Last night I watched RNC Night One and, while not perfect, it certainly more policy driven and painted America as worth loving, worth fighting for and worth giving your life to protect. It appears that viewers we're more interested in what the GOP had to say, as well - as early ratings from last night show a dramatic increase over DNC viewership last week (just one rating - C- SPAN viewers):
This brings me to another point on Fox News. Last night, the RNC started during the middle of Tucker Carlson's show and they cut to the opening video - let that play for 6 minutes and then Tucker came back and continued his show. Kim Klacik appeared during the RNC, but on Fox News relegated her to the lower right hand corner without sound as Tucker finished up his show. Sean Hannity followed and Fox News stuck to the same format - having guests on like Lindsay Graham and Dan Bongino to talk about the RNC instead of. . . just airing the RNC. It was bizarre and they shouldn't do that again. I'm sure people love Dan Bongino, but . . . we can see him literally like 4-5 times a week on Hannity, let me watch Georgia Democratic State Representative, Vernon Jones, torch the Democrats instead.
Anyways, I digress. . . like I did last week, I'm going to run through five notable moments from last evening (certainly not the only five, but the five that struck me most):
1. Maximo Alvarez Won the Night.
Watch this video. Seriously, watch the entire thing:
This was very moving stuff. Better than any speech given at the DNC, by a wide margin.
Who is Maximo Alvarez? He is the founder of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors and he fled Cuba with his parents when the Castro regime assumed control of the Country. Alvarez put a face and experience to all of the warnings that Conservatives and classical liberals have been sending the last few years as young people have started cozying up to socialism:
“I’ve seen movements like this before. I’ve seen ideas like this before. I am here to tell you – we cannot let them take over our country. I heard the promises of Fidel Castro. And I can never forget all those who grew up around me, who looked like me, who suffered and starved and died because they believed those empty promises. They swallowed the communist poison pill.”
"My parents only wanted one person to decide my fate: me. Not some party member, not some government official, not some bureaucrat. In America, I would decide my own future."
Alvarez gave an immigrant's point of view on American Exceptionalism, a reminder to all those that are currently dead set on tearing the country down and/or denigrating its founding:
"I may be Cuban born, but I am 100-percent American. This is the greatest country in the world. I said this before. I gave away everything I have today, it would not equal 1 percent of what I was given when I came to this great country of ours: The gift of Freedom."
Alvarez finished his remarks with a clear challenge to the American voter, it is time to choose a path:
"Right now it is up to us to decide our fate and to choose freedom over oppression. . . You and I will decide. And here is what I’ve decided. My decision is very easy. I choose President Trump because I choose America."
His voice cracked several times through out the speech, it was moving, beautiful and, again, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU WATCH AND SHARE THAT VIDEO. It's just the best convention speech I've heard in a long, long, long time.
The only thing from the DNC that might compare was the young man with a stutter, who talked about how Joe Biden gave him advice to help him overcome his issue. I thought his video was very moving - but he's a white-male, which everyone in the DNC seems to think is the devil - so he doesn't count.
2. Kimberly Guilfoyle, WHY ARE WE YELLING!
Look, I said last night was not perfect. Kimberly Guilfoyle, former Fox News host and current girlfriend to Don Jr., gave a speech last night that was . . . ENTHUSIASTIC!!!! Which is great, but maybe her speech would've played better to a live crowd, rather than a TV audience - because to the viewer at home, it felt like she was going to come through your TV and choke you (some guys pay extra for that, tbh) if you didn't vote for Trump:
This was . . . caffeinated. Again, I think this is a Trump Rally speech, not one that was well-situated for a live TV broadcast in an empty room. And yes, the speech definitely had some Dwight Schrute vibes:
3. Herschel Walker laid out the case for moderates:
Herschel Walker is an all-time American athlete. He won the Heisman Trophy at the University of Georgia, played in the NFL, was part of a trade that basically built the Cowboys dynasty, was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, represented his country in the Olympics as a bobsledder and started doing Mixed Martial Arts at the age of 51.
He's a household name to people 30 and last night he gave a voice to many Americans who AGREE THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER (the concept, not the organization) and AGREE THAT POLICE BRUTALITY IS NOT A GOOD THING and AGREE THAT RACISM AND RACISTS ARE BAD, but also don't agree that kneeling for the anthem is the way to seek redress for that grievance:
Walker also let a lot of Americans know that, yeah. . . it's ok to view Trump's behavior as undesirable - but still vote for him. Those two things are NOT mutually exclusive - you can think Trump is kind of an asshole sometimes (he is) and says some really dumb things (he does) and still vote for him because he's the option we have (true, in my opinion):
4. Tim Scott is a Rising Star, we need more Tim Scott.
Last night, I think Tim Scott gave the key note speech of Night One of the RNC and I think introduced himself to the country in a big way.
How? I am willing to bet that most people in the country didn't know that Tim Scott exists. Why? Because the media doesn't like what Tim Scott represents: an African-American, conservative, southern, Republican, that embraces America and the progress we've made - rather than shitting on America for the mistakes of the past. He displayed all of that last night and shined as bright as anyone.
I have this weird feeling that Tim Scott educated many Americans last night on things that have happened in America, but that the media has strategically chosen not to cover, such as:
You don't hear these things on the news or read them in the paper. Why? You know why.
More than that, Scott illustrated the optimistic view of America. The version of America and Americans that I think most Americans believe exists - not one that needs to be gutted, burned down and looted into something unrecognizable, but an America that is a continual work in progress but is nevertheless the greatest country on earth:
Powerful stuff. It's also worth mentioning that, on police reform, Tim Scott drafted the Senate version of the bill and the Democrats filibustered the bill, not allowing it to come to the floor for even a debate. Why? Because they didn't want to allow Trump and Republicans to have a legislative win during an election year.
But . . Black Lives Matter, right?
5. Trump appeared a couple of times, was good.
This post is already very long, so I am going to keep this part short. Trump appeared a couple of times:
Once to discuss the COVID-19 response and another time to meet with hostages that his administration helped free from countries around the world.
Trump was good. He was measured. He was relatable. He mentioned China Virus two times. Most importantly, Trump didn't suck all of oxygen out of the room last night. He let others make the case for him. He didn't give the media NEW ammunition to take attention away from the convention and those who spoke beautifully on his behalf.
That is a good thing. The RNC had a good night. The GOP had a good night.
See you tomorrow for RNC Night Two.