As the gavel drops to begin the Republican National Convention in Cleveland tomorrow, the party will be focused on two goals: reintroducing Donald Trump as someone the country could imagine in the Oval Office during dangerous times, and healing the leftover wounds of a brutal primary season.

"The convention's coming at a good time for us to turn the page," a hopeful Reince Priebus, the party's chairman, said after spending the pre-convention week snuffing out a 'Never Trump' revolt among a rebellious group of party rulemakers.

Modern conventions are political infomercials, and the four-day gathering in Cleveland will aim to present Trump as a more substantive and compassionate figure than the bombastic, impulsive showman who vanquished 16 rivals to claim the nomination. The incendiary rhetoric that his supporters see as truth-telling has alienated crucial swaths of the general electorate, especially women and minorities.

"He is a likable person," Priebus said.

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Officially introducing an uncharacteristically conventional running mate, Trump appeared in New York with Indiana Governor Mike Pence for the first time as a ticket. Trump gave a rambling speech that was mostly about himself.

While Trump called Pence "a man who I truly think will be outstanding in every way," he also acknowledged that one of his reasons for picking him was "party unity".

Cleveland is tense with security concerns and fears that street protests could turn into riots.

Trump will formally accept the party's presidential nomination on Friday facing big hurdles. He is behind in most polls, both in battleground states and nationally.