Convention on Founding Principles

Declaration of Principles

For too long our politics, and the Republican party specifically, have abandoned the principles on which our nation is built. The health and prosperity of our free society depends on its principles, and leaders who endeavor to live up to them. When our leaders fail to honor these foundational ideals, it is incumbent upon the citizens to reaffirm our commitment to them, and to hold the powerful to account. These are the core principles to which we the assembled have agreed, and which comprise the heart of our movement for a brighter, stronger American future.

1. ALL PEOPLE ARE CREATED EQUAL AND FREE, HAVING THE SAME INALIENABLE RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

We reject any suggestion that these inherent rights are granted by government. We explicitly condemn racism, including white supremacy. We also reject all forms of authoritarianism and fascism here and abroad as threats to our rights and democracy. We affirm the right of all people to marry, live and work without discrimination, on the basis of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation. We affirm the right of all people to freedom of religion without governmental interference.


2. UNDER THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, GOVERNMENT MUST OPERATE WITH THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, THROUGH THE RULE OF LAW WHICH IS FUNDAMENTAL TO A FREE AND JUST SOCIETY, TO PROTECT THE LIVES, LIBERTY, AND PROPERTY OF ALL PEOPLE.

No one is above the law. We must hold accountable those who exploit the powers of government for personal or partisan benefit and who hold themselves above the law. We support measures that ensure the accountability of those who execute the powers of government, including law enforcement and those who hold elective office. The independence of government investigators, prosecutors, and inspectors general and the protection of whistleblowers are critical to securing the rights of the citizenry. 


3. AS THE GOVERNMENT DERIVES ITS POWER FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED, FREE, FAIR, AND SECURE ELECTIONS MUST REMAIN THE ESSENTIAL FOUNDATION FOR A HEALTHY DEMOCRACY AND ARE NECESSARY FOR THE ACCOUNTABILITY OF THOSE CHOSEN TO CARRY OUT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

The equal right of all citizens to vote, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, must be a cornerstone of our democracy. Candidates for office must also accept the vote of the people. We support measures that make voting more accessible for all eligible citizens, such as expanded vote-by-mail, automatic voter registration, and convenient access to polling locations. We also support measures that strengthen electoral competition, such as fair redistricting and ranked-choice voting. Likewise we support measures that ensure election security, such as requiring all voting machines to produce verifiable paper trails. The government must also ensure that our electoral system is protected against interference not only by foreign actors such as Russia or China, but against potential domestic interlopers as well. 


4. WE HONOR THE CONSTITUTION AND EMPHASIZE ITS SEPARATION OF POWERS BETWEEN THE THREE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT.

The aggrandizement of presidential power and erosion of constitutional checks and balances threaten our liberties, rights, and fundamental system of government. Congress must assert its Article I powers, including its oversight and funding responsibilities, and both the executive and legislative branches must refrain from obstruction and overreach. Further, the limitation of federal powers as described in the Tenth Amendment must be respected.


5. THE JUDICIARY MUST BE AN INDEPENDENT AND EQUAL BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT.

We support judges who equally uphold the enumerated rights within the Constitution and the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We support judges who recognize the Constitution as a governing document, subject to amendment by the people. We support a judicial confirmation process that respects nominees and reviews their qualifications for office in an ethical and nonpartisan manner. We support leaders who protect and preserve the integrity and independence of the judicial branch.


6. SEEKING TRUTH AND EMBRACING FACTS ARE ESSENTIAL DUTIES TO MAINTAINING LIBERTY AND JUSTICE, AND OUR LEADERS MUST HONESTLY AND CONSISTENTLY DEFEND AND PROMOTE THESE VIRTUES.

Without truth, government is unaccountable and ineffective. Honest, diligent, and transparent efforts to uphold truth are foundational to a healthy society and the people's trust in an accountable and effective government. We support leaders who make such efforts and reject those who deceive and spread disinformation in the pursuit of power.


7. ELECTED LEADERS HAVE A DUTY TO ACT WITH THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF INTEGRITY, HONOR, AND SERVICE.

The absence of these qualities of character in leaders is the ultimate source of violations of public trust and leads to corruption, abuse of power, and threats to our liberty. We support leaders who consistently exemplify integrity, honor, and service and will hold accountable those who do not.


8. WE BELIEVE IN AN INCLUSIVE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA DEFINED BY ITS IDEALS, WELCOMING All PEOPLE SEEKING SAFETY, OPPORTUNITY, AND THE PROSPECT OF CONTRIBUTING THEIR TALENTS TO OUR DIVERSE COUNTRY.

We welcome all members of the human family regardless of differences affirming those protected categories outlined in the United States Government’s Equal Employment Opportunity statement. We reject the false notion that America is defined by the races and birthplaces of its citizens. We believe in treating immigrants with dignity and compassion and reject cruel, inhumane treatments such as family separation, child imprisonment, and denial of aid.  These are contrary to our values and history as a nation of immigrants.


9. AMERICA MUST BE A BEACON OF LIBERTY IN THE WORLD, ADVANCING FREEDOM AND OPPORTUNITY BY EXAMPLE AND ALSO WITH JUDICIOUS USE OF ITS DIPLOMATIC, ECONOMIC, AND MILITARY POWER.

We support voluntary alliances of free nations and reject currying favor with foreign dictators. We advocate for a foreign policy that reflects our values and interests, and stands against authoritarian regimes.


10. MARKET-BASED ECONOMIES RECOGNIZE OUR NATURAL LIBERTY AND ARE THE MOST EFFICIENT AND EQUITABLE SYSTEMS FOR FOSTERING PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT AND NATIONAL PROSPERITY.

We urge a recommitment to free enterprise that offers real opportunity on an equal basis to all Americans regardless of status. We believe in the necessity of laws and regulations to promote health, wealth, and opportunity. We demand a government that helps citizens in times of misfortune or tragedy while allowing hard work and initiative to flourish without interference or corruption. We call for the promotion of free trade and an end to cronyism, isolationism, and trade wars that hurt small business, labor, and consumers.


11. WE HAVE A DUTY TO BE RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS OF FINANCES, LANDS, NATURAL RESOURCES, THE ENVIRONMENT, AND ALL PUBLIC ASSETS.

Prudent spending and reduction of the national debt strengthen our security and stability. Irresponsible management of our public finances, lands, the environment, and natural resources endangers public health and long-term prosperity. We have a responsibility to ourselves and future generations to balance non-emergency spending with revenue, reduce the national debt, sustain and conserve our natural resources, and protect the environment.


12. FREE SPEECH AND A FREE PRESS ARE GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION. THESE FREEDOMS ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE AND TO A GOVERNMENT THAT IS ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PEOPLE.

We condemn the efforts of public officials and candidates for public office to impede, threaten, or control the press and erode public support for its vital role in our free society. We support measures that expand government transparency and that protect the press from government interference or retaliation.


13. A CORE MISSION OF GOVERNMENT AND ELECTED OFFICIALS IS TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMON DEFENSE AND PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE.

We support fact-based policies that promote public health and safety, including the assurance of basic healthcare for our most vulnerable. We are committed to American global leadership for the sake of our nation’s security. A strong military is the foundation of American sovereignty. We affirm our obligations to those in our nation’s service who provide, or have provided, for our common defense and security.