Democrats want progress, GOP wants to regress

Story highlights

Last week, the Republicans revealed one of their most conservative platforms to date

Gov. Dan Malloy: This week, the Democrats will share a progressive platform that embraces America's rich diversity

Editor’s Note: Dan Malloy is the Democratic governor of Connecticut. He is the co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee and the chairman of Democratic Governors Association. The views expressed in this commentary are his.

CNN  — 

Last week in Cleveland, we saw a Republican Party that wants to go back in time. GOP leaders adopted a platform that could have easily been written 100 years ago, with ideals that would make leaders from the 1800s blush.

We saw dysfunction and incompetence, plagiarism and mismanagement. We saw talking points that were copied and pasted from anti-LGBTQ groups and others who seek to turn back the clock on America. We saw a Republican Party that sees the world in a dark way — and wants to double-down on that darkness with a platform predicated on discrimination.

Gov. Dan Malloy

Build a wall. Ban Muslims. Roll back women’s rights. These are the central tenets of the 2016 GOP. That’s why there’s such a clear choice at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week, where Americans will see a different path — a modern path — forward.

If you can’t run a four-day convention competently, and you pass a platform with values from another century, how do you have any hope of running the greatest country in the history of the world today?

While Republicans want to roll back progress, Democrats look to build on it. Instead of constructing a wall, we want to tear down barriers for the middle class and everyday families. And instead of turning people away from entering our country because of the color of their skin or their religion, we recognize and celebrate America’s long tradition as a melting pot.

The conventions are a place where Americans can really see the questions confronting them as voters – and where they see the choices before them. And the big question now is not just whether we will move forward with hope under Hillary Clinton, or backward with xenophobia under Donald Trump. There are clear contrasts and questions to answer at the state level as well.

Take North Carolina, where Democrats are concentrating on solving problems while Republicans create them by focusing on bathroom policy. As we saw this week, because of Gov. Pat McCrory’s discriminatory HB2 law, the NBA will move the All-Star game out of North Carolina.

Take Indiana, where Gov. (and now vice presidential candidate) Mike Pence signed a law that would discriminate against people based on who they love and how they express it, costing Indiana’s economy more than $60 million in the past year. And after seeing heartbreaking images from overseas, Pence turned his back on a Syrian refugee family and barred them from entering his state. That’s why I personally welcomed that family in Connecticut, because as Democrats – and Democratic governors – we believe diversity enhances the fabric of American communities.

04:20 - Source: CNN
Syrian refugees get warm welcome in Connecticut

In Philadelphia this week, we will show the country how we are focused on the issues that matter to working families. Better wages. Smarter gun laws. A bigger, stronger middle class. Equality for all.

We as Democrats believe that global warming is real. The GOP, with its anti-science positions, wants to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Democrats believe in empowering women to make their own health choices. We believe in equal pay for equal work. And with the first female presidential nominee in American history, we believe in shattering the glass ceiling.

The Republicans don’t. The GOP is a party that claims to celebrate individual freedom, except when it comes to women. As their positions have demonstrated time after time, Republicans believe women should have fewer choices, not more.

On guns, Democrats believe in common sense. Since the 1960s, more Americans have died from gun violence than in all the wars combined in our nation’s history. We believe that you don’t need assault weapons to hunt; deer are not getting any more dangerous. We believe that if you are on a terrorist watch list and can’t fly on a plane, you shouldn’t be able to buy a gun. And like more than 90% of Americans and the vast majority of NRA members, we believe in universal background checks.

Meanwhile, the Republican answer to our gun violence epidemic is to arm schoolteachers. The GOP wants us to think that by spreading weapons of mass destruction, we’ll be safer. It’s lunacy.

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That’s why in the City of Brotherly Love this week, they’ll see a modern party that’s in touch with the realities of this century. They’ll see elected leaders who believe in supporting working families and higher wages.

They’ll see a presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, Democratic governors and an entire ticket that believes in moving forward by uniting us.

And in November, they’ll ultimately realize that the only concrete idea Republicans stand for is building a wall. Americans will see the Democratic Party for what it is: one of progress, hope and unity.

Dan Malloy is the Democratic governor of Connecticut. He is the co-chairman of the Democratic National Committee’s Platform Committee and the chairman of Democratic Governors Association. The views expressed in this commentary are his.