It’s Friday, rejoice!
The Friday mailbag is here to take you away from work or school.
Thanks a ton for your support with Outkick. We just set another all time ratings record for Fox Sports Radio in the morning and we are up an incredible 57% this November over last year’s November.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) December 12, 2019
You can always email me your mailbag questions, but of late I’ve been using Twitter to easily sift through a bunch of questions and pick good ones as well.
With that in mind, here’s a mix of Twitter questions and emailed questions.
“The Brexit vote occurred June 23, 2016. Four and a half months later Trump was elected President and the Republicans took over the House (and remained in control of the Senate). Last night, results are showing conservatives overwhelmingly won in the UK and the left in Britain are losing their minds on social media. Do you see the UK election as foreshadowing the 2020 election in the United States with Trump winning by a landslide, the GOP overtaking the House and gaining more seats in the Senate?”
I don’t think there can be a landslide in 2020 because of the way the electoral college is set up. There are really only a handful of states that you could even consider toss ups. Those states, defined fairly broadly, would be: Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Nevada.
That’s 14 undecided states, and again, that’s defining undecided states broadly. The reality is many of these states lean to one side or the other. If Trump wins, for instance, Nevada and Minnesota, this election is unlikely to be very close. Similarly if a Democrat wins North Carolina and Arizona, the election is unlikely to be very close as well.
But even with 14 states in the undecided category that leaves 36 states that we’re pretty much sure will go to the Democrats or the Republicans.
In order for there to be a “landslide” Trump would have to win, essentially, nearly all 14 of those states and I just don’t see that as being very likely.
And even if he did that it wouldn’t be a “landslide” in historical context.
For instance, in 1984 Ronald Reagan won 49 states. Trump would win 37 states if he won all 14 of the undecided states plus the states he won in 2016. That’s as massive as his “landslide” could possibly be.
Trump won thirty states in 2016. Many of the states he won were close, but there were four states he lost where he could have easily won with a bit more time and money: Minnesota — where Trump lost by 44,470 votes — New Hampshire — where Trump lost by just 2,701 votes — Nevada — where Trump lost by 26,434 votes and Maine — where Trump lost by 19,995 votes.
It doesn’t get much attention, but if Trump had gotten 22,696 more votes in Maine and New Hampshire, that’s smaller than maximum capacity at Rupp Arena, he would have won two states in the northeast.
And if Trump had won just 93,601 more votes, less people than attend an SEC football game at Tennessee, Alabama, or LSU, he would have won Minnesota, Nevada, Maine, and New Hampshire.
Of course you can flip roughly 80,000 votes the other direction, less than attend a game in a large Big Ten stadium, and Trump would have lost Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, handing the election to Hillary.
My big point by sharing these numbers with you is just how slim the margin is in many of these states.
While you’ll hear a ton of talk about turnout, that’s really not what matters here. It’s turnout IN THE STATES THAT MATTER. There will, for instance, be a high turnout in California and New York, but Trump is going to lose those states by a large margin. So the turnout won’t really matter much. What will matter is the turnout in the 14 states I flagged above.
What I do think the election results in England show us is that the left wing parties in this country have drastically overreached when it comes to assuming what people want. Twitter is perpetually angry, left-wing biased, and believes everything is racist.
The rest of the country, both in England and America, isn’t like this.
So I think Democratic politicians run trying to make Twitter happy and in so doing they are playing into Donald Trump’s hands because the rest of the nation doesn’t want Twitter to be happy.
You don’t win an election by winning social media.
Now I will say this, by and large the left wing candidates haven’t fared that well so far in the Democratic race and Joe Biden is showing an incredible degree of staying power. Such that if he performs decently in Iowa and New Hampshire he’s going to be fine as he moves into the more diverse primary states. And if Biden were able to win one of these two states, Iowa or New Hampshire — or sweep them, which seems highly unlikely — I think there’s a good chance he’d lock up the nomination very quickly.
Instead what I think is the most likely outcome is there are two different winners in Iowa and New Hampshire, maybe Mayor Pete in Iowa and either Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren in New Hampshire and then Biden wins South Carolina and Nevada.
That split would leave us heading into Super Tuesday with no clear leader.
The wild card here is Mike Bloomberg, who I think could be a player, to a certain degree, in the Super Tuesday states as well given how much money he has to spend.
Right now I would make Joe Biden a decent favorite to win the nomination for the Democrats.
Then the election, as I’ve been telling you for some time it would, will come down to what happens in the Big Ten states.
Regardless of who the nominee is, however, I think it will be a very close race and right now I’d make Trump a small favorite to win in 2020.
“Polls are showing voters are souring on impeachment, especially independents. There are 31 House Democrats in districts Trump won. Do you think impeachment will cost Democrats the house in 2020?”
I honestly think most people aren’t paying attention to impeachment and that its impact will pretty much be nonexistent when voters go to the polls late next year.
The people who hate Trump are going to hate him, the people who love him are going to love him.
The most impactful factor in late 2020 will be what happens with the economy. If the economy is still rolling in late 2020, and I think it will be, then Trump should be considered a substantial favorite to win re-election.
Ultimately, if he’s smart, Trump will make the economy his selling point down the stretch run of the campaign.
Leave aside your anger over Trump’s Tweets and his overall persona. That’s just noise. (I try to mostly ignore noise when I analyze a decision.) So here’s the big question voters will have to answer: what’s actually worse in the country today than it was when Trump took over in 2016?
That is, aside from your feelings being hurt, what tangible metric is in worse condition today than it was in 2016? The stock marking is soaring, unemployment is at a fifty year low, real wages are up, crime is down, deaths from overseas combat are down, our relationships with dangerous places like North Korea seem improved, ISIS is crushed, and our economic sanctions in Iran are crippling that country and creating an opportunity for real change there.
Again, aside from Trump hurting your feelings and behaving in an uncouth manner, what tangible metric is making the country worse off?
There just isn’t one.
That’s the question that I think Trump should be hammering home to swing voters.
Trump’s campaign in a sentence for undecided voters should be, “Okay, I’m a jerk, but haven’t I made you and your family’s life better?”
I think the answer for the vast majority of voters is yes.
Now some of those people are loathe to admit this — or they will admit it and credit Barack Obama for the improvement we’ve seen in Trump’s term — but after four years voters are making a decision based on the incumbent president.
Is he doing a good or bad job?
I think it’s hard to argue when it comes to the actual substance of what he’s done that Trump’s done a bad job. Which is why if Trump loses it’s going to be because of his personal behavior, not because of his actual job.
Having said all this, what’s going to be far more impactful to the Democrats chances to retain their house seats in districts Trump won is who the Democrats pick as their presidential candidate.
I think Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and Elizabeth Warren would all underperform Hillary Clinton in 2016 in the Midwest. Why do I think that? Bernie’s way too far left wing and kooky, Warren’s a less accomplished Hillary, and mayor Pete will have major issues motivating black voters, black men in particular, to vote for a gay man for president.
Joe Biden has a chance to outperform Hillary in the Midwest.
But I happen to think Michael Bloomberg would actually be the Democrats best candidate because Joe Biden’s meandering answers and behavior scares me. He seems older than he is. And he’s old.
Ultimately, however, the Big Ten states will decide this election.
So if the Democrats were being astute that’s all they’d be focusing on.
“If you were starting an NFL team today would you rather have Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson at QB?”
It’s Patrick Mahomes and I don’t think it’s a very difficult decision.
There is no quarterback who has ever had a long range, successful career as a running quarterback in the NFL. That doesn’t mean Lamar Jackson can’t be the first — he could be a unicorn — but there’s no history of long term success playing football the way he plays football.
Even the guy you’d probably point to as the most similar to Lamar Jackson — Michael Vick — won a single playoff game in his entire career and never advanced beyond the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
Now I’m open to the idea Jackson could be different because NFL coaches, at least with Jackson, have been open to building an offensive system around him to succeed in a way they might not have with Vick, but I just haven’t seen it happen before.
So if you’re asking me to pick a guy like Mahomes, who is a pocket passing quarterback in the mold of Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers, guys who have combined to win ten MVPs over the past two decades, or a guy like Jackson who really, to be honest, has no real long range precedent of success in NFL history, I’m going to invest in the guy who most resembles successful guys in the past.
I believe based on the NFL data over the past quarter century that Mahomes is more likely to a have a longer and more successful NFL career than Lamar Jackson is.
That doesn’t mean I think Lamar Jackson isn’t going to be good, it just means I’d rather invest my money in Mahomes.
Here’s the deal, however, left wing sports media losers on Twitter are incredibly desperate to make Lamar Jackson some sort of racial referendum.
They’re still arguing for someone to succeed based on his race which is, news flash, racist.
To his credit, Lamar Jackson really hasn’t picked up this banner and argued that he’s being discriminated against or is a victim of racism. (I love Lamar Jackson’s “Nobody Cares, Work Harder” t-shirt because it’s actually just another way of saying DBAP.)
Remember, Lamar was drafted in the first round to play quarterback.
It’s not like he’s some horribly discriminated against individual.
He was just, like many quarterbacks are, a polarizing project coming out of college.
Even the team that took him, the Ravens, wasn’t that sure about how he’d project. Remember, the Ravens took him after they drafted a back-up tight end, Hayden Hurst, seven picks in front of Lamar. If they’d thought Lamar Jackson was going to be this good they would have taken him number one overall, instead of after a tight end.
But regardless of that fact, getting drafted in the first round is still a pretty impressive level of respect for a guy.
NFL teams didn’t miss on Lamar Jackson like they did Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and Dak Prescott – who were all drafted in the fourth round or later.
Hell, just this past season Gardner Minshew went in the sixth round.
That’s not because these teams were biased against these quarterbacks, it’s because it’s hard to project NFL quarterback success. It’s roughly a coin flip in the first round if a guy is going to make it or not. Quarterbacks taken after the first round have a much lower success rate.
In the past twenty years years we’ve seen black quarterbacks like Mike Vick, Cam Newton, Jamarcus Russell, and Jameis Winson all go number one overall. This idea that the NFL is somehow racist against black quarterbacks is simply absurd and illogical.
Lamar Jackson went late in the first round because there were questions about how he’d do in the NFL just like Johnny Manziel, another mobile quarterback fell as well, not because he was black.
What’s more, if racism were truly an issue in the NFL then the teams that aren’t racist could take advantage of the racism in the NFL and win more. That is, follow me along on the logic here, if there are players who are getting overlooked because of racism then teams that weren’t racist would win more games because they’d be able to get those players at reduced costs.
Aside from being an appropriate moral choice, not being racist would actually make your team more likely to win if racism was a major factor in the NFL.
The truth is this: NFL teams care about winning far more than they care about anything else.
Finally, arguing that racism held Lamar Jackson back and there are other Lamar Jackson’s out there is actually kind of insulting to Lamar Jackson. His skill and talent set is unique. Regardless of your race, there are far too few talented quarterbacks of all races.
But to circle back to your question, I’d take Mahomes over Lamar Jackson.
“The Titans are in the same situation as 2017 at this point in 2019. Both teams with a 2nd year coach, tied for first with showdown looming in week 17 with their foe. Yet, the amount of interest and excitement today is dramatically higher? Why do you think that is?”
I don’t necessarily buy into people being more excited now.
Remember, the Titans were 8-4 back in 2017 and then lost three straight games to fall to 8-7.
But I remember people, including me, being really excited back then too.
People are excited in general about the Titans any time they make a playoff run because there haven’t been that many playoff runs over the past decade.
I think the primary difference is this year’s Titans team has shown high level offensive and defensive ability at times during the season. This year’s 8-5 doesn’t feel like a smokescreen. The Titans have won three straight games by 14 or more.
Back in 2017 they won two games all season by 14 or more.
In other words, this year’s team has given you some strong indications they could actually make a run in the playoffs as opposed to just making the playoffs.
This looks like a quality team, potentially peaking at the right time, down the stretch of the season.
Now because they’re the Titans I’m still terrified they will blow this, but if they can go out and beat the Texans on Sunday then the Titans take a pretty commanding lead in this division. In fact, I think there’s even a decent chance the Titans could win the division the next weekend because if they beat the Saints and the Texans lost at Tampa Bay then the final game of the season at Houston wouldn’t even matter.
Either way the AFC playoff race will be fascinating because there are four teams: Titans, Texans, Steelers and Bills and only three spots for those four teams.
One team will get left out and be pretty crushed.
Especially if, as could be the case, the team that gets left out ends up going 10-6.
Which, god help me, I can’t help believing will end up being the Titans.
“Assuming the House impeaches Trump, if you are Mitch McConnell, do you vote to dismiss the charges outright, or let it go to a full trial? If it’s a full trial, do you allow witnesses to be called? The risks of testimony under oath versus the political theater is fascinating.”
I don’t think it matters very much, honestly, what McConnell does.
People have their minds made up here regardless of what gets said in the hearings.
Donald Trump is going to be impeached by the House of Representatives and then the Senate is effectively going to acquit him.
The most interesting aspect of this story, to me, is whether all Senate Republicans will hold firm, even the ones in tough re-election battles like Susan Collins in Maine. Because if they do I think it’s likely that several Democrats in states Trump won may end up joining them to reject the impeachment charges, which will be even more thorough of a victory for Trump.
I believe the Democrats way overplayed their hand with this impeachment and that Trump will benefit from it in 2020 because it will allow him to argue that the system is rigged against him. Which his base will love.
Furthermore, I also think the precedent has now been set where impeachment will effectively become just another weapon in the opposition party quiver. Which means the general public will pay less attention to it going forward.
I didn’t believe the Republicans should have impeached Bill Clinton or the Democrats should have impeached Trump. In both cases I believe it was genuine dislike for the president by the opposition party that made it happen. There was a vast right win conspiracy allied against Clinton, but there’s also a vast left wing conspiracy allied against Trump.
That’s why I’ve been arguing from the get-go that impeachment should only make sense if you believe there’s a chance the president could be removed from office. Otherwise it’s just political theater.
Here, there has never been a remote chance of removal.
“Kelly Kapowski or Kelly Bundy?”
Come on, man.
Kelly Kapowski, no contest.