The Republican Party is putting on a better show than the Democrats did last week. If the opening night programming is a glimpse into what the rest of the convention’s nights will look like, we can all breathe easy. The RNC and the Trump campaign have figured out how to do a virtual convention. Monday night with the Republicans made the Democrat convention look like amateurs.

There was no Brady Bunch-style Zoom screens or glitches in internet connections. It really shouldn’t be a surprise, though, given President Trump’s experience in the entertainment business and his tendency to turn appearances into well-oiled productions. The speakers included Nikki Haley, Donald Trump, Jr., Kimberly Guilfoyle, Rep. Steve Scalise, Rep. Jim Jordan, and Sen. Tim Scott. The speakers that were the most effective, though, were the regular people, not the public officials or the public figures. Regular Americans delivered their own personal stories and experiences with President Trump.

One of the most effective speakers was Maximo Alvarez, President, and owner of Sunshine Gasoline Distributors, Inc. in Miami, Florida. He is a Cuban-American Trump supporter. He delivered one of the most compelling speeches of the night because he gave his personal story and warning against socialism and communism. His parents escaped Spain and went to Cuba, only to have to flee Cuba for America. Maximo was born in Cuba and was 13 when he came to America. He said he was born in Cuba but he is 100% American. He said that today’s Democrats remind him of Communist Cuba.

“I’m speaking to you today because I’ve seen people like this before. I’ve seen movements like this before. I’ve seen ideas like this before and I’m here to tell you, we cannot let them take over our country,” Mr. Alvarez said.

“I heard the promises of Fidel Castro. And I can never forget all those who grew up around me, who looked like me, who could have been me, who suffered and starved and died because they believed those empty promises,” he added.

Alvarez is an emotional speaker, often with a catch in his voice. He is determined to oppose Joe Biden and the radical elements in the Democrat Party. “Those false promises — spread the wealth, defund the police, trust a socialist state more than your family and community — don’t sound radical to my ears. They sound familiar.”

He sees Democrat-run cities in chaos and warned that the scenes are all too familiar to him.

“The country I was born in is gone, totally destroyed,” Alvarez said. “When I watch the news in Seattle and Chicago and Portland, when I see history being rewritten, when I hear the promises—I hear echoes of a former life I never wanted to hear again. I see shadows I thought I had outrun.”

“President Trump is fighting the forces of anarchy and communism. And now he will continue to do just that. And what about his opponent and the rest of the DC swamp? I have no doubt they will hand the country over to those dangerous forces,” Alvarez said.

The RNC was smart to lead off the convention with so many personal stories interwoven with speeches delivered by public figures. For example, one speaker expressed her gratitude to Trump for pushing the Right to Try legislation that allows terminal patients the opportunity to participate in drug trials. She is fighting terminal bone cancer. There was a small business owner from Billings, Montana who thanked the Trump administration for attention to helping businesses to stay afloat during coronavirus lockdowns. Her coffee shop has been spared thanks to the business loan she was able to secure.

And, the RNC is playing offense, not defense, in addressing the everyday criticisms of Trump by the left, the media, and Never Trumpers. NFL great Herschel Walker spoke of his 35 year long personal friendship with Trump. He was able to dispute the charges of racism against Trump. Nikki Haley addressed her own experiences with racism growing up as a brown girl among blacks and whites. Both chose to speak with positive tones and words instead of, say, how the Democrats addressed their claims of Trump’s racism.

A fun part of the evening was checking in with Twitter and reading tweets from reporters and others in the media. So many made sure to do at least one tweet describing a speech as “dark”, which was ironic, given how dark the DNC convention was last week. It was in sharp contrast to the Republican convention which was deliberately positive and uplifting. The RNC clearly saw the tone of the Democrats’ convention and was determined to go the opposite way. Optimism comes more naturally for Republicans anyway. Republicans always have a message of the freedom to pursue the American Dream regardless of your skin color or life’s circumstances.

President Trump taped two group conversations with regular people in the White House. I saw several journos snark about Trump sullying up the White House for political gain. One group of people were essential workers and the other was a group of Americans that had been held hostage overseas. Trump has brought home 50 Americans held hostage overseas, by the way. The real people’s speeches and conversations will appeal to Independents and suburban women who may not have heard personal testimonies of others about Trump. Let’s hope the focus stays on Trump’s accomplishments and good policies. Republicans can offer real results while Team Biden and the Democrats are busy talking down the president and Republicans instead of offering real solutions for the future.