During the first year of the Trump administration, Steve Bannon kept a whiteboard in his office where he tracked “kept promises.”

Bannon may be occupied now, but expect Trump’s record on his major pledges to be one of three planks during this week’s Republican Convention. Most likely, the other two planks will be "Law and Order" and "America Rising Again" with a side order of "Tough On China."

On Friday, President Trump was already tearing into the “grim” picture of America that the Democrats painted last week, especially after Vice President Biden’s speech about light and darkness. How the man who delivered an “American Carnage” inaugural can complain about grim pictures is another story, but the grumbling – as it often is with Trump – gives a hint to what Republicans have in store.

From a conservative and center-right perspective, Trump has delivered on judges, taxes and until this past spring, the economy generally. He’s started no new wars and laid the groundwork for bringing more troops home.

To those rooting for the strongest possible Democratic convention, it was disappointing it neither understood the current economic pain nor propose a concrete plan for reviving employment. People in a crisis want more than just to hear about the light, they need a real reason to hope it will touch their lives. Also unaddressed was the growing perception and reality across America that crime is on the rise.

How the protest movement that bled into riots in various cities remains an open question. Mayors DeBlasio, Lightfoot, Wheeler, Durkin or Frey are not at the top of the ticket, but for the way a growing number of Americans see the plight of our cities, they might as well be. As his own associates continue to be indicted, (and he himself having been impeached), Trump seems an odd avatar for the rule of law. But these are odd times.

Scarcely mentioned by Democrats, China is America’s greatest geopolitical rival. The Russians may be troublemakers, but they neither hold the lien to our economy nor meaningfully compete with us for any global markets. Trump is sure to make an issue of standing up to China where others didn’t.

This is without getting into the origins of COVID-19.

Last week’s convention was about various things, tone, unity and inclusion, but mainly it was about competence. In delivering his keynote address, Biden passed the test. A half-dozen likely attacks against Biden’s cognitive ability, folksy manner and even his prodigal son, Hunter, who appeared in a clip, were proactively blunted by a Democrat convention program that anticipated it.

It is safe to guess that the Republican convention this week will be less “feel good.” If it charts a course to a post-quarantine America with a message to working families that things will soon get better, that will matter more than the gauzy feelings the Democrats display.

Expect a range of speakers from the inspiring to the polarizing. Alice Marie Johnson, whose excessive sentence for a non-violent crime Trump commuted two years ago, will highlight criminal justice reform – a bipartisan challenge which the president has begun to address with the First Step Act that allows for more sentences like Johnson’s to be reviewed.

The parents of American humanitarian worker Karla Mueller will likely express appreciation for eliminating her captor and killer, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi (whom the Washington Post bizarrely called “an austere religious scholar” in their obituary of him).

There are the McCloskeys, the St. Louis couple who brandished an M4 and what looked like a derringer at protesters outside their home. Featuring them and Covington, Kentucky high school student Nick Sandman, who successfully sued both the Post and CNN, will be a deliberate push-back against political correctness that more than half of all Americans consider a muzzle.

Since it was the now-exiled Bannon who placed the women who accused Bill Clinton of rape in the front row of the 2016 debate, it is unlikely that Biden accuser Tara Reid takes the stage.

Each night will have a nominal theme. Promise, opportunity, heroes and greatness all sound nice, if vague. The real message will be crisper, and I bet we'll hear it more than once: the Democrats don’t care about you or me, all they care about is destroying Trump and implementing their socialist agenda.

The broad-brush polemics, Republicans calling Democrats extremists and Democrats calling Republicans autocrats, will cancel each other out and when the week ends, the remaining undecided voters will be left with a simple question:

Who better understands my problems and is better equipped to fix them?

True blue Minnesota (which has not voted for a Republican for president since Nixon in 1972) is now in play, and the margin between the contenders in most battleground states is nail-bitingly close. If nothing else, buckle your seat belts and prepare for a week of high-octane showmanship.

Sam Patten is a recovering political consultant who was raised in Knox County and worked for Maine’s last three Republican senators.