Kyle Peterson is watching the Republican National Convention so you don’t have to, and he noticed …
Some of the strongest rhetoric at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday didn’t come from famous politicians or even Melania Trump. It came from regular people like Ryan Holets, an Albuquerque, N.M., police officer. Three years ago, he was called to duty at a gas station and found a pregnant woman preparing to shoot heroin.
The homeless addict, Crystal, “confided that she loved her unborn baby” and wanted to find an adoptive family, as Mr. Holets recounted in a video broadcast in prime time. “God showed me exactly what I had to do: Without hesitation, I told her that my family would welcome her baby.” That girl, Hope, is now 2 years old. Mr. Holets is “enormously grateful to the president for his leadership” in fighting the opioid crisis, he said. “Drug overdose deaths decreased in 2018 for the first time in 30 years.”
Jason Joyce, a lobster fisherman from Maine’s Second Congressional District (whose one Electoral College vote went to President Trump in 2016, the first time ever that the state’s electors split), praised Mr. Trump for brokering “a deal to end European Union tariffs of 8% on Maine live lobsters and up to 20% on Maine lobster products.” If Joe Biden is elected, Mr. Joyce said, “he’ll be controlled by the environmental extremists.”
Three featured Americans hailed from Wisconsin (10 electors, which Mr. Trump won by 22,748 votes). John Peterson, from Wausau, said that his metal-fabrication company “scratched” and “clawed” to hang on through the Obama-Biden years, but it’s thriving under President Trump. “When I hear that Joe Biden is ready to raise taxes, crush us with regulations and weaken our international trade position, I shudder,” Mr. Peterson said. “We simply cannot endure a Biden-induced recession.”
Sarah Hughes said that her 8-year-old son Jack “would have slipped through the cracks in public schools.” The family applied for a voucher through Wisconsin’s school-choice program. “Having the option to go to a school that fits him,” Ms. Hughes said, “has been a real game-changer for us.”
Move next door to Minnesota (10 electors, which Mr. Trump lost in 2016 by a mere 44,765 votes). The state’s Iron Range, with its taconite ore mines, is historically Democratic. When Republicans took the Eighth District congressional seat in 2018, it was only the second GOP victory there in 70 years. “I am a lifelong Democrat,” said Robert Vlaisavljevich, the mayor of Eveleth, population 3,500. But under President Trump, the region “is roaring back to life.” The risk, Mr. Vlaisavljevich said, is the new Democratic agenda: “Their so-called Green New Deal is a job-killing disgrace, dreamt up by people who don’t live in the real world.”
Fact-checkers can perhaps punch some holes in the political details of these stories. China is a huge market for lobster, but thanks to Mr. Trump’s trade escalations, U.S. exports have been tagged with a 30% retaliatory tariff. This has given Maine’s competitors in Canada a serious advantage. Steel tariffs might aid Minnesota’s Iron Range, but they’re a tax on millions of other Americans who buy or use the metal.
That said, as a matter of persuasion, it was a Wisconsinite, a Minnesotan and a Mainer making the case to fellow potential swing voters that Mr. Trump is the better choice. At the Democratic convention last week, they had John Legend, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Billie Eilish. Republicans don’t have that, but they do have a cop, a metalworker and a small-town mayor. Which sounds more likely to convince the Rust Belt?