What a difference a week makes.
Both the Democrats and Republicans have now completed their very unconventional conventions.
It was a daunting task for both parties to produce a two-hour Zoom meeting or a political infomercial that could both hold an audience’s attention and deliver the energy and messages a traditional convention would.
Both parties seemed happy with what they produced. The Democrats had good “production values” that featured Hollywood-style, scripted performances by celebrities and party pols.
The Republicans came across with real stories from real people. They focused on their own heartfelt experiences and how Donald Trump had helped them personally. Others talked about how Trump policies had made their lives better.
Republican stagecraft helped carry the week for them. From live speakers in Andrew Mellon Auditorium to the stunning backdrop of Fort McHenry to the climatic extravaganza on the White House lawn and the spectacular fireworks display that concluded their convention, it’s hard to argue that it didn’t beat a parking lot in Wilmington.
But the show isn’t what matters. The messages are.
The Republican National Convention stood in stark contrast to what the Democrats offered the week before. There were differences in both style and substance.
The Republicans showcased an optimistic approach to sometimes difficult times. They talked about the future and how the Great American Comeback will improve the lives of America’s families.
Far from our grandparent’s Republican Party, there were few of the silk stocking variety and many more from working families.
Among the most compelling speakers was Herschel Walker, who powerfully and emotionally debunked the myth of Trump being a racist.
Sister Deirdre Byrne, an Army doctor turned Nun, was equally compelling in making the case for the right to life.
If there were any dry eyes after Alice Marie Johnson spoke, they were rare. Imprisoned for the rest of her life she was pardoned by President Trump and given the opportunity to carry out the amazing work, including being a pastor, that she began in prison.
Her appearance helped to showcase the deep divide between Joe Biden and his 1994 “Crime Bill” and President Trump’s successful efforts in criminal justice reform. President Trump called his landmark First Step Act “only a beginning.”
And there couldn’t have been dry eyes as Ann Dorn, widow of slain police officer David Dorn, emotionally and powerfully told her story and of her total support for President Trump.
The list went on and on, from Daniel Cameron, the young Attorney General of Kentucky, to Ambassador Nikki Haley superstars emerged on the Republican side.
There were a couple of Pennsylvanians who addressed the convention, including war hero Sean Parnell, now a candidate for congress and Cheryl Allen, one of first African-American women to serve on our appellate courts. And who could have missed legendary Lou Holtz who brought the luck of the Irish to the Party?
There was a Naturalization ceremony in the middle of the convention, where several new citizens were welcomed to the American family. Their stories were all exceptionally touching, especially for me as I, too, became a citizen by choice rather than birth.
The First Lady made an impressive performance giving a very personal view of the man she’s married to. And the Left’s response? They criticized her accent. They didn’t seem to focus on how her accent might affect the several other languages she speaks fluently. They even took shots at her for being an immigrant. These are folks we’re supposed to take seriously?
The Republicans focused on issues the Democrats didn’t want to talk about. The Vice President and others clearly enunciated how Trump’s foreign policy has successfully dealt with China.
Joe Biden didn’t want to talk about the violence in the nation’s streets either. So this week the nation heard a clear message of zero tolerance for rioting and anarchy from the GOP. After weeks of staying mute on the subject, even Sleepy Joe is waking up to the fact that most Americans are seriously concerned about their family’s safety.
Republicans routinely recited the Pledge of Allegiance using all the words, having witnessed several Democrat speakers intentionally omit “under God.”
President Trump ’s acceptance speech brought the week to a crescendo. Perhaps a little long, he nonetheless did exactly what he had to do, reviewing the accomplishments of his administration, setting forth his plans for a second term and how he will continue to lead the great American comeback and finally, contrasting himself to Joe Biden.
With the conventions concluded, the race now enters the home stretch. Undoubtedly President Trump will get a “bounce” from his party’s convention. How large or how lasting remains to be seen.
The debates will now become the focus for those vital swing voters who are not yet fully decided or remain persuadable. Sadly, some of Joe Biden’s allies are trying to pave the way for him to duck the debates.
Let’s hope their efforts fall flat. The American people deserve to see the two men vying for the leadership of the free world aside-by-side, making their case directly to them.
CHARLIE GEROW is a Republican strategist and CEO of Quantum Communications. He a Democrat Mark Singel write opposite each other each week in PennLive. They can also be seen each Sunday morning at 8:30 on CBS 21\u2032s “Face the State.”
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