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J. D. Vance

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Vance puckering up in 2021
God, guns, and freedom
U.S. Politics
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Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
Persons of interest
We are, whether we like it or not, the party of lower-income, lower-education white people, and I have been saying for a long time that we need to offer those people SOMETHING (and hell, maybe even expand our appeal to working-class black people in the process) or a demagogue would. We are now at that point. Trump is the fruit of the party's collective neglect.
—Vance in 2016[1]
I go back and forth between thinking Trump is a cynical asshole like Nixon who wouldn't be that bad (and might even prove useful) or that he's America's Hitler. How's that for discouraging?
—Vance in 2016[1]
I think Trump is going to run again in 2024. I think that what Trump should do, if I was giving him one piece of advice: Fire every single midlevel bureaucrat, every civil servant in the administrative state, replace them with our people. And when the courts stop you, stand before the country, and say, 'The chief justice has made his ruling. Now let him enforce it.'
—Vance in 2022, openly advocating a coup[2]

James David "J.D." Vance (1984–) is an author and a Republican Senator currently serving in Ohio. He became famous in 2016 for his book Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. Unsurprisingly, as a GOP candidate, he has some rather interesting views. Specifically, he's become very interested in birth rates among the "ruling classes".[3] Vance is also an antisemite.[4][5]

Controversies surrounding his book[edit]

Hillbilly Elegy describes his lifestyle while growing up in the Cincinnati, Ohio suburbs, which is obviously the most hillbilly place one can grow up.[6] It was very successful when it came out, especially in media circles, but even then there were warning signs of the lunacy that was to come. Vance portrays the working class as ultimately to blame for their own difficulties in life, saying that they have "the feeling that our choices don’t matter," and suggests that they "buy giant TVs and iPads" instead of working to better themselves.[7] A particularly prescient article in Jacobin by Bob Hutton views the book as a part of a tradition of elitist victim blaming such as in the boot-straps theme of the works of Horatio Alger and the infamous The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.[8] Despite his posturing about his special insights into the reasons why Trump won white working-class voters, he really just repeated the same old conservative mantra that poor people are lazy, and he provided hints of the wingnuttery that was to come.

Lunacy in his 2022 Senate run[edit]

All you do is kiss my ass to get my support.
—Trump to Vance in front of an audience at a Vance campaign rally[9]

The first warning sign in J.D. Vance's run for Senate that he was going to be veering very, very far into wingnut territory with a sudden swerve from being a critic of former-President Trump.[10] He switched from his earlier establishment conservativism (though he still retains the support of many of them) to a new right-wing populism in a competition with his fellow wingnut former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.[11] Among the various actions that he has taken in his race to the right was his defense of Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes while calling liberals "degenerate."[12] It is left up to the reader what to think about these comments.

Vance's elitism reemerged in his comments about giving proxy votes to parents for their children, in which he insulted "the childless left" and in particular Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as "childless cat ladies" whose childfree status was interfering with "a healthy ruling class".[13][14] That a GOP candidate feels the need to say nonsense like this reflects the continuing popularity of The Bell Curve-like thought in the party.

During his run, he revealed on a far-right podcast with Jack Murphy, he revealed his more extreme views:[15][16]

  • Millions of government workers should be fired regardless of the law, comparing it to post-World War II de-Nazification, or the purge of Baathists following the downfall of Saddam Hussein, referring to it as "de-wokeification"
  • He compared the current United States to the late republican period of Rome before it became an Empire, indicating that he believes that Democrats are evil, and anti-democratic actions need to be taken to stop them so that we can have Emperor Trump. It's no wonder since apparently Curtis Yarvin of the Neoreactionary Movement apparently got his ear.[17]
  • He tweeted "Now everyone admits the vaccines don’t prevent transmission, it’s time to end these dehumanizing mandates."[18]

Ultimately, he was able to win, as Ohio has become much redder over the years. However, it was a bit of a pyrrhic victory, as his opponent Tim Ryan was able to inspire Democratic turnout to the point that Democrats won a few house races that they shouldn't have even been competitive in. By comparison, Ohio's Republican governor Mike DeWine was reelected by a margin of over 25% in the same night that Vance only won by around 6%, and Rob Portman won the seat by almost 21% of the vote in 2016.[19]

See Also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Trump-Endorsed Candidate JD Vance Once Said Trump Might Be ‘America’s Hitler’ by Cameron Joseph (April 18, 2022, 2:54pm) Vice.
  2. J.D. Vance Is a Dangerous Authoritarian, Jonathan Chait, Intelligencer 2 May 2022
  4. Weinstein: Vance's antisemitic, racist abortion comment 'dangerous' by Courtney Byrnes (Posted Sep 23, 2022 at 2: 55 PM Updated Sep 29, 2022 at 9: 43 AM) Cleveland Jewish News.
  5. Republicans invoke Soros to steer narrative on Trump probe by Ali Swenson (March 22, 2023 at 12:22 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  9. Trump Took J.D. Vance's Dignity, Then Tim Ryan Erased it from the Historical Record by Charles P. Pierce (Oct 11, 2022) Esquire.
  15. J.D. Vance largely avoids pivot to center in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race after culture-war heavy Republican primary by Andrew J. Tobias (Sep. 04, 2022, 5:30 a.m.) The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
  16. JD Vance - JML #070 (Sep 20, 2021) Jack Murphy Live (archived from July 10, 2022).
  17. How reactionary is MAGA? Try the first century B.C. by Dana Milbank (September 7, 2022 at 6:28 p.m. EDT) The Washington Post.
  18. An important story. Now that everyone admits the vaccines don’t prevent transmission, it’s time to end these dehumanizing mandates. by J. D. Vance (2:38 PM · Oct 19, 2022) Twitter (archived from 20 Oct 2022 19:19:02 UTC).
  19. Ohio election results, The New York Times