By Amy Hanauer, American Prospect
Jan. 15, 2019

Minnesotans, with their comparatively generous social safety net, live seven years longer than people in conservative (and low-income) Mississippi. Louisianans are more than five times more likely to be in prison as Mainers. And in New York, where bargaining rights are better protected, roughly a quarter of workers enjoy the security and wage premium of union membership, compared with fewer than 4 percent in union-hostile South Carolina. While other factors contribute to these realities, it’s safe to say that state policy matters immensely.

The right gets this. In the 1970s, conservatives set their sights on statehouses as the best (and most readily captured) mechanism for rolling back the gains of the New Deal, the Great Society, and the civil rights movement. This assault is both intensely damaging and profoundly undemocratic. Its electoral gains depend on an unprecedented attack on voting rights. Its legislative agenda is paid for and carried out by the American Legislative Exchange Council, its corporate supporters, and other moneyed interests. And when citizens in cities and counties choose more progressive approaches, right-wing control of state government often preempts local control.

All of this makes the 2018 election results, where power shifted decisively in many states, that much more promising. Those outcomes will have long-term and powerful implications for how many of our babies make it to their first birthdays, how secure we are at work, and how we participate in the democratic process, among other things.

Read more in the American Prospect