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Five takeaways from the first night of the Republican National Convention

There’s no party unity. The “Never Trump” crowd promised to cause trouble on the convention floor, and that they did. Demanding a roll-call vote on rules that will pave the way for Trump’s nomination, the Trump opponents drowned out the shouts of the billionaire’s supporters. The chaos on the floor drove the head of the party’s rules committee, Rep. Steve Womack of Arkansas, to leave the podium – leaving everyone in the arena wondering what would happen next. What happened next was a second, equally chaotic vote on the rules, and a walkout by the Iowa and Colorado delegations. Add it all up, and it was the worst possible way for the Republican convention to begin.

Donald Trump can give a short, on-point speech. He did it in introducing his wife, Melania Trump, and it came as something of a shock after months of long, rambling but highly entertaining diatribes from the presumptive presidential nominee. What’s more, Melania Trump did a good job defending her husband as a good man. But of course, this was after Trump interrupted his own convention with an unexpected appearance on Fox News, where he bashed Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a fellow Republican, thereby once again proving Takeaway One, that there’s no party unity.

It’s all about anger. One after another, speakers took to the stage bearing a grievance. In some cases, it was personal, as Trump supporters talked about loved ones lost in war or at the hands of undocumented immigrants. But in all cases it was political, as everyday Americans and B-list entertainers and myriad politicians all delivered arguments that America is becoming a sad and dangerous place that only someone as decisive as Donald Trump can fix. The question is, are undecided voters as angry as the speakers at this Trump convention? And can speakers like this make enough voters angry enough to vote for Donald Trump?

Something’s missing. More specifically, several someones are missing: two former presidents named Bush and former presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney opted not to attend the Trump coronation for one reason or another. The reality of all that came clear during the convention’s evening program, which featured B-list celebrities like Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” and Scott Baio of “Charles in Charge,” as well as a long, blow-by-blow account of the Benghazi attack by two survivors. No matter your politics, it wasn’t compelling television. And it’s likely to continue with more B-list speakers later in the convention.

Rudy rocks: Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani gave the most impassioned speech of the night. Liberal pundits mocked it, saying it looked like Rudy’s head was about to explode, but Rudy captured the room with his impassioned defense of Donald Trump’s character and his warning that radical Islam is America’s foremost enemy. Hence continues the mysterious political career of Giuliani, who has big moments like this, yet who seemed to retreat from the campaign trail when he ran for the U.S. Senate and president.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com

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