The Republican National Convention got off to a strong start on Monday. It did so, not by dwelling on what is wrong in America, but by demonstrating what is possible in a land of free enterprise.
The American civilization is unique in history.
Never before, and not since, has a nation of its size been born of such fresh ground and cultivated so deliberately by ideals.
Over the last 400 years, this New World has invited an unprecedented number of diverse peoples, from around the globe, to its shores to pursue, not the culture or systems of their pasts but, instead, the economic and political fortunes of their individual futures.
Only a vibrant and free economy could have assimilated the millions that came throughout the 1800s and into the 1900s. No European state could have assimilated so many people with their comparatively less free and vibrant economies.
The choice of the 2020 election is whether to reduce that freedom with a more government-driven economy or one that moves back toward a market-driven approach.
That is why Republicans placed the stories of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina and Cuban-American Maximo Alvarez front and center Monday night.
Alvarez warned of the false promises of socialism based on his family’s experience under Castro in Cuba.
According to Alvarez, speaking about the Democrat big-government promises, "Free education, free health care, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community. They don't sound radical to my ears. They sound familiar."
Alvarez knows those are false promises and prefers his chances in a free society. “In America, I would decide my own future. I'm so grateful to America, the place where I was able to build my American dream through hard work and determination."
Scott highlighted his family’s journey from “cotton to Congress” in a single lifetime – his grandfather's. He even noted that he got off to a rough start in his studies. Perseverance, however, allowed him to succeed.
Haley highlighted the aspirational over the negative with her personal story.
She noted that she was “the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. They came to America and settled in a small Southern town. My father wore a turban. My mother wore a sari. I was a Brown girl in a Black-and-White world. We faced discrimination and hardship. But my parents never gave in to grievance and hate. My mom built a successful business. My dad taught 30 years at a historically black college. And the people of South Carolina chose me as their first minority and first female governor.”
Most importantly, Haley made clear that “America isn't perfect. But the principles we hold dear are perfect.”
In practical terms, standards of living rise with economic growth or fall with stagnation. Excessive government produces that stagnation, as it has in the European Union, which has produced just over one percent growth over the last 20 years. It is even worse in Cuba.
The eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, with their high regulation and high taxation policies, produced the least growth of any modern presidency.
Economic stagnation does not produce the rags-to-riches stories that have made America great. Adopting the redux of the Obama-Biden big government policies won’t either.
Tom Del Beccaro is an author, speaker and former chairman of the California Republican Party. His latest book is "The Divided Era: How We Got Here and the Keys to America's Reconciliation."