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Principled Leadership

Democrats believe that America must lead in the world to grow our economy, protect our interests and values, and make our country safer and more prosperous. We cannot walk away from our position of global leadership and allow other countries to make decisions about our lives, jobs, and safety.

Democrats further believe that when America leads, it must be as a principled force for peace and prosperity in the world. We believe all people deserve to live in dignity and have their rights respected. We believe protecting rights and opportunities for women and girls is essential for security and economic growth. We believe providing access to education and employment for young people and safeguarding the rights of minorities is important to ensuring stability. We believe the smart use of diplomacy, development, and economic statecraft can prevent crises, foster stability, and make us safer. And we believe that we are stronger when we work with our partners and allies, rather than try to go it alone. Our global network of alliances is not a burden—it is a source of tremendous strategic advantage.

We believe that while our military must be the strongest in the world, it should only be sent into combat when the terms of engagement are clearly presented to the American people and our troops have what they need to fulfill their mission. We believe that war must always be the last resort, never the first choice.

These principles have underpinned important progress in the last eight years. When President Obama and Vice President Biden assumed office, the world economy was in the worst crisis since the Great Depression, our alliances were strained, Osama bin Laden remained at large, Iran was racing toward a nuclear weapon, and we were mired in two costly wars. We brought bin Laden to justice, crippled al Qaeda’s core leadership, saved America from a second Great Depression, repaired our alliances, reestablished relations with Cuba while pressing for reforms, and—without firing a shot, dropping a bomb, or putting a single American soldier in harm’s way—blocked Iran’s ability to pursue a nuclear weapon. America is stronger abroad and safer at home because of this principled leadership.

But there is much more to do to keep our country prosperous and safe. From defeating terrorism and combating climate change to managing China’s rise and strengthening our nation’s cybersecurity, the next Democratic administration will confront the complex challenges that lie ahead by staying true to our principles and core values.

Donald Trump has a different approach. There has never been a major party candidate less qualified or less fit for the office of President of the United States or to be Commander-in-Chief than Donald Trump. He wants more countries to have nuclear weapons. He thinks our military should engage in war crimes. He wants to build walls and keep people—including Americans—from entering the country based on their race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin. He has no strategy for dealing with key threats facing our country, including climate change and ISIS. He wants to abandon our allies and empower our adversaries. His dangerous, incoherent policies would undo the progress we have made.

Donald Trump believes America is weak and an embarrassment. We believe America is unlike any other nation on earth. Our ingenuity is unparalleled, our military unrivaled, our economy the largest, most dynamic, and innovative, and our values an enduring source of strength and inspiration the world over. We are not a country that cowers behind walls. We lead with purpose. With American leadership, guided by our principles and in concert with our allies and partners, the coming years can be the most stable, secure, and prosperous time we and the world have ever known.

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