It appears that the Democrats’ fevered dreams are going to become a reality: they have replaced one old white man as president whom they alleged had a history of racist comments, self-dealing with foreign countries to benefit his family, and major cognitive issues with an older white man with a more clear history of racist comments, stronger evidence of self-dealing with foreign countries to benefit his family, and a much more severe case of cognitive decline.
What a win!
In all seriousness, this is why many people consider our political class to be so farcical.
I’ve read all your questions, emails, and comments about the 2020 election and rather than respond to them individually, on this Friday, I’ve laid out my ten biggest takeaways and thoughts from the election results so far.
Here we go:
1. We have to do a better job of counting votes for president and securing our elections.
Whatever your politics, the past four days of vote counting have made America look like a third-world country.
Our system for counting votes in many states is simply broken, especially when elections are close.
But we can and should fix this, and there’s a strong precedent we can do so.
In 2000, Florida was the laughingstock of the world after it took 37 days to determine who won the state’s election.
To their credit, the people of Florida resolved never to allow that to happen again. And they haven’t. In particular, of all our large states with competitive elections, Florida did the best job in the country of releasing their 2020 results. They announced their results within a few hours of the polls closing, and there was zero controversy involved in Trump’s three point win, a virtual landslide, in Florida.
Contrast that with the situations that currently exist in Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Arizona, Michigan and Wisconsin.
The longer it takes to tabulate results, and the more one-sided the voting counts become, the more people are going to believe the fix is in. That’s just natural. It’s why vote counting has to be rapid, transparent, and just.
I’ll leave it for the judges to analyze fraud claims, but in many legal cases, there’s a standard applied that requires not just avoiding impropriety, but avoiding the appearance of impropriety.
Can anyone say that still counting votes, almost all of which go to one side, four days after an election — or even longer as seems likely to be the case — instills confidence in our democracy?
Of course not.
At the absolute least, vote counting for this long instills a clear appearance of impropriety. We have to eliminate this by following Florida’s lead and ensuring that a situation like this can never happen again.
I don’t believe this is a partisan issue because the mess in Florida wasn’t partisan.
Our elections often crumble when they are close, and this was the closest election of my life.
2. Will the Supreme Court get involved in the election?
I don’t think so.
Because Chief Justice John Roberts has shown himself to be quite political, and I don’t think he views this election as worth expending his court’s political capital. I think he’ll work to avoid becoming entangled in this mess.
If the election was down to one state and there was clear fraud to examine, I think the Supreme Court might get involved because that one state could determine the election outcome, but I’m not sure we’ll have a Florida situation here — where one state determines the election.
Instead I think we’re going to have seven states where the election comes down to the slimmest of margins. And I think Trump is going to be behind in several of those states. Meaning he’d need to reverse the outcome in multiple states to become president.
Now, if Trump were to go on and win Georgia, North Carolina and Arizona, then I think the court might consider becoming involved in the Pennsylvania mess, but absent that occurring, I just don’t see the court weighing in in a substantial way.
Given how contentious the last two court appointments have been, I think Roberts will play the long game here. He can look at the court and see he has a strongly cemented conservative majority that is likely to be there, presuming decent health, for decades into the future.
Why rush into the fray of this battle when he can look at the results of the election and see, as will be discussed below, that Biden will have limited political ammunition or mandate upon his inauguration?
What’s more, if the court gets involved in a big way, and Biden still finds a way to win the election, then there may be even more of a push for an expanded number of justices.
I think the court is likely to sit this battle out.
3. Libertarian voters have to look themselves in the mirror and ask what the purpose of their vote is.
Look, I voted for the libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, in 2016. But I did that because I have the luxury of making a choice like this based on the fact that Tennessee isn’t a competitive state for president. I could send a message with my vote without actually harming the outcome in my state.
But that’s not the case everywhere.
And I think if you’re a rational adult, you need to pick your favored candidate in incredibly close elections.
Otherwise, you’re avoiding making a decision about who your president will actually be.
Libertarian voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada may well have cost President Trump the election by deciding not to pick between Trump and Biden. That’s working on the theory that around 75% of libertarians, which is probably low, would be more likely to support Republican policies over Democratic policies, if forced to make a choice between the two parties.
I understand the desire for a third party to exist — again, I’ve voted third party before — but if you’re in a competitive state, I think you are making a poor choice not to help select the president with your vote.
4. If he goes on to lose, what is the legacy of Donald Trump’s term in office?
His critics said Donald Trump would be an unmitigated disaster if he was elected president.
Yet assuming he loses this election, by an insanely narrow margin while increasing support among minority voters over what he received in 2016, what will he be leaving behind?
A country with a 6.9% unemployment rate that has weathered the biggest pandemic in 100 years. A new COVID vaccine that will be released early in 2021 and will represent the fastest vaccine ever created for a novel virus in human history. Three new Supreme Court justices and a remade federal court stocked with highly-qualified Republican appointees. Greater peace for Israel in the Middle East, the defeat of ISIS, more of our troops back home from never ending wars, and we saw no great danger from North Korea or Iran. Plus, he’s put China on notice that America will no longer be dominated by Chinese interests.
He reduced tax rates on businesses, making American companies more competitive internationally, spurring the greatest economy in American history.
Trust me, I understand that people don’t like his Tweets, but when you actually look at his record over four years in office, what can you point to that he caused that was truly bad?
I mean, if COVID doesn’t happen to hit in an election year — let’s say it hits in 2021 instead of 2020 — then Trump probably coasts to re-election on the greatest economy in American history. Even with COVID hitting, and the resulting mail-in ballot harvesting, he still appears to be on track to barely lose the election and to produce more votes than any Republican presidential nominee in history.
What’s more, the down ballot Republicans in the Senate and the House actually outperformed all fears too. At worst, it appears the Republicans will pick up House seats, and at worst, it appears we may have a 50-50 Senate. And to end up in a 50-50 Senate that would require Republican candidates to lose two special elections in January.
The Trump disaster that all of his critics alleged would happen never happened.
Heck, the Republican party didn’t even pay much of a price in the Senate or House for Trump, and they will be poised to have substantial gains, historically, in the 2022 midterms.
Sure, a pandemic hit and everyone wants to blame Trump for that because it helped their election prospects, but look at Europe. There are many different democratic leaders of European countries and all of them have as bad or worse COVID outcomes than our country.
I just don’t see how it’s Trump’s fault that COVID hit when it did.
And I don’t see how Trump can be accused of leaving office having done great harm to our country or his party.
I really don’t.
5. What will Joe Biden do in his first two years in office?
Biden will have just two years, probably, to be relevant in any way in office. And that might be giving him too much credit. He may not leave the White House for most of his first year in office. And I don’t see any way Biden runs again for office — he’d be 82 at his next inauguration — given he barely campaigned this year. That means the final two years of his presidency will be spent with everyone else angling to take his job.
We haven’t had a president enter office with no real prospect of running for reelection since…ever?
Which is why I think you have to consider this to be Biden’s second term already. He’s got two years to get things done, and then he’s overshadowed by everyone angling to replace him. (This is assuming that Biden is even healthy enough to finish his term, which I hope he is).
So what is Biden capable of actually doing in his first two years?
Not much, honestly.
He’s mostly a figurehead.
If Republicans win at least one of the Senate seats in Georgia, he won’t have a majority there. If Democrats win both, then he’d have a tiebreaking vote via Kamala Harris, but that would require that his entire party back his positions.
That would seem to take the idea of packing the court off the table.
Even if he could hold all fifty voters together in his Senate, does he want to begin his tenure with the most contentious move in American judicial history?
That seems unlikely. (Although we don’t know for sure because Biden still hasn’t been willing to tell us what his opinion is on this issue. Which is, frankly, an appalling failure of the American media.)
Worse than that for Biden, without hate for Donald Trump to unify his base, there’s likely to be a great deal of civil war among the far-left wing Democrat socialists ascendant on social media and the more moderate Democrats who still believe in capitalism.
Is Biden going to be able to bridge that divide and hold a fractious party together, or will they devolve into internecine combat? I think the latter is more likely than the former.
The most likely outcome of Biden’s first two years is likely to be gridlock.
6. What does Biden do about shutdowns?
This will be the most important decision Biden makes as president.
Partly the status of a vaccine will factor in here — when can it arrive and how capable of being widely distributed will it be when it arrives? — but Biden will also have to decide whether to support lockdowns.
Already Europe is beginning to lockdown again.
I think it’s fair to say that Trump will not attempt to lock us down between now and Inauguration Day, but come late January what will Biden do?
Will Biden support the idea of lockdowns? Will he offer any guidance at all to coronabro governors in Democratic states who may lockdown their communities even more than they already have? Will those Democratic governors begin to ease lockdowns because Trump is now beaten? There are a ton of issues at play here.
This will be the most consequential decision of a Biden administration, and I think it will override almost every other policy choice he makes in his first year in office.
The left wing of the Democratic party wants to shut down the country and provide massive payments to everyone while those lockdowns exist. I can tell you right now that another lockdown will be fought in a massive way by many small business owners, including me.
Lockdowns don’t save lives, and they destroy our economy. They are a failed policy to combat a virus that is not a significant threat to the vast majority of our country.
I want our kids in school. I want everything open. I want people all back to work.
What’s more, I’m not going to consent to being locked down again. I feel like there are many people like me out there. Donald Trump would not have attempted to lock us down again if he’d won. Will Biden? I hope not.
But this will be messy for Biden given the platform he ran on, his election emboldens the coronabros.
7. What happens to the Trump haters in the media and the media overall without Trump?
With Trump out of office — and Biden replacing him — what reason do MSNBC and CNN have to exist ? And most of their commentators as well? Trump was their Great Satan. If he’s not there, everyone turns off their televisions. Television ratings require conflict. But without Trump, most of these stations have nothing to fight.
Purely from a business perspective, MSNBC and CNN needed Trump to win.
Now that he’s lost, they’ve killed their golden goose laying golden eggs.
Their businesses are likely to collapse.
Given the rapid decline of the cable and satellite bundle, these networks were already facing massive structural difficulties in the years ahead, but the Trump boost over the past four years helped to cover up that business collapse.
But what now?
I think Fox News will be fine because they now have a villain in the Biden White House. Their ratings and audience will stay strong, but what happens to CNN and MSNBC? What happens to news in general? Heck, what happens to the New York Times and the Washington Post and the other arms of the media resistance? I think their businesses struggle mightily.
I’m going to write on this more in a longer column, but the biggest legacy, I believe, of the Trump presidency is that it killed the idea of impartial media. The New York Times is a great example of this. I’ve read the Times for years and enjoyed their coverage. Their coverage has become totally deranged as it has shifted from a general interest newspaper to a subscription-based business reliant upon around 1% of the American public to support them. This is an untenable position.
(And by the way, let me add this here: the Fox News decision to call Arizona for Biden was the single worst decision I saw made by any network. Joe Biden may end up winning Arizona, but the fact that we are now into Friday and the margin keeps declining makes that call incredibly suspect. Arizona is now much closer of a race than North Carolina. If you can’t call North Carolina yet, how can you call Arizona?)
8. What will the coronabros in sports media do now that Trump lost?
Today the SEC announced its conference basketball schedule. The SEC will play a full slate of conference games indoors with fans present.
Have you seen a single coronabro fight this happening or write a column arguing it’s unacceptable to take this risk?
The coronabros fought the idea of college football happening for months. Well, college football is played outside in the fall.
College basketball will be played indoors in the winter — with crowds present! — and with much higher virus counts now present, and these coronabros haven’t said a word to combat the idea of the season happening.
How can you explain that?
There are only two options: A) they now know they were wrong to argue against college football being played. But have you seen any of them write columns or Tweets apologizing for their anti-sports stance? I haven’t. or B) This was all political, and now that Trump has lost, they aren’t concerned about COVID’s danger for sports.
I’d like to see these guys held accountable for their opinions that it wasn’t safe to play sports, but so far I haven’t seen any accountability at all.
9. What does Trump want to do now?
Presuming he loses this election, what is Trump’s plan going forward?
Given how competitive this race was, he could certainly bide his time on the sidelines, found a new media outlet and prepare to run again in 2024.
If that was his goal, I’d advise him to spend the last two months of his time in office focusing 100% on the COVID vaccine. If he could deliver a vaccine by Inauguration Day, he’d be able to argue he officially beat COVID, but that was the reason he lost his re-election bid.
That would make him very viable in 2024, especially if Biden stumbles in his term in office.
If he decided to run, would any Republican be capable of beating Trump in the primaries in 2024? I don’t know. It’s a long time until 2024, and there are several questions at play here: will Trump still be healthy at 78 years old and be spoiling for another long campaign slog?
What Trump decides to do going forward will be the big wild card here.
10. What about OutKick? How does this impact you guys?
I believed, and still believe, Donald Trump was a better choice for president as I laid out in my column last Friday explaining why I was voting for him.
My opinion hasn’t changed on that front.
But if Joe Biden is elected president, I’ll wish him well. I’d like the president, regardless of party, to aid the overall quality of life of all people in this country. I think Trump, due to his economic policies, would have done that better than Biden.
But I don’t root against the president because I don’t root against America.
Now I may oppose some of the president’s decisions, vociferously even, but that’s normal. The only person you should agree with 100% of the time is yourself.
But I really don’t think the president matters when it comes to the success of our business.
I think we will thrive no matter what.
And that’s not just something I’m saying right now. It’s something I’ve been saying for months, all throughout the presidential campaign when people have asked this question.
Our audience isn’t going anywhere.
It’s been a wild one, but 2020 has cemented our connection with our audience more so than any year in OutKick’s history.
If anything, the OutKick audience is going to support us even more now than they have in the past because what we provide and stand for: the First Amendment, an honest full throated defense of American capitalism, a belief in American exceptionalism and the connective power of sports doesn’t exist anywhere else in the sports media today.
Yes, I would have liked to see Donald Trump win, but I’m already thinking about who the top contenders for election in 2024 will be and who I’ll support in that election.
I expect there will be twenty Republicans and twenty Democrats running for the presidency without an incumbent in office.
And that will be a battle worth following.
In fact, that race is already beginning.
But in the meantime, the OutKick race never stops. And I’ll still be here with you every day for years and years to come, decades and decades to come, hopefully.
I still have a ton of energy and a lot of battles to fight before I hang up the sword.
And so does OutKick.
Thanks for supporting us.