1. Gerrymandering: Does it Make Politics More Partisan?
This year, it will take more than just great candidates, tons of money and smart campaign tactics for Democrats to win back the House. Democrats will have to organize a massive push to get their voters to the polls. It’s all about the GOP-engineered gerrymandering sweep after 2010. Once Republicans won the majority in state legislatures that year, they went about redrawing the maps of many congressional districts – redrawing the borders to create an advantage for their candidates. Democrats, however, are just as familiar with the practice of redrawing geographical lines to favor their candidates. Gerrymandering has a long-standing partisan history within U.S. politics. But the question now – has the practice of redistricting finally caught up to Democrats?
2. Prescription Drug Abuse: the Link between Prescription Drugs and Drug Abuse
For decades, we’ve heard the mainstream news outlets cover the rise of illegal drug abuse in the United States. In recent years, a new form of drug abuse, prescription drug abuse, has quietly grown into a major crisis in America. According to a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more Americans (nearly 6.8 million) abuse prescription drugs than the number of Americans using heroin, cocaine, inhalants and LSD combined. With prescription drugs now being sold illegally on the street, the line between legal and illegal drugs has blurred -- and so has the conversation about how to deal with this rising epidemic.
3. America’s New Trade Partnerships: Helping Us or Hurting Us?
Foreign trade has been an important factor of our economic development and accounts for a substantial share of GDP. Currently, there are two major pending trade agreements (the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Trans-Atlantic Trade Investment Partnership) that will have a significant impact on reshaping the landscape of international trade and the overall discussion of globalization. Aside from a strictly economic argument, there is still debate on whether or not America’s new trade partnerships are actually good for the country.