Moments from the Republican National Convention’s first night

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The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday evening with a diverse array of speakers and stories, each of whom made their own unique contributions to the party ahead of a crucial election in which the GOP that aims to build on President Donald Trump’s policy successes.

The RNC event kicked off with a prayer from Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, in which he recognized both parties and the importance of preserving one of our country’s most cherished rights: Freedom of religion.

“Let us pray. And pray we must, as grateful citizens of a country we boldly claim to be one nation under God,” he said. “Pray we must, praising the Lord for a country where freedom of religion is so cherished.”

Invoking Americans suffering from COVID-19 and “our troubled cities and the police who guard them,” he went on to pray for “our men and women in uniform” and the unborn.

He also prayed for “our elders in nursing care and hospice,” “our immigrants and refugees,” and “those lives threatened by religious persecution throughout the world, or by plague, hunger, drugs, human trafficking or war.”

Moving into the speakers, one major theme that became evident as the evening wore on is this: The GOP and the president are making a major push for a larger slice of the black vote.

Kim Klacik, who is running for the seat long held by the late Elijah Cummings in Baltimore and whose recent campaign video featuring her in a stunning red dress and heels showcasing dilapidated parts of the Democrat-run district, immediately made the distinction between her and her rival: “The Democrats have controlled my city, Charm City, for over 50 years and they have run this beautiful place into the ground. Abandoned buildings, liquor stores on every corner, drug addicts and guns on the street — that is now the norm in many neighborhoods.”

NFL great Hershel Walker, who has known President Trump, recounted some of his experiences with him and spoke to his character. “I take it as a personal insult that people would think I would have a 37-year friendship with a racist,” Walker noted. “Growing up in the Deep South, I have seen racism up close. I know what it is. And it isn’t Donald Trump.”

Lifelong Democrat in the Georgia General Assembly, Vernon Jones, was sharp, focused, and adamant that Democrats have been taking the black vote for granted for far too long.

“You might wonder what a lifelong Democrat is doing speaking at the Republican National Convention, and that’s a fair question,” Jones said. “And here’s your answer. The Democratic Party does not want black people to leave their mental plantation.”

And Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina gave a powerful speech as well, speaking about how his grandfather, who would have been 99 years old this week, “suffered the indignity” of racism throughout most of his life.

“Yet, he lived long enough to see his grandson become the first African-American to be elected to both the United States House and the United States Senate,” he said. “Our family went from cotton to Congress in one lifetime.”

At one point, the convention shifted to a session President Trump held with some freed hostages. He noted that his administration has managed to bring home some 50 Americans that were being held in 22 countries.

There were a number of other dynamic and persuasive speakers as well, including several powerful women like Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

“Joe Biden and the Democrats are still blaming America first,” she said. “Donald Trump has always put America first, and he has earned four more years as president.”

Meanwhile, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel noted how Democrats started their convention last week “with Eva Longoria, an actress who played a housewife on TV.”

“Well, I’m actually a real housewife and a mom from Michigan with two wonderful kids in public school who happens to be only the second woman in 164 years to run the Republican Party,” she added. “Unlike Joe Biden, President Trump didn’t choose me because I’m a woman. He chose me because I’m the best person for the job.”

Mark and Patty McCloskey, the St. Louis couple who were forced to defend their home with firearms from a Black Lives Matter mob after they broke into their gated community, hit on the theme of ‘law and order’ and the constant rioting around the country in Democrat-run cities.

“What happened to us could have just as easily happened to you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country, and that’s what we want to speak to you about tonight,” Patty McCloskey said.   

“Whether it’s the defunding of police, ending cash bail so criminals can be released back out on the streets the same day to riot again, or encouraging chaos and anarchy on our streets, it seems as if the Democrats no longer view the government’s job as protecting honest citizens from criminals,” Mark McCloskey added.

Some staunch congressional allies of the president were also included in the speaker lineup. Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida was pithy in assailing Biden’s apparent cognitive decline and likelihood that his presidency would be hijacked by the far Left.

“Settle for Biden, that’s the hashtag by AOC and the socialists,” he said, a reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. “The woketopians will settle for Biden because they will make him an extra in a movie written, produced, and directed by others.

“It’s a horror film, really. [Democrats] will disarm you, empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite MS-13 to live next door,” he added.

All in all, the first night of the RNC seemed effective in reaching some fence-sitting Americans as well as long-time Democrat voters.

One Ohio caller into C-SPAN who claimed he was a lifelong Democrat said he is switching parties and will vote for Republicans in November.

“I am definitely changing my vote to Republican,” he said. When asked why the caller noted: “It was the heartfelt way they came across to the American people.”

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Jon Dougherty

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