I was a skeptic.

Having attended conventions since 2000, I always thought the Democrats brought better production values to the quadrennial pageants than the GOP. Starting from behind, with a backstage skill set inferior to the lefty Hollywood producers and this year pressed by changing circumstances brought about by the virus, I just expected a creaky, clunky series of wooden speeches.

Was I ever wrong.

No numbers yet on total viewers, but Monday night’s Republican National Convention was a masterpiece of messaging. If past is prologue, President Trump will continue his march and add to his momentum over the next three nights this week after sustaining no damage through four days of Democrat dog-piling last week. Trump and his team smartly took on the Democratic charges that he mishandled the virus, nursed extremism and is a racist. It was a full-throated, hardball defense of the Trump record, and it came in unexpected ways from unexpected voices with unexpected passion and success.

Different viewers will count different segments as the strongest segments. Trump meeting with six of the hostages he has brought home while in office was a brilliant piece of messaging, especially to the hostages who remain captive around the world and their families. Americans of both parties have to applaud seeing their country commit to leaving no American behind.

The eloquence of Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Georgia football legend Herschel Walker on race in America and Trump’s record specifically as a man without racist intent were remarkable viewing. Scott, a man of deep, sincere faith, had to make Democrats wonder whether their grip on the Black vote slipped a bit last night. The passion of Maximo Alvarez and his emotional warnings about the dangers of socialism shattered myths spun by the Democratic Party last week.

It was hard to watch Andrew Pollack recall in detail the slaughter of his daughter, Meadow, and so many others at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018 by a killer who local authorities had vainly hoped would go away despite his threats and menacing behavior over years. But Pollack spoke to Americans who wonder about the ability of local governments to secure their towns and cities, a promise again being broken in Kenosha, Wis. I’d never heard Pollack speak before, and now I’ll never forget him.

The always-noble Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) never fails to inspire when he speaks of the left-wing nut who almost killed him and others in the GOP congressional delegation three years ago during a softball practice in June 2017. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) spoke to Trump’s ability to empathize with those who grieve, an observation shared by Pollack and many of the returned hostages.

The videos, narrated by the estimable Jon Voight, made powerful points about the Democrats’ lurch to the left compared, crucially, to the “Promises made — Promises kept” record of the president. When former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley reached back to the 1984 GOP convention that renominated President Ronald Reagan and tore a page from her legendary predecessor Jeane Kirkpatrick on the “blame America first” Democrats, the effect was uplifting: The GOP hadn’t changed its national security policies, no matter what the Never Trumpers repeat again and again and again. They are still summed up in the phrase, “Peace through strength.”

It will be hard to maintain this level of production. But no matter how a hostile cable-news media crowds its panels of commentators with anti-Trump types, the success of last night’s programming was undeniable. The people addicted to the left-wing media bubble cannot see it.

No matter. Trump knows television, and last night that showed.

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