Innovation Makes America Great. Donald Trump’s Republican Party Is Anti-Innovation.

You wouldn’t know it from listening to Donald Trump, or from reading the Republican platform, but Americans love diversity. Yesterday, Pew Research published the results ofFT_16.07.11_EU-USdiversity_overall an international poll finding that a majority of Americans—58 percent!—believe growing diversity makes their nation “a better place to live.” Only seven percent of all Americans think diversity makes the country worse, and about a third don’t perceive a difference. Significantly, Americans were far more in favor of diversity than any of the ten European countries in the same survey. The nearest was Sweden, with 36 percent in favor of diversity and 26 percent believing diversity makes things worse.

Look at that chart. It’s striking, isn’t it? Even moreso when you realize that Trump’s Republican Party is betting big on border walls, Muslim travel bans, and anti-LGBT laws this November. These are exclusionary policies that appeal to less than ten percent of all Americans. Hell, nearly half of all self-identified conservatives polled believe that diversity improves the country.

Human beings intuitively approve of diversity. And it’s easy to see why: more diversity leads to more choices, which improves the quality of life for everyone. It’s true in economics, too: you see more innovation—which we define around here at Civic Ventures as the way we solve problems—when you have more people coming from a wide variety of backgrounds. Don’t see how this relates to you? Here’s an example: say you’re downtown and you get hungry. That’s a problem. The food you buy to satiate your hunger is the solution to that problem. And speaking as someone who occasionally reviews restaurants, it’s much better to have a diverse variety of solutions to that particular problem than, say, a McDonald’s every three blocks.

But you don’t need to take my word for it. This morning, over one hundred self-described “inventors, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, researchers, and business leaders working in the technology sector”—people in high-level jobs at companies like Yelp, Reddit, Facebook, eBay, and many more—published an open letter to the American people about Donald Trump’s run for president. In this letter, the tech leaders argue that Trump’s anti-diversity platform is bad for innovation, and is therefore bad for business. You should read the whole letter, but here’s a taste:

We believe in an inclusive country that fosters opportunity, creativity and a level playing field. Donald Trump does not. He campaigns on anger, bigotry, fear of new ideas and new people, and a fundamental belief that America is weak and in decline. We have listened to Donald Trump over the past year and we have concluded: Trump would be a disaster for innovation. …We believe that America’s diversity is our strength. Great ideas come from all parts of society, and we should champion that broad-based creative potential.

Yes! This is exactly right. The chart at the top of this post proves why America, regardless of Trump’s catchphrase, is still great, and why we have been the leading country for innovation in the 20th and 21st centuries: because we welcome all viewpoints, and we are in a unique position to foster and encourage innovation. Donald Trump, and the platform of Donald Trump’s Republican Party, are designed to do the exact opposite. Rather than making America great again, these exclusionary, anti-innovation policies would, for the very first time, make America into something small and inert. We cannot afford to let that happen.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.