Democratic control of the House of Representatives offers Republicans the chance to redeem themselves and begin the process of healing a dangerously divided country.
Faced with Donald Trump’s unending path of lies and misleading statements, his shameless attacks on the media and all perceived or real opponents, as well as his fear mongering and his vulgarity and demeaning attitude toward women, it is fair to say that the Republican party has lost its soul.
Two more years of Republicans in control of both the House and Senate would have caused irreparable damage to the United States both internationally and domestically. Ironically, the Democrats’ victory may well pull the Republican Party away from Trump’s spell and save it from its own self-destructive path.
The fact that the House will soon be under Democratic control offers Republicans the chance to redeem themselves by working across the aisle to begin the process of healing a dangerously divided country.
Under any circumstances, however, the Democrats must focus on four major crises facing the nation that have a direct and indirect impact on every American.
Making healthcare a central issue in the mid-term election was a winning strategy, precisely because healthcare is a fundamental issue for every American.
Healthcare, to be sure, is a basic human right that must be granted by either the federal government or the state. It is nothing short of a travesty for any American, regardless of age and preexisting conditions, not to have accessible and reliable healthcare.
The Democrats must remain relentless in pushing for comprehensive healthcare legislation, particularly revising the Affordable Care Act in the context of universal healthcare, and invite the Republicans to support it.
The prospect for success and the potential for failure, should the Republicans decide to oppose it, will serve the Democrats’ interests come 2020.
The source of America’s greatness is in its people and their backgrounds, sets of beliefs, cultural riches, diversity and differing resourcefulness that immigrants bring with them, which together made America not only great but unique.
The Democrats must present all-encompassing immigration laws that will address the millions of undocumented immigrants, DACA, asylum seekers, and the regular flow of legal immigrants and finally pass the DREAM Act.
Regardless of Trump’s disdain for immigrants of color, the demographic composition of America is changing. Black, Hispanic, and Asian-Americans will become a majority within three decades, a trend that Trump cannot stop, and his embrace of white supremacists is a stain on America.
The Republican Party must make their choice, and the Democrats must press for what America stood for—as the country of immigrants.
It is time for the Republican Party to wake up to the indisputable scientific evidence that climate change is a reality that must urgently be addressed.
Indeed, only totally ignorant and morally corrupt people do not recognize that climate change is already upon us.
The unprecedented ferocity of fires (particularly recently in California), hurricanes, tsunamis, rising sea levels and pervasive destruction of the coral reefs are a direct result of climate change and is obvious for all to see.
The fourth thing the Democrats must focus on is the disastrous conditions of infrastructure throughout the country. Roads and bridges are crumbling, with over 54,000 bridges rated structurally deficient.
More than two out of five interstate roads and highways are over capacity and can no longer accommodate the massive congestion, which is consuming more fuel and costing the economy $120 billion annually.
Thousands of small and medium sized towns are disintegrating and are in need of major revitalization. Moreover, the country’s railway network is in sorry condition, vastly underfunded and cobbled together with freight and commuter rail lines, putting us to shame compared to countries like China, Japan,and most European states.
The Democrats must remain unyielding until infrastructure legislation passes. The Republican Senate will be hard-pressed not to work with the Democrats on such a critical bipartisan bill as the 2020 presidential election hovers around.
The Democrats’ focus on these four major national projects (including education and gun control) is central to maintaining the viability of the party. This is precisely what’s needed to change the lives of ordinary Americans for the better, instead of demonizing the Republicans.
The Democrats’ victory in the House offers Republicans in the Senate an opportunity to redeem themselves by collaborating with Democrats on major issues that face the nation, saving the party from disintegration.
In 2020, the Democrats should be running on their achievements, or at a minimum, on their genuine efforts to deal with issues of great concern and urgency to the American people.
Frustrating as it may appear to some, clearly demonstrating that the national interests take precedent over party politics is the medicine the United States needs.
***Dr. Alon Ben Meir is a professor and Senior Fellow at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs and Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute.
Dr. Ben-Meir is an expert on Middle East politics and affairs, specializing in international negotiations and conflict resolution.
In the past seventeen years, Ben-Meir has been directly involved in various negotiations between Israel and its neighboring countries and Turkey.
Ben-Meir hosts “Global Leaders: Conversations with Alon Ben-Meir,” a speaking series of debates and conversations with top policy-makers from around the world held each semester at NYU. He also regularly briefs at the U.S. State Department for the International Visitors Program.
He writes a weekly article that appear in scores of newspapers, magazines and websites including the Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, Middle East Times, Times of Israel, Epoch Times, the Political Quarterly, the Harvard Review, and many other publications in Arabic and English.
He has been featured on networks such as ABC, Al Jazeera (English and Arabic), Al Arabiya, al-Hurra, CNN, Russia Today and NBC.
He has authored seven books related to Middle East and is currently working on a new book about the psychological dimension of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Dr. Ben-Meir holds a master’s degree in philosophy and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University.