All That and a Bag of Mail

It’s Friday!

Rejoice and enjoy the mailbag.

As always you can send questions for me to claytravis@gmail.com — if you want them in the anonymous mailbag specify that you want anonymity in those emails.

Zach writes:

“Simple question here: would amending the terms for the presidency to one 6 year term (or something similar) decrease the negative media towards the president? 
I feel like the Trump presidency has taken negative media to a whole new level. Is this the way it will be in the future so that the opposite side will try to destroy the sitting president at every chance they get? If the chance of re-election was removed, would this take away the chance to paint Trump and future presidents as terrible people?” 
Interestingly, one of the only major structural changes that the Confederacy made to their constitutional government was they had a president for only one six year term. This is why, for instance, Abraham Lincoln had to run for reelection during the middle of the Civil War in 1864 and Jefferson Davis didn’t.
So this is something that’s been contemplated for a long time in the American political discourse.
Having said that, I don’t think this would change anything in the present day because we have created a perpetual war between the parties now where both sides are consistently trying to impeach the president from the other side. (I know it’s trendy to claim one side started all of this, but I think that’s immaterial at this point, we’ve reached total war.)
My position on this is consistent and straightforward — impeachment should be exceedingly rare, regardless of the presidential party in office. I didn’t support impeaching and trying to remove Bill Clinton from office twenty years ago and I don’t support impeaching and removing Donald Trump from office now.
You can watch my entire rationale as to why I didn’t support the impeachment of Clinton in the 1990’s and don’t support the impeachment of Trump in the 2010’s here:

What I do find fascinating is I think we’re essentially repeating the culture wars of the 1990’s all over again in the present day. We’ve got a president who is tripping all over his dick with women — now Trump, then Clinton — a stock market that is soaring, relatively low crime and peace and prosperity and no major threats on the horizon.
That’s why we can spend so much time arguing about whether the president slept with a porn star right now, because the very triviality of our issues.
Here’s what troubles me, in the late 1990’s we were asleep at the wheel focused on whether Clinton got a blow job from an intern and I think that lack of focus opened up the country to the 9/11 attacks, which ended the 1990’s and set our country on an entirely different course for the 2000’s.
It’s truly incredible to think about what our country might be like today if 9/11 never happened. Where would we have spent the trillions of dollars we spent fighting terrorism? How many more people would still be alive? (You can certainly argue that sooner or later we would have had a 9/11 attack, but I’m not sure that’s true. An attack of this magnitude is hard to pull off and requires a tremendous amount of luck. With better focus — and, yes, maybe just a little bet better luck — we certainly should and maybe could have caught the 9/11 terrorists before they acted.
Is there another 9/11 lurking out there, something that will end these relatively good times of the 2010’s and make us long for the controversies of whether Trump paid a prostitute to keep quiet just like in the wake of 9/11 a lot of people looked back on the 1990’s and wondered why we were so obsessed with cultural controversies and blow jobs when a great threat like terrorism loomed on the horizon?
I don’t know, but that’s what now feels like to me, as if we’re in a pause here before a major redirection of our country.
Corey writes:
“Couldn’t agree with you more in regard to the Shawn Oakman situation. 
Do you think that he should be able to sue the NCAA/the prosecution for projected salary?
The amount of money Oakman could’ve made (he was a BEAST) before the NCAA brought the hammer down for something he is INNOCENT of is insanity.
Likewise, Briles gets fired. Should he not get compensated as well?
What a mess, and the NCAA again showing that it is on the wrong side of a decision.”
Well, Briles got paid out, but I definitely believe he was scapegoated here. I’m not saying Briles is a saint, but the idea he can’t even coach in the CFL is wild to me.
And the amazing thing about the Shawn Oakman case, to me, is that after a three day trial it took the jury 45 minutes to return a not guilty verdict. That’s incredible and evidence that this case, much like the AJ Johnson case, should have never been filed.
Bigger picture what this says is that we all need to be spending less time allowing the race, sex, religion or sexual orientation of an accuser to impact our notions of justice. That’s what happened in both these cases, prosecutors filed charges they shouldn’t have because they were afraid of what would happen to them if they didn’t file these charges.
Let me give you a quick sketch of our nation’s history as it pertains to race and gender and the courts:
From the nation’s inception to the expansion of the right to vote to non-landholders, the landholding white man was virtually always correct in a court of law. Our system of justice existed to favor the landed gentry.
But then all white men gained the right to vote and gradually all white men came to be treated equally before courts of law.
Prior to the Civil Rights era the white landowning man is nearly always right when disputes arise with women or people of color.
But then in 1955 Emmett Till is falsely accused of behaving improperly towards a white woman, leading to his unjust lynching. This moment helps to crystallize the rise of the Civil Rights era, which represented the fulfillment of our nation’s promises in the declaration of independence and the constitution. At long last, we began to extend rights to all citizens regardless of their race, religion, or gender.
From 1955 to 1995 our nation becomes freer and more just.
To me, this era culminates forty years later in a completely different trial, OJ Simpson’s criminal prosecution for murder.
Two generations after Emmett Till’s murder, in 1995, OJ Simpson is found not guilty of murdering two white people because of past racism in the LA police department. OJ becomes one of the first black men to ever be found not guilty of a crime he committed because of past racism.
In other words, OJ benefits from the Emmett Till murder — and others of its ilk — when innocent black men were murdered or found guilty for crimes they didn’t commit and he and his lawyers are able to use past injustice to create a new form of injustice in a modern day criminal trial.
This result is the antithesis of the Civil Rights movement, but because a black man benefits most fail to acknowledge it.
Eleven years later, what happens?
Duke Lacrosse.
In the 2006 Duke Lacrosse case the media convicted white Duke kids of raping a black stripper because they wanted privileged white kids to be guilty of a crime like this because it reflected their world view: sociopathic white men were raping poor black women.
It later emerges the entire case is made up and the female accuser is presently in jail for murder.
But the facts didn’t matter in this case, we’d moved from an era when facts were analyzed and discussed to one where the media — and many consumers of the media — hoped that their feelings were reinforced by the real world.
A few years later what happens in 2012?
Jameis Winston, a black quarterback at FSU, is accused of raping a white woman. The police and justice department initially do not conduct an investigation because of his protection by FSU and stature as a top football player. FSU fans defend Winston and attack the woman, completely flipping the story of Groveland, Florida from the 1950’s, which I’d encourage you to all read, on its head.
In the Groveland case a white woman’s word that she had been raped was believed despite all the evidence to the contrary against several black men’s. By 2013, a black man’s word was believed by the same people in north Florida because he happened to be good at football.
But, and this is key, most media support the white woman’s version of events, creating a conflict in racial and gender politics, who do left wingers believe? The black man or the white woman? The fact that there wasn’t a clear rooting interest here made this a murky case when it came to race and justice.
Six years later what happens in 2018? Brett Kavanaugh is accused of improper conduct with a white woman birthing the #believeallwomen hashtag.
That’s because the pyramid of victimization in our modern era needs a white male villain. Kavanaugh, and Trump before him, was straight out of liberal media culture war central casting — a privileged white man who never had to pay for his sins.
What happens next?
We enter a new year and Jussie Smollett, a gay black man, accuses two white men of a hate crime, prompting many in left wing politics to immediately support his allegation because of his race and gender.
Then Justin Fairfax, the black Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, compares two black women accusing him of sexual assault to a modern day lynching. The Democratic party is paralyzed by this allegation because which side do they pick — the black man or the black woman’s?
The result is nothing happens, no one gets any justice, the system is paralyzed.
But imagine if Fairfax was a white man accused of sexually assaulting two black women — there’s no way he keeps his job.
Admittedly, this is a limited collection of court moments, but what it illustrates is a swing in our notions of justice in this country.
We have moved from the white man is always right to the white man is always wrong in the space of sixty years.
In the process we have skipped right over justice being blind.
Now I’m a white guy so you can certainly accuse me of being self-interested here, but my fear is Emmett Till and Duke Lacrosse have far more in common than Emmett Till and OJ Simpson. That is, in the cases of both Till and Duke Lacrosse a woman’s word was taken as true based on her race and sex as opposed to the actual facts of the case.
Now, the stakes were far different — Till was murdered and the Duke Lacrosse players were ultimately vindicated because we have thankfully done away with actual lynch mobs in this country — now they are all on social media instead and there’s typically no physical danger at play — but the Duke Lacrosse case was a harbinger of things to come.
There is now a desperate search in the national media — and in many left wing interest groups — for evil white men. That’s how Covington Catholic and Jussie Smollett both happened. We’ve replaced one bias for a new bias. And it’s not healthy for our country.
My hope is we will have enough cases like Justin Fairfax, where the traditional identity politics at play are exposed and that this entire identity politics era will collapse on itself like the French Revolution.
I’m starting to see signs of it in sports — witness the rising up of reason in response to transgender athletes, women who were born men — beginning to dominate in high schools.
Is that really what we want?
My goal is for the country to ultimately live up to its aspirations and treat everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or ethnicity, the exact same.
But we aren’t there yet.
Ty writes:

“Hey Clay, 

I go to an HBCU in Virginia, which I truly dread. Long story short, I didn’t like the sports program at my first college and I decided to transfer to a cheaper school close to home. I don’t want to sound like a whiny millennial but people here are just annoying. All they can say is, “Donald Trump is racist” as their main argument as to why they don’t have republican values.

I’m glad I listen to your podcast to gain intelligence and insight on things that people don’t think about, so I thank you for that.

So, this may sound like a small problem but I care about my grade. So everyone here just assumes I’m a democrat because I’m black and my professor just waves her liberal flag around. She says the most idiotic things with no factual basis and the whole class just goes along with it because they don’t care about anything but nonsense. Should I correct her sometimes with factual basis and risk my grade or just let her blabber on and on and take an easy A? My grade is important to me but when I leave this school, I don’t want to be dumber than when I first came here.”

One of the most difficult things to be in America today is a free thinker who is willing to challenge orthodoxy.
That’s because everyone wants to put you in an identity politics box.
When I was growing up in Nashville I didn’t want to have a Southern accent because I didn’t want people in other parts of the country to judge me based on the stereotypes of the South. I didn’t want them to think I was a stupid country bumpkin.
I wanted them to see me as an individual, not as a stereotype.
And I suspect you, and many others like you reading the mailbag today, want the same.
So how do you get that?
You have to find others who are willing to challenge the conventional belief. And how do you find those people? By exposing them to ideas different than the ones they typically hear. And sometimes I think that requires challenging people in positions of power over you, such as in classroom setting like you reference, even if it means your grades might be impacted a small bit.
So I’d encourage you to occasionally push back on what your professor is saying, but I’d encourage you to do so while also flattering her. (Or him.) That is, how you convey your challenge matters a great deal. Directly contradicting someone on facts could potentially lead to consequences for you, particularly if that professor fears being embarrassed in a classroom.
But raising a fascinating issue for debate will probably make your professor address opinions she might otherwise ignore.
For instance, rather than get drawn into the toxic stew of identity politics, I like to look for lessons that work for everyone. And one of my favorite facts out there today is this one — if you graduate from high school, get married, and don’t have a child until you are 25 years old, your rate of poverty in this country, regardless of your race, is virtually zero.
That is, managing all three of these things, which don’t seem that hard in the grand scheme of things, virtually guarantees you a successful life in America.
So why don’t kids today hear these three things all the time?
If I were running for president, this would be my platform — encouraging any policy that leads to higher high school graduations, more marriages, and fewer out of wedlock births to people under the age of 25.
Boom, this could be transformative to our country and it would directly benefit everyone since the best gift most of us could ever receive is growing up in a two parent household.
My advice to you would be this — keep challenging orthodoxy. Keep a flexible mind. Ultimately I truly believe that the future, more so than it ever has before, belongs to those of you with creative minds which aren’t constrained by preconceived dogma and old stereotypes.
You’re the ones who are going to lead us out of the culture war.
Matt writes:

“With the Anthony Davis fiasco playing out in the NBA, the Robert Kraft situation in the NFL, and chatter of the NFL courting NBA commissioner Adam Silver, I started to think about how each commissioner has performed in their current role. TV revenue has gone up for everyone, so either way, using that as a metric of success is a wash. My question is who do you believe has been a better commissioner, Adam Silver or Roger Goodell?

I know the initial reaction for most people is Silver by a mile, but I am not sure it is as lopsided as people think. 
When Silver took over, he immediately booted Donald Sterling, which won him a ton of political points. Whether or not someone should be forced to sell his team based on recorded private conversations is a different story. Since then, what has he really done? I am not saying that he hasn’t been good, but their are clear examples of tampering, he has been silent on Anthony Davis, and moving the All Star game from Charlotte a few years ago actually didn’t make sense (as you discussed).
As for Goodell, he has had to deal with three main public issues: concussions, Kaepernick, and player discipline. Football is an inherently much more dangerous than basketball, the NBA has a stand-for-the-anthem policy, and it seems that NFL players have had larger issues with domestic violence than NBA players, which I would argue is not the fault of the commissioner. Has he handled it particularly well? Not really, but why is it his job to act as the criminal justice system.
Back to the question, I would argue that both Silver and Goodell have done adequate jobs as commissioner of their respective leagues, but Goodell was dealt a more complicated and tougher hand that makes him look worse in the public eye. 
What do you think?”
I don’t think either man has been particularly strong, but I think Silver has been more adroit in his political maneuverings. I believe kicking Donald Sterling out of the league set a bad precedent for the long range future of the NBA — illegally taped private conversations shouldn’t be grounds for being forced to sell a team — but I think it gave Silver a tremendous amount of political capital to expend as he sees fit.
That, coupled with a cheerleading left wing woke media, which doesn’t criticize the NBA for anything and rips the NFL for everything, set up a dynamic where the NBA represents everything that’s great about sports and the NFL represents everything that’s awful about sports.
I also think Roger Goodell’s decision to create, expand, and enforce the NFL’s personal conduct policy has been an abject failure, which has caused the NFL to be directly connected to every issue of player misconduct. The seeds for Goodell’s near collapse in dealing with Ray Rice were sewn when he made the decision to punish player conduct himself.
The result has been the NFL has been branded as a league that is racist and doesn’t like women when I think both of those allegations are patently false.
Ultimately you are paid based on your judgment when you ascend to jobs like Goodell and Silver. You look at competing ideas all day long and determine which ones are the best. While I don’t think Silver has been extraordinary at his job, I do think he’s been better than Goodell.
But here’s the kicker, the state of the game of football is, in my opinion, on much sounder footing than basketball. When LeBron retires — or fails to make the playoffs this year — NBA ratings will collapse. If, say, we got a Warriors-Raptors NBA Finals, the league ratings would be a fraction of what they were with LeBron.
I think the NBA is headed for a post-LeBron collapse, which will mirror what occurred when Michael Jordan left the NBA.
I don’t see those problems on the horizon for the NFL, which means Goodell has the easier job for sure.
Hope y’all have great weekends.
Thanks for reading Outkick.
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