David Dayen

David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect. His work has appeared in The Intercept, The New RepublicHuffPost, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and more. His first book, Chain of Title: How Three Ordinary Americans Uncovered Wall Street's Great Foreclosure Fraud, winner of the Studs and Ida Terkel Prize, was released by The New Press in 2016.

Recent Articles

The Big Tech Investigations That Should Have Started in 2012

Two missed opportunities from the Federal Trade Commission, on Google and Facebook, led us to the monopoly crisis we face today.

The antitrust authorities, roused after a decades-long slumber, sorted out jurisdictional issues on the dominant technology platforms last week, with the Justice Department taking Google and Apple, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taking Facebook and Amazon. There wouldn’t be any reason for the agencies to determine who handles what if they weren’t ramping up investigations. Companies harmed by Big Tech are assembling their complaints , lawmakers in both parties are demanding action , and we could very well have the biggest monopolization case in America since the legal fight against Microsoft during the Clinton administration. This newly vigorous enforcement throws into sharp relief the failures of the past, and actually the failures of one pivotal year: 2012. There could have been credible antitrust investigations that year of both Big Tech companies that are now squarely in the government’s sights: Google and Facebook. In both cases, the FTC had demonstrable...

Tom Perez Traded a Puerto Rico Statehood Endorsement for DNC Chair Votes

The revelation from a new book says that pro-statehood politicians quietly took over Puerto Rico’s Democratic Party, then made a deal with Perez for their votes.

The DNC’s rejection of a presidential primary debate focused entirely on the climate crisis has roused the grassroots. Not only did DNC chair Tom Perez deny the request from 2020 candidate and climate warrior Jay Inslee , he flatly stated that any candidate appearing in someone else’s climate-focused debate would disqualify them for future DNC debates. Already Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke have joined Inslee in urging Perez to reverse his decision. But a revelation in a recent book adds a rich layer of irony to the situation. Because the reason that Tom Perez is in the position to decline a climate debate in the first place is that he won the DNC election in 2017 in large part thanks to the most prominent North American victim of the climate crisis in the Trump era: Puerto Rico. The details come in the new book We’ve Got People: From Jesse Jackson to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the End of Big Money and the Rise of a Movement by Ryan Grim, Washington editor...

The Inslee Difference

The Washington governor’s focus on the climate crisis is prodding his fellow presidential candidates to develop their own Green New Deals.

History yields a few examples of presidential candidacies designed not to win office but to raise attention to a pressing issue: “ free soil ” anti-slavery candidates before the Civil War, Pete McCloskey’s anti-Vietnam War Republican primary challenge to Richard Nixon in 1972 , Ellen McCormack’s bid as an anti-abortion Democrat in 1976. Single-issue candidates aren’t necessarily interested in becoming president as much as pulling the party in their favored direction. Most don’t amount to much. But when I see Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s campaign to deal with the climate crisis, and what that has inspired within the Democratic race, I see the model of a successful single-issue campaign. Inslee has hardly been alone in provoking climate action: the Sunrise Movement has been uniquely effective from the outside, as has Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal from the inside. But a tangible policy is incredibly valuable, and Inslee...

In California, Democratic Hopefuls Counter Biden’s Status Quo Politics

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders offer the most direct challenge yet to the front-runner in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Jeff Chiu/AP Photo
SAN FRANCISCO—“We asked a two-word question: ‘Why not?’” said Bernie Sanders, reflecting on his 2016 challenge, at a low-dollar fundraiser near the Moscone Center during the California Democratic Party convention. Many of the 14 Democratic presidential candidates who spoke here, at the first real cattle call of the 2020 primary, were asking that same question, daring to think beyond a cramped politics narrowly focused on defeating Donald Trump and exhaling. “Why not” is the language of activists, the language Robert Kennedy paraphrased from George Bernard Shaw in 1968, the language of the “si se puede” cries from farm laborers. It’s not the language of the front-runner in the Democratic primary, and this weekend in San Francisco offered some of the first lines of attack against Joe Biden thus far in the race. Biden had no presence at the gathering, save from quotes of his on a glossy flier being passed out by Bernie...

Controversial Change to Consumer Rights Postponed

After hours of debate, the American Law Institute gives up on a radical reinterpretation of consumer contract law.

On Monday, I wrote about an obscure group called the American Law Institute, which was about to approve a sweeping reinterpretation of consumer contract law. It would have obligated consumers to the terms and conditions of a business even if they never read the contract or knew the contract existed. The ALI’s vote to approve the reinterpretation was scheduled for Tuesday, but after four hours of debate, it was postponed indefinitely. “The bottom line is that none of the substantive proposals were adopted,” said Deepak Gupta, a consumer rights attorney and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau staffer, who attended the session. “In my view that’s a win for consumers.” At issue was what is known as a Restatement of consumer contract law. These are summaries of common law in the 50 states. Judges, law students, and arbitration panels rely on them quite often as a reference to what the law says. Typically, Restatements are devised and approved...