The debate over immigration reform represents a critical test for Republicans. It will determine if their party will be fit to govern the nation into the future, according to former Sen. Judd Gregg.
In a column for The Hill,
the New Hampshire Republican says a broad tent, two-party system will continue to be vital in reaching consensus on the major issues of our time.
"As the House Republicans struggle with how to approach the subject of immigration, a much more significant issue is in play. It is the issue of whether we will continue to have a viable two-party system as the core of our form of governance in America," Gregg writes.
He says America's constitutional system, with its checks-and-balances, was "the great genius of our founders," but as American society has become more diverse and expansive, the two-party system has become necessary to execute the system over time.
"The importance of the parties is that they represent a preliminary but necessary step in the critical process of reaching consensus. It is only then that governing can occur," he says.
Gregg contends parties, therefore, have a responsibility to remain inclusive, but the Republican Party currently risks abandoning its history of inclusiveness.
"How House Republicans handle the issue of immigration will be a key test. Can the party continue in its role as a national force for consensus and good governance in the near future? Or will it take an exclusionary path that will inevitably lead to it being a permanent minority voice?
"If it chooses the latter course, it will have abandoned its large and critical responsibility to be a part of a reasonably well-governed constitutional system built on the need to reach consensus," he writes.
"It is a key moment. One can only hope that the party selects the right path."
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