Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

What American progressives could win in 2018

With the Republican party controlling the House, the Senate, the Presidency and a majority of state governorships, 2018 looks to be a bleak year. However, there could be some victories for American progressives, writes Jack Clarke

Prescriptions

Prescription Prices in the United States are the highest in the developed world – for example,  the prescription drug Nexium, which costs just $30 in Canada costs $305 in the US. However,  the CREATES Act could end the private monopoly on the production of generic drugs. If this passes, federal healthcare programmes could save $3bn over 10 years, reducing the cost to taxpayers. Indeed, in his 2018 State of the Union address, President Trump signalled his support for measures to reduce the overall cost of prescription drugs to both the government and consumer.

Criminal Justice Reform

Mass Incarceration is a monumental problem in the US. Ever since 2002, it has had by far the highest incarceration rate in the world, around 100 prisoners per 100,000 people. Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders pledged to take action on the issue during the Democratic primaries, but there is also cross-party support for action. . The sentencing reform and corrections bill is currently being debated in Congress, having received support from both Democrats and Republicans. It would, among other things, curtail the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and require investment in rehabilitation programmes

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Elections

November will see the midterms – Trump’s first real electoral test since taking power. A rejuvenated Democratic base, spurred on by the election of Doug Jones in Alabama, could pick up seats in swing states like Nevada, and endanger the Republican stranglehold on Congress. Furthermore, in the gubernatorial elections, Democrats could do well in states such as Vermont and Massachusetts. Governors have considerable influence over state legislatures within the US’ federal system, so swings could affect legislation, particularly on issues such as gun law.

Women’s Rights

Across America, women are fighting back against Trump’s well-documented misogyny. Emily’s List, a group which works to increase female representation across all levels of political life, has reported that a record 25,000 women have approached them to express an interest in running for political office. If they are successful at mobilising both female voters and female candidates, this could mean shifts on issues such as abortion, which is contentious across the country.

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Jack Clarke is a Progress member.

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Jack Clarke

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