On Tuesday, I will vote for Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
As a preliminary, I don’t believe in endorsements. I think all of you are smart enough to make your own decisions without needing to see what a newspaper, union, celebrity, athlete, or D-List opinionist like me is doing with his or her vote. The great thing about American democracy is all of our votes are equal. So I’m not telling you to vote either with me or against me. You should make your own decisions irrespective of what I say in this column.
But what I do believe in is authenticity.
For better or worse, I tell you every single day exactly what I think about a variety of issues. I don’t expect you all to agree with me on every one of those issues, but I do believe that the reason the OutKick audience is exploding across audio, video, and web is because there’s a deep and abiding desire in this country for people from all walks to life to say exactly what they believe and not apologize for their opinions.
Extreme media bias in this country is very real. Often it’s hidden under the cloak of “objective journalism.” At OutKick, we have a wide variety of opinions we publish every single day. I don’t agree with every opinion on this website. It would be impossible because we have so many opinions every day. But I am proud of the fact that OutKick represents the First Amendment wing of the First Amendment party.
I’ve never been more proud to own a media company than over this past year. I think many of the things we are arguing are very important. But like the country, OutKick has people voting for Joe Biden and people voting for Donald Trump, and people who simply won’t vote at all. I don’t believe any media entity should have people who agree on everything. In fact, I think that’s dangerous.
That’s why more so now than at any point in my life, I believe every single media member should address his or her audience and say exactly what they are doing with their own vote this year. I think authenticity matters, and I believe audiences should know what public figures who claim to be unbiased do when they enter the privacy of a voting booth. This is not a new position for me. I have shared my presidential votes publicly every year that I’ve been a public figure.
For those of you who are new to OutKick: here are my presidential votes since I became a public media figure in 2004:
2004: John Kerry
2008: Barack Obama
2012: Barack Obama
2016: Gary Johnson
2020: Donald Trump
I also voted for Al Gore in 2000 and worked on his political campaign as a college student.
For much of my adult life, I considered myself a Democrat, but in 2016 that began to change. In 2016, I wasn’t happy with the choices between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, so I voted for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. As a general rule, I have very many libertarian beliefs — I’m not a social justice warrior, but I also believe that adults, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, gay or straight, should be left to their own devices to pursue happiness as they see fit. I don’t care whom you marry. I don’t care whom you sleep with. I don’t care whom you worship. I believe you should have the freedom to make those choices.
I want the government telling me less, not more, about what I can and can’t do every single day.
My political beliefs are not new — if anything I believe the exact same things now for the most part that I did when I began voting for president in 2000 — it’s that the world around me has changed.
The Democratic party has moved in a massive way towards the far left wing over the past decade. They’ve embraced the idea of reparations, defunding the police, and of labeling our country systemically racist and unfair. I think all of these ideas, frankly, are madness.
And in the process I believe the Democratic Party, often fueled by a mob of blue checkmark brigade members on social media, has lost its connection with the regular people in this country. The Democratic Party used to be the party of average working people in this country, people like my mom and dad, who never made more than $50,000 a year in their careers. Now it has left those people behind.
Indeed, if you go back and look at Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, that would be a Republican platform today. In fact, 2020 Democrats on social media would call 2008 Barack Obama — who opposed gay marriage and believed in immigration reform — a homophobic racist.
I supported Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and I still believe he was a uniquely talented voice for our country. I don’t regret my votes for him at all. But I do think the lesson the Democratic Party took from Obama’s wins was the wrong one — they embraced identity politics as the guiding light to lead them to success in the years ahead. They did this, I believe, because Obama motivated black turnout like no politician before him. But Obama wasn’t a politician who focused on identity politics. His campaign was not laced with accusations of systemic inequality, and it didn’t embrace the idea that America was a corrupt and venal land filled with racist and evil people.
Obama believed in the innate goodness of the American people and his story, his rise to the highest office in the world, represented the true fruition of the American dream. If we could elect as president a black man from Hawaii, the son of an African immigrant, a man with no political lineage or particular inside track to success, then how could anyone argue that success was walled off to anyone based on their identity at birth?
Hillary Clinton wanted Obama’s voters, but she lacked his political gifts. She tried to roll up black support by arguing Trump was racist. It’s the same choice being made by Biden today. I fundamentally reject the idea that America is a racist country. In fact, I think America is the least racist country in the history of the world.
I don’t believe any other country could elect Barack Obama.
I don’t believe Donald Trump is racist. I wouldn’t be voting for him if I believed he was racist. I believe we have to stop accusing people we disagree with of being racist, sexist, homophobic or whatever other personal insult you want to apply. Beat people on the issues, not with insults.
Our politicians don’t talk about it enough, but do you know who the highest earning group of people in America are today? Asian men. If America’s a hopelessly racist country, how do Asian men make more money than anyone in the country today? And if America is so hopelessly racist, how do immigrants of all racial backgrounds risk death to enter our land and then, once here, begin making more money than native born Americans within a generation?
Lots of people talk about leaving America, but do you know how many actually leave?
Almost no one.
That’s because America is, and has been for a long time, the greatest country in the history of the world. We are not perfect, but we are the least flawed country to ever exist in the history of humanity.
Having said all this, ultimately the 2020 presidential campaign is not about the past. It’s about the future. These are the five issues that matter the most to me, and the more I have studied them over the past year, the more I’m convinced Donald Trump is on the right side of these five issues.
1. We need to end cancel culture and allow a robust marketplace of ideas to flourish on our social media platforms.
I abhor cancel culture and identity politics with every fiber of my being. I believe the combination of these two factions — which effectively rule social media — represents the biggest internal threat to America in my life.
We have to stop canceling people. Period. None of us should be defined by a single Tweet, a single Instagram post, a single Facebook thought jotted off in an emotional moment from our phones as we juggle countless responsibilities of work and home life.
I believe the vast majority of Americans of all races and ethnicities agree with me about cancel culture being wrong for our country, but unfortunately I also believe the vast majority of Americans live in terror that they might be canceled at any moment. That their comment might go viral and they might be attacked by an angry mob and left without a job or a way to support their family.
In writing this column stating I’m voting for Donald Trump as president, I will become the first member of the sports media employed by CBS, NBC, ESPN or Fox to make this public statement. That’s not because I’m the only Trump voter in sports media. It’s because everyone else is terrified of losing their jobs if they publicly support the president. That’s the kind of environment that cancel culture creates, a universe where people don’t even feel safe telling you how they’re voting for fear they could lose their jobs as a result.
If wealthy people in my industry are terrified to say how they’re voting, imagine how a guy or girl making an average, or below average living, might feel? This isn’t healthy for our country.
I believe in the basic decency of the American people, but I don’t believe in the basic decency of big tech companies increasingly ruling our digital town square. I believe they have manipulated our emotions and created a fundamentally artificial representation of the world. Twitter is not the real world. It’s a carnival funhouse mirror.
A robust First Amendment requires an uninhibited — and free — marketplace of ideas where everyone is able to say exactly what they believe in their private lives without fear of cancellation. We need wider and more substantial debates than the artificially circumscribed lanes of debate which are being constantly narrowed and limited by social media companies today.
We can’t cancel cancel culture without expanding the parameters of our national debate and ending the rig job that exists on social media today. The attempt to suppress the New York Post’s Hunter Biden story should terrify every American regardless of your politics. We can’t allow big tech to pick sides, and it’s clear to me they have picked a side.
I believe Donald Trump is an often inarticulate voice in the fight against cancel culture — yes, his Tweets sometimes drive me crazy too — but I believe he’s ultimately on the right side of this issue. If Joe Biden wins, I think cancel culture will get worse, not better.
2. We can’t shut down the country’s economy again because of COVID.
I believe we have to learn to live with COVID, not curl up in the fetal position in our basements and shut down everything in the country.
COVID isn’t going away until we have herd immunity or a vaccine. That will likely take at least six or eight more months to occur. We can’t shut down our economy while we wait to get to this point.
The data is clear: we should have never locked down our schools and we should have never shut down our economy in the first place.
Back in March when everyone was uncertain about all the COVID impacts, a couple of weeks of shutdown may have been excusable. But since that time, it’s completely inexcusable.
The data doesn’t lie.
According to the CDC, the death rate for those people infected with COVID is minuscule. Most young people are under greater threat from the seasonal flu. Most healthy people under seventy having nothing to fear from this virus.
We need to protect the most vulnerable and aged people in nursing homes, but the rest of us need to be back to work, school, and play. We can’t live our lives in perpetual fear of death. I may die tomorrow. If that happens, I’ll be fine with that. Because I never lived a day ruled by fear in my life. The moment you allow fear to overtake you, I don’t believe life is worth living any more.
I believe Joe Biden’s entire 2020 campaign, when you boil it down, has been based on COVID fear porn. That’s it, the entire thing.
If COVID doesn’t arrive in our country, Trump would have cruised to a 2020 election win. He’d have had the greatest economy in the world. He’d have even more black and Hispanic support. Joe Biden would have lost, and I don’t believe the electoral college would have been close.
But then along came COVID.
The president’s response, like every leader’s response around the world, was flawed. China lied, the WHO failed us, and American and European democracies continue to bear the brunt of China’s dishonesty and dereliction. While America has had many struggles, our national COVID death rate, per capita, is lower than many European democracies.
But the media’s maniacal and dishonest focus on cases and deaths with COVID, not of COVID, have completely obscured the disastrous failures of our national shutdown, a shutdown which endures in many parts of our country. The lasting impact of the shutdown is going to be more severe for most people in this country than the lasting impact of COVID.
We’ve made the cure worse than the disease.
We absolutely, positively cannot shutdown this economy again.
I’ve fought as hard as I possibly can for sports to be played this summer and fall because there is no logical reason to keep sports from playing. It’s completely insane that LA Dodger fans can’t drive to Dodger Stadium in LA to watch a game in person, but they can drive to LAX, board a plane flight to Dallas and go watch the Dodgers play in Texas.
That’s completely nonsensical.
The South has had the best response to this virus in the country: balance out risk, but keep the economy open.
I believe if Joe Biden is elected, there is a good chance he will try and shut down this country again.
On this issue alone, I’d be willing to make my presidential choice this year, but the COVID issue just strengthens my resolve to support Trump.
3. I believe in confronting China as aggressively as possible.
Donald Trump is the most aggressive confronter of China in my lifetime. That doesn’t mean he’s perfect — I actually wish he was more combative in standing up to China — but he’s far more aggressive than anyone else in my life.
We are in the middle of a new cold war, and most Americans still haven’t realized it.
There’s a true battle over who will dominate the 21st century around the globe. Will it be China, with their lack of basic human rights, their trampling of free speech values, and their derogation of freedom of religion and the free exchange of ideas on the internet, or will it be America that dominates the 21st century?
Make no mistake, China is actively using American institutions like the NBA to try and tear down our American cultural systems founded on capitalism and free expression of ideas. What’s more, China is attempting to spread Chinese values around the world. They’re no longer content to merely suppress their own people. They want to suppress the world.
In far too many cases, Democrats have bent to China’s will.
We need to confront China like we confronted Russia during the Cold War.
We need to break China and send the message to the rest of the world that their communism is not the route to prosperity and free thought. It hinders rather than expands world enlightenment.
I believe Donald Trump will stand up to China more than Joe Biden will.
If you doubt me, consider this: if Trump loses, there will be parties in the street in Iran and in China because China and Iran want the president to lose.
If America’s greatest enemies — and the greatest enemies of freedom in the world — cheer a president’s defeat, how is that a good thing?
Newsflash, it isn’t.
4. I believe in keeping nine justices on the Supreme Court.
I can’t support Joe Biden because Kamala Harris was part of the worst moment in American politics in my lifetime: the 2018 Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. Harris, who was one of the leaders of the Senate Democrats in those hearings, embarrassed herself and her country with the histrionic performances she put forth during those hearings.
The fact that grown adults quizzed a potential Supreme Court justice about his high school yearbook was a low point for Senate discourse in the 21st century.
Even today, neither Joe Biden nor Kamala Harris have been willing to answer whether they support the radical idea of packing the court with new justices in the event they are elected.
If the Democrats decide to add justices, then it won’t end there. Eventually Republicans will take back the Senate and the White House, and they will add their own justices. This threatens to turn the Supreme Court into a kangaroo court. Eventually we might have 25 justices, an unwieldly and impossible court to manage.
I’m not going to agree with all of the decisions rendered by Justice Gorsuch, Justice Kavanaugh, or Justice Coney Barrett, but all three of these choices were eminently reasonable Supreme Court nominees. I think they’ll do a fine job.
If Joe Biden wins this election and a justice dies or resigns from the court, I’ll support Biden’s right to pick a justice of his own choosing.
But we have to stop this ridiculous idea of packing the court.
I believe Joe Biden, who I think is a good and decent man and likely agrees with me that court packing is an awful idea, will be unable to stand up to the rabid ideologues on the left wing of his party on this issue. Frankly, I’m not sure he’s healthy enough to complete a full term in office, and I believe Kamala Harris is likely to direct many of the decisions made by his administration.
I think that will be very bad for our country.
Heck, the fact that Joe Biden hasn’t even been forced to give his own opinion on court packing is a fundamental failure of our media.
5. I believe in American exceptionalism and a capitalistic democracy, and I support our police and our military absolutely.
I believe America is the greatest force for good that has ever existed in world history. I believe in Western Civilization. I believe in equality before the law, in the brilliance of our founders, and in the importance of upholding the values they brought to bear in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.
I’m tired of seeing politicians apologize for America. Even worse than that, I’m tired of seeing police officers attacked on American streets for seeking to preserve law and order and American politicians excusing looting and violence.
It makes me sick to my stomach that the rates of murder and shooting have skyrocketed this year in most of our big cities. Because we’ve taken away the ability of police to do their jobs, the result is more deaths than we’ve seen in many years.
I’m fed up with media dishonesty, with an unwillingness to report facts that countervail the narrative that this country is evil and racist and dishonest and filled with moral turpitude.
I will support whomever is elected president in 2020, and I will root for that president to do well no matter whether I vote for him or not.
But ultimately I believe Donald Trump is the best option to make America even better than it is today.
I don’t expect all of you reading this to agree with me, but I believe it remains my obligation as a media member with a large audience on audio, video, and social media to be as 100% honest with you as I can every single day.
Which is why I’m letting you know that, come Tuesday, I will be voting for Donald Trump in 2020.