Through a series of articles we call The State, the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Advocacy and Political Affairs team is providing analysis related to "the state of" various aspects of the 2020 campaign season, including the race for the White House and key elections around the country.
Randy Dwyer: The third evening of the Republican Convention was dedicated to delivering core messages to the conservative base. Labeled as “Land of Heroes,” it was a showcase for “honoring those heroes who have strived, achieved, and sacrificed on behalf of their fellow countrymen and women” and who come “from all walks of life,” per the campaign’s website. Like the previous evenings, it featured a continuous stream of speakers telling their stories and explaining why they are supporting Trump.
Speakers throughout the night presented a tightly wrapped series of reasons why the Trump/Pence team is the best choice and why the Biden/Harris team won’t measure up.
Several African Americans took the stage in support of the Republican ticket, including Clarence Henderson, a 1960s civil-rights activist and Burgess Owens, congressional candidate in Utah and former NFL All-Pro.
The evening also included second lady Karen Pence and was capped with Vice President Pence’s acceptance speech from Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland.
Aside from Vice President Pence’s acceptance speech, the standout moment for me was given by former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell, who said Trump has strengthened America’s foreign policy positions
Mike Sistak: The contrasts between Trump and Biden are certainly being clearly drawn by the speakers over the past few nights. The base of GOP voters and the base of Biden supporters are united for their candidate. So, the question becomes, who do the small slide of undecided voters, only 10-12% of the electorate by most estimates, chose to support? Does the messaging from the GOP effectively draw in suburban and working-class voters, who the president needs the most to return to his column?
With just 68 days until Election Day, (a relatively short) time will tell.
Cody Lyon: For me, the third night of the Republican convention was highlighted by a member of Congress, Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, and a candidate for Congress from North Carolina, Madison Cawthorn. Their speeches showcased heroism and idealism as key elements in achieving the American dream and seizing opportunities.
Rep. Crenshaw shared a story of sacrifice he witnessed during his active duty in Afghanistan. He paralleled his military service with the heroism he sees in everyday Americans in spite of the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and civic unrest.
Cawthorn, who was partially paralyzed in a 2014 car accident, spoke about finding solutions and winning the policy arguments that have defined Republicans for decades. Toward the end of his remarks, he lifted himself out of his wheelchair and onto a walker as he said, “…for our republic, for which I stand.” It was a moving moment.
Both Crenshaw and Cawthorn have truly inspiring messages that highlight the best of what the Republican National Convention is showing: humanity.
On the final night of the Republican convention, President Trump takes center stage to lay out his vision and goals for a second term.
Cody Lyon is AFBF’s managing director of advocacy and political affairs.
Randy Dwyer is AFBF’s director of advocacy & grassroots development.
Michael Sistak is AFBF’s director of grassroots program development.