Robert Reich: Democrats Have Congress. Here's What You Can Do to Make Sure it's Not Wasted | Opinion

Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) holds the gavel during the first session of the 116th Congress at the U.S. Capitol January 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats are now firmly in control of the House of Representatives, under Speaker Nancy Pelosi. They have regained a beachhead of power to finally place a check on Donald Trump and his enablers. After two years of complete Republican control of Washington, some balance has been restored to our democracy.

I know and have worked with members of the 116th Congress. They are people of integrity who will strive to do what's right for America. Pelosi is tough and courageous. Were it not for her insistence, Obama would not have pushed for the Affordable Care Act.

But they are not miracle workers. Republicans still control the Senate. Trump is still the president, and there is still a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

They will make life harder for Trump, to be sure. They will investigate. They have the power of subpoena. The House Ways and Means Committee is specifically authorized to subpoena Trump's tax returns. They might even move to impeach Trump, if Mueller reports what I expect him to.

But they will do little to change the growing imbalance of wealth and power in this country unless they are pushed to do so. Do not ever underestimate the influence of Wall Street Democrats, corporate Democrats, and the Democrat's biggest funders. I know. I've been there.

This is where you come in. Millions of us worked hard to create a "blue wave" and put Democrats in control of the House. But our work is not over by any stretch. Nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington are organized and mobilized to make it happen.

We must support Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats when they need our support to do the right things. We also need to push them when they need pushing. And we must fight them when they begin to cave.

We must be unwavering in our commitment to renewing our democracy and creating an economy that works for all, not just the privileged few. Addressing these issues requires a bold agenda: Medicare-for-All, a Green New Deal, getting big money out of politics, access to free public colleges and universities, stronger unions, and worker representation on corporate boards. There will be no shortage of legislation and causes that will need our support.

So keep vigilant and active. Stay involved in the grassroots organizations that spearheaded the Democrat's victory in November—groups like,,,,,,,,,,, and, to name only a few. And if you're not yet activist members, join them.

The fight has only just begun.

Robert Reich is the chancellor's professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective Cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations and Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Inequality for All. His latest documentary, Saving Capitalism, is streaming on Netflix. Reich's new book, The Common Good, is available now.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​