The lost election year

The nature of Hillary Clinton's campaign has cast a political shadow over the contest for the United States presidency, says Godfrey Hodgson.

“Superdelegates” and the US election

The Obama-Clinton contest could yet be decided by unelected Democratic Party officials. The very possibility reveals the burden of history the party carries, says Godfrey Hodgson.

America’s change election: reality or mirage?

A single word dominates the presidential race in the United States. But it will take more to end the conservative ascendancy, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The United States election: time for “change”

What do Americans want when they say they want change - and is it already too late to for the election to deliver it? Godfrey Hodgson examines the unsettled mood of a dissatisfied United States public.

Washington discovers Islamabad

The American political elite's lighthouse-beam of attention is fixed on Pakistan. That's part of a wider problem, says Godfrey Hodgson.

America in 2008: the next realignment?

Elections in the United States express the national mood as well as make a political choice. Godfrey Hodgson reads the current presidential race for signs of change.

The United States: democracy in trouble

The crisis of American politics is in more than Iraq, money-power, failing checks-and-balance, shrill media, and polarised national discourse. It's in the system itself, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The politics of justice

The balance of voting in the United States Supreme Court is not quite as predictable as conservatives hope and liberals fear, says Godfrey Hodgson.

America’s open-cast election

An unpopular president and an unwinnable war might be expected to guarantee a Democrat victory in the United States in 2008. Not so fast, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Tony Blair : farewell letters

Britain's prime minister is leaving the stage after ten years. openDemocracy writers say goodbye.

Queen Elizabeth meets President George

The visit of the British queen to the United States highlights the merits of constitutional monarchy, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Democracy in America: the money trap

Politics in the United States is being devoured by the sums needed to finance it, says Godfrey Hodgson.

London and Washington: Tony Blair's special relationship

The British prime minister's peculiar attitude to America’s leaders weighs heavily on his domestic legacy, says Godfrey Hodgson.

America against itself

The United States's predicament is that one side of its dualist face has come to predominate. But bullying will not forever eclipse idealism, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Jan Morris spoke for many around the world in a piece in the Guardian on 14 February 2007 in which she admitted to disenchantment with what the United States has become. "[The] missionary instinct", she wrote, "which impelled Americans into so many noble policies, was to be perverted by power".

The US in Iraq: stay the course, pay the price

The Bush administration's new Iraq strategy is the latest phase of an imperial disaster born of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence, says Godfrey Hodgson.

After the Baker report: America's challenge

Three neglected factors – Israel, oil, and American exceptionalism – underpin the United States's foreign-policy disaster in Iraq, says Godfrey Hodgson.

Washington: the earth moves

The mid-term elections in the United States are both a massive rejection of George W Bush and a momentous challenge to the Democratic victors, says Godfrey Hodgson.

American politics: corrosion by the dollar

The money-fuelled abuse and vituperation of the mid-term election campaign in the United States is a stain on American democracy, says Godfrey Hodgson.

The next big issue: inequality in America

The United States’s widening, damaging social chasms could also be the cause that helps the Democratic Party back to power, says Godfrey Hodgson.

It ain't necessarily so: if Bush wins again

The Bush administration may yet survive its sea of troubles to bask in Republican triumph in November's mid-term elections, warns Godfrey Hodgson.
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