J.D. Vance’s Ambition Comes at a Price in ‘Hillbilly’ Terms

Oct 27, 2022 · 473 comments
Gail (Florida)
Unlike the Oz vs Fetterman race, Ohio has two strong, capable candidates in Vance & Ryan. Only partisans will celebrate the fact that one of them will lose and likely leave politics behind.
Jennifer Michelson (Massachusetts)
Donate to Ryan and make calls for him. Your grandchildren will thank you. You will be able to say you did the right thing.
Kris (Maryland)
Remember, remember The 8th of Roevember.
Geoffrey (Washington, DC)
Much like Ted Cruz, he too has shown to have no spine, dignity or integrity.
stephan morrow (nyc)
I think Vance is plugging into the hardly underground raging river of dissatisfaction w/ politicians in general who must raise so much money from so many sources that whatever their political agendas are they don't end up actually accomplishing much and become mealy mouthed lackeys in thrall to their money sources. And those money people have their ear not the common citizen. I've heard this from so many politicians that not so long ago they could do some fundraising and win an election. Not so any more. They have to start raising money as soon as they get into office for the next election. TV ads are raising the stakes so much that it's become all about the dollars. Not a healthy thing if you want a true election. So there IMHO should be a governor switch on how much money a pol can raise in an election campaign. All the ones that are in place now have too many loopholes. S.M. Artistic Director The Great American Play Series https://youtu.be/tKk1tqyrDeU
Sam (KS)
JD's obviously an opportunist and it's gross that NYT is elevating him with anodyne descriptors like "supersmart soccer dad." That said, I recently reread parts of Hillbilly Elegy (not a great book, and not particularly well written, but was interesting to revisit in light of JD's fascist turn). This takeaway from Hillbilly Elegy (quoted in the article) seems patently incorrect: "Mr. Vance has this idea that he did this himself and got himself out of poverty, the whole bootstrap thing." He actually makes it quite clear that he believes he escaped poverty primarily thanks to having a stable (grand)parental figure, and secondarily due to the lucky break of getting encouraged to join the Marines (which in turn taught him how to be a functional adult - e.g. how to open a bank account, apply for a loan, etc.). He certainly doesn't come across as someone who thinks he escaped poverty through sheer grit.
Buck (Flemington)
His good buddy Peter Thiel is trying to get a Maltese passport. Tells you something about the crowd Vance really runs with.
marcus newberry (greenville)
Between Mr. Ryan and Mr. Vance, Mr. Ryan is more authentic, dedicated, loyal and capable of advancing the people of Ohio and bringing relief to their needs than is Mr. Vance. My wife and many generations of her family are from Ohio and I did my medical internship at Ohio State, so I wish Ohio well for their future. Ohio has a proud economic and political heritage. Pay attention to it and the people who will provide the leadership to advance that heritage. Good character is vitally important.
Montalvo (Puerto Vallarta)
Republicans who align with Trump share his penchant for lying and hypocrisy, which are not laudable values for someone representing voters. But that doesn't dissuade stupid folks from supporting him.
William O. Beeman (San Jose, CA)
How low we have fallen as a nation. How disgusting it is that some "doubt" about Vance's (or any candidate's) "fealty" to Donald Trump should make any difference in any election. Are voters so totally lobotomized that they can't see the worth of a candidate without having Trump's stamp on their forehead?" This Trump cultism is beyond all belief in the United States. Mr. Vance is a disgusting, opportunistic candidate. He should be rejected on his own lack of merit, not because Trump is "equivocal" about him.
Juan Quintero (California)
As an immigrant to this country of more than 40 years I can see and sadly confirm the steady decline of the country. It’s racist take has become an open and decidedly open way to express political alliance. Trump exposed what many kept as a semi-secret or allowed for the aggrieved and poorly educated “whites” to openly be who they are. We all come from Africa but many people don’t understand biology and ethnicity. Be well !
Aldo Leopoldo (Sand Counties, USA, World 🌎)
Wow, really high profile article 12 days before the election, getting serious visibility for this Ohio Senate campaign. Who’s JD running against again? And supposedly non-partisan journalists from this supposedly liberal leaning newspaper can’t seem to understand the rise of the authoritarian right.
Robert (Out West)
He’s running against Tim Ryan. Who’s Ohio all the way. Try to be honest about what you’re supporting, please.
Douglas (New Jersey)
I think this amply demonstrates the limited knowledge of Buckeye state residents .They regularly vote against their own interests only to later blame Democrats for their plight.Crack and Fentanyl and lack of education are personal responsibility issues.Not caused by Democrats.!!! Own your own life and stop blaming others for your situation.In 3 words:grow up Ohio!!!
Joey (Cleveland)
And this post need no amplification … one request, please keep Bruce Springberg out of Ohio … but really hope you and Snooki have a nice life
BCM (Kansas City, MO)
How can it be that there isn’t one Republican candidate, long since secure in both financial terms and in his/her identity, who will tell the electorate that he/she would rather lose an election than genuflect to the disgraceful Trump and this pathetic voters?
BabsPHL (PA)
Vance is the epitome of sycophants for Trump. His book, once a bestseller is consigned to the remainder bin, along with his "reputation" if indeed he ever had a decent one. His 180 from poor boy from southern Ohio to millionaire scion of Silicon Valley billionaire tech head is a cautionary tale to anyone who "bootstraps" him or herself into power and glory by kissing up to TFG. He's no better than Trump, just a bit more hardscrabble. But with all the morality and humility that Trump has displayed for 70 years. Go sit at the feet of your master, JD, you've still got a lot to learn about hubris.
Trish (MN and TN)
Ohio deserves everything it gets, if it elects JD Vance. He’ll always be about himself.
Citizen (RI)
@Trish Except that it won't just be Ohio that suffers. We all will.
The Land (Of Oz)
I really loved his book and respected what he had to say when I first started following him but time has only shown he has zero integrity and he’s preaching a story line with the sole objective of vote winning. It’s so disappointing.
barbara (santa cruz ca)
@The Land wonder if those stories were even true
Andrew Rodwin (Acton)
Vance was once an empty pair of overalls and now he is an empty suit.
Razorwire (USA)
Trump wasn't joking. He believes Vance's lips are sewn to his can. Like a great number of Taylor-Greene's constituents, if you met some of these people one on one you still wouldn't believe that someone could be that gullible, that vacuous. Some slick city dude, posing to be a conservative stalwart, shows up and starts hawking a bill of goods to people who take pride in their illiteracy and ignorance. They were made to order for con-men like Vance and Trump. Trump and Vance have not done nor will do anything for these people. But they are so quick to forget, so easily fooled, there is no consequence to be paid. Did you hear any Republican Floridians thanking Biden for the immediate assistance after Ian? Again, Trump would have let them soak in salt water for weeks, but they would have stood by him. THAT is what democracy is up against.
Reader (NYC)
My whole family has early voted for Ryan. Go, Ryan, go! You are putting the soul back into the politics of a wonderful state!
jbraudis (Sydney AU)
So what is he in the voters mind, a surrogate Trump? Makes me wonder how Mamaw would respond to the incredible lack of character and integrity he's demonstrated.
Julie (Ohio)
@jbraudis the same thought occurred to me. I believe she would be so very ashamed of him.
Nancy Lederman (New York City)
JD Vance's Hillbilly Elegy made clear he was a total fake, an elitist masquerading as an anti-elitist. His political campaign is nothing but the same empty posturing aimed at a vulnerable base.
Rachel LeBlanc (Powell River, BC, Canada)
This is SO well-written! That last sentence is the coup d'etat. Brilliant!
Blackeyed Susan (Planet Earth)
Coup de grace?
Chris Wren Stanford (Gold Spike)
Well, the Amityville Horror was initially published and catalogued as non-fiction. Hillbilly elegy will eventually join it on the fiction shelf as well.
Libby D (Boise)
Uuugh! U.S. Politics. Is there anything as vile, and immoral? I am ashamed for all of them. They can borrow some of my shame since they have none.
For the Marine who cowers before Gen. Bonespurs: Simper Fi
chuckohio (florida)
Being in Ohio for the summer and fall has given me , a happy to Rhino, time to reflect on the fact my MAGA Republicans have shied away from how they will handle INFLATION. MAGA is a group that only offers criticism rather than solutions in political advertising. Where is MAGA's blue print to resolve the inflation problem affecting so any Ohioans. Vance has offered none. His remedy is just blame, blame the opposition. Much like the IMMIGRATION problem. Trump had both house for two solid years and offered no real solution to that problem. And so it goes with the MAGA group.
Sara Lucas (Copley, Ohio)
No thanks. I hope he loses. I see a lot of yard signs supporting him so maybe not. Reading what he said about Alex Jones sounds very nutty. Yikes.
Domenick (NYC)
Am I wrong in detecting a touch of cognitive dissonance peppering the Vance crowd?
The Middle Path (Ohio)
I already voted and for me it counted twice: once for Ryan and once against Vance.
Dan (NJ)
@The Middle Path Careful when you talk like that, you're going to show up on Fox as a bona fide case of liberal voter fraud, plotted and executed in the open on the MSM.
MTP (Ohio)
I am doing all I can to get Tim Ryan elected. Just put out more signs and am going to canvas on Sunday. This is our last shot folks. If the GOP wins, kiss democracy goodbye
Kyle (Portland, OR)
Ohio.... do the right thing & make sure Ryan is the next US Senator
BCasero (Baltimore)
JD Vance is the definition of a fraud.
ABC (Flushing)
Democrats need to let Progressives form their own party. Amputate a diseased part rather than let the organism die. The “endless loony liberal ideas” label is unfairly applied to all Democrats. Excise the tumor
Chester (New Orleans)
Vance will go to his grave inwardly regretting that he did not smack Trump and stomp out of that rally. That's what a real man would have done. How does he live with himself? Oh, right....he's an ass kisser.
Orbis Deo (San Francisco)
He’s a tool but no fool. From the very first paragraph to its close Elegy was about all that.
RM (Worcester)
Losers attract losers. Con Don, JD wear the same clothe: narcissist, corrupt and would do anything to achieve power. Hope Ohioans have the sense to know the true color of acolyte of con Don, most corrupt creature in the universe.
Drew (Cleveland)
I remember when Ohio was represented by the likes of John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. Even Rob Portman is at least a decent human being. We deserve better than these fear-mongering bigoted opportunists.
pigeon (mt vernon, wi)
Anyone who reads Mr. Vance's execrable memoir will quickly realize what a craven opportunist he is. After benefitting from every possible social service agency and the unceasing efforts of underpaid and under-appreciated public schools teachers he now pretends to have pulled himself up by the bootstraps sewn by his "cracker gramma". Well it doesn't scan. He's the poster boy for what's wrong with America; an America that has bet the house on finance while simultaneously de-industrializing and hollowing out the middle class. Vance is an obsequious phony wearing the garb of false populism.
Di (California)
@pigeon One of the people who will take help...only after a song and dance about how they're different from all of "those people" who want help.
Carlotta (Orange Beach)
No no that all started in the 1970’s when we wuz free range chickens in Harrisburg. The 1960’s tore down all the chicken wire fences and chaos is very hard for the survellience state to keep up with. Young Black men and white girls had fun, I can tell you that. We had a somewhat similar incubator. Then America’s Grandfather Ronnie Reagan started cracking down on all of us.
Clark (Oahu)
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Mark 8:36
KellyNYC (Hudson Valley)
JD Vance is yet another formerly anti-trump guy who sold his soul and integrity in the hopes of getting elected. Sadly, this story has been repeated too many times. Hopefully voters in Ohio send him packing. Mamaw would be ashamed of him.
Dan (NJ)
Pride has no place in trump land, just crass emotional self indulgence.
drailer (los angeles)
I can't say for certain but I suspect Mawmaw would be ashamed of his groveling to Trump.
Stu B Hill (CNY)
“He’s an opportunist,” she said. “He knows what he has to do to win, but I think, deep down, he hates it.” The definition of of a soulless opportunist toady whose mantra, along with most Republicans, is that “the ends justify the means.”
Anne (Trenton, NJ)
In the 1970’s, I worked with children, teens and parents from Southern Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky. They left coal mining country because jobs were disappearing, coal owners abuse of workers, and middle aged men seeking treatment for black lung disease. I read Hillbilly Elegy and found the book to portray coal mining area residents in a false stereotypical manner. Inside of writing about the loss of decent paying jobs due to automation of coal mining jobs & f move towards natural gas as an energy source, the closure of small & medium manufacturing companies due to trickle down economic corporate policies, and big Pharma making fortunes from opioid sales, Vance blamed ‘Hillbillies’ as lazy, dependent on government handouts and non-religious. Vance did not write about the disinvestment of the region by private and public policies. Instead he blame the poor for being poor.
Dr Tim Martindell (Houston, TX)
@Anne As someone who also grew up in Middletown, Ohio, I was interested in reading his memoir; however, upon the book, I decided that historical fiction was a more apt description of the work. I found his writing to be, at best, a generalization of the "hillbillies" that I knew as classmates and friends. He was fortunate to have many of the same Middletown High School teachers that taught my friends and me - although we were a generation older.
Anne (Trenton, NJ)
While reading the book, I was livid. I agree with you that the book was historical fiction not a true portrayal of the region.
David (Cincinnati)
Blue jeans evoked his hardscrabble upbringing, and a crisp dress shirt conveyed his success as a Yale Law School graduate, venture capitalist and best-selling memoirist — with the open collar signaling that he was still just J.D. ... The more I read about Yale Law School graduates, the less respect I have for the university.
Mutt Furball (The Great Flyover)
Having grown up in a Midwestern rural community but was able to escape after high school, I picked up a copy of Vance’s book. About 28 pages in, I realized that I just didn’t care…
Avery (NYC)
J.D. Vance will learn -- as Mike Pence did before him -- the sycophant's ultimate reward is contempt.
Cody (British Columbia)
@Avery Not to mention Guliani, who in the end was not paid by Trump (like so many before him).
Steven Dalkowski (Brooksville ME)
Sprinkled with the occasional death threat.
Jeff (Montana)
Trump called it right. His ambition comes with a price tag of public humiliation, just like Ted Cruz accepted Trump's opinion that Ted's wife was fat and ugly. And this is what the entrance requirement is to be a GOP senator in 2022. I'm not sure why people vote for Republicans. I guess they like people who have no dignity left.
Tbone (Hawaii)
@Jeff these voters have no dignity
Mark Keller (Portland, Oregon)
While presenting himself as the kid who grew up down the block, JD Vance embodies the very things that he harshly criticizes: A coastal elite: Vance is the Ivy League educated, West Coast financial elitist swooping in to act like a down-to-earth person of humble habits and tastes; Dishonesty: Vance wears an awe-shucks, what-you-see-is-what-you-get patina like a badge; yet he lies constantly about his flip flops on issues, and, most importantly, Donald Trump. In my neck of the woods, we would use the expression: "All hat and no cattle".
Finny (Fullerton, CA)
Pictures of his supporters speak a 1,000 words.
nickdastardly (Tampa)
According to the article, Vance believes the US has a failed social system that discourages personal responsibility and feeds resentment against the government. However, he recently said that Democrats are allowing Mexican drug traffickers to flood the country with drugs in orders to kill Republican voters. Apparently, Republican voters don’t have enough personal responsibility to say no to drugs like Nancy said to do. He’s excusing their behavior and blaming it on the Democrats. He’s encouraging people to resent the government because of their own personal failings. He also pushes the great replacement theory. The guy is a snake oil salesman.
maitena (providence, ri)
@nickdastardly exactly, I just finished his book. The lesson he took away from his challenging childhood is that poor white folks like him are made lazy by government assistance. He expressed contempt for the community that raised him.
Themis (State College, PA)
“God, Guns and Trump”. I can’t understand how Democrats don’t recognize this as a declaration of war. It’s the reason I’m not a Democrat any more.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Themis I’m unaffiliated as neither party adds value to our politics-just urinary jousting contests.
Joe (New York)
They are both equally bad is intentional deception, and so obviously false, that it can no longer be thought of as intellectually lazy as I once thought.
I don't get it.
Dave (Madison, Ohio)
The thing that a lot of people outside of Ohio don't understand: Most elections in Ohio aren't as close as Ryan-Vance is looking. It's a solidly red state most of the time, who voted for Trump in 2020 with a fairly wide margin. Vance is doing unusually badly for an Ohio Republican. And that is in part because, as the article documents, he's been caught doing the dance many Republicans have been doing trying to have it both ways when it came to his relationship with Trump: Anything other than complete loyalty to Trump is unacceptable for the MAGA base, while any signs of loyalty to him is suspect in the eyes of people who want US democracy to continue. As for me, I'm delighted that Ryan even has a chance.
eheck (Ohio)
@Dave I am sincerely hoping that Vance will have his hat handed to him much in the way that Ken Blackwell's was handed to him in 2006.
Chris (NJ)
Vance, a moderate Republican, pretended to be a Trumpist to secure the Republican nomination. His opponent Tim Ryan, meanwhile, has been running adds championing patriotism, avoiding any mention of Biden or the Democratic party, and even boasting that he voted with Trump on trade--in other words, pretending to be a moderate Republican. Politicians do and say whatever they can to get elected. A cigar is just a cigar.
Geoff (California)
So much of our population has been hoodwinked by the tough-guy/back to the roots/blame the elites and the progressives appeal of so many GOP wannabes today, that they've simply cast aside any notion of our national collective wellbeing. It's the bill for 400 years (yes, from 1619) of greedy, unequal and money driven politics occasionally slowed down, but not stoped, by our better angels. It was just an experiment after all.
Billy (The woods are lovely, dark and deep.)
Vance was right about Trump the first time when he called him America's Hitler. And Trump is right about Vance too when he labeled him an ass kisser.
ABC (Flushing)
Vance and Ryan are both sensible practical people— moderates. Democrats need to let Progressives form their own party. Amputate a diseased part rather than let the whole organism die. Today’s Democrat exemplified: Serial killer Darrell Brooks went to a July 4 parade to shoot whites from a rooftop. He shot a 5 year old in the spine. Why no photo of Brooks? Brooks is protected by Democrats. No photo of criminals from that privileged demographic. It’s similar to media broadcasts to look for a criminal on the loose and they give you a description of the perp’s clothes not the perp— as if the clothes committed the crime.
NYC58 (New York City)
@ABC The July 4 parade shooter was NOT Darrell Brooks. Darrell Brooks was the guy who ran his SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, MI last November. The July 4 parade shooter was Robert Crimo. Totally different person. This is a pretty major oversight. Additionally, I have seen more photos and articles of both these guys than I care too. I don't know how you are able to support your accusation against Democrats but the fact that you can't even correctly name the assailant doesn't help your argument.
Kurt Tidmore (Lubbock, Texas)
@ABC No photo of Brooks for the same reason nobody ever mentions the name of the Parkland High School shooting -- to deny him the publicity.
Betsy (Iowa)
@ABC Sorry but you are getting your stories confused. Darrell Brooks was the killer in the Waukesha parade in November. His killing device was an SUV and there are plenty of pictures and videos of Brooks. He was convicted yesterday of all accounts. So if you are going to stand and point fingers, at least get your story right. And then stop saying things like "amputate a diseased part" about a political group. You are tearing our country apart.
C Ray (USA)
The sad truth is that a large majority of voters will still sit out the election. All these trump bootlickers running on lies and yet the public remains willfully ignorant or worse apathetic to reality
Mary Canady (MD)
I bet he used the GI Bill to pay for his education. That gave him a big Government hand-up out of “hill-billyism.”
Tim (Los Angeles)
I'm tired of everyone with a brain trying to understand, deconstruct and forcast MAGA nation. It's willfull ignorance naked self-interest. Done. Now let's go live our lives.
Bowman (United States)
@Tim Well...no. Not that easy. Inevitably the risk and costs of willful ignorance and naked self-interest become somebody else's problem, the way so many maskless anti-vax militants coughed in the faces of their neighbors and cost incalculable lives and treasure. It does indeed get frustrating when (as happens every day here in The Times) one more lazy diagnosis of the obvious passes for insight. But no one can afford to just go "live their life" without treating willful ignorance and its loudmouth proponents as what they are: enemies. Living your life with those people around means acting soberly, taking precautions against their stupidity, and defeating them tactically every time the chance arises. What the MAGA herd fails to see is that their mindset is a weakness, and they it hurts them first and hardest when they try to weaponize it. They need to be defeated in every arena where empirical realism is the superior armament. Their businesses; their organizations and institutions; their governments and leaders; even their churches--nowhere are they actually safe and protected by their MAGA mindlessness. No concessions to them are needed. Reality isn't a construct of politics. They keep hinting that they want a civil war. They're already in one. They're already losing.
Janice (New York)
@Tim Thank you! Frankly I’m sick of hearing, reading and thinking about them! Why is it that we’re all supposed to understand, feel sorry for and emphasize with their lives when they hate the rest of us? Give me a break and please give us a break from trump! Sheesh it’s been two years since he lost the election. It’s nonstop drama and doom and gloom!
Sven Svensson (Grebbestad)
J.D. Vance will be a wonderful, patriotic voice in the senate.
Greg a (Lynn, ma)
@Sven Svensson And then what? We need more than platitudes.
Kurt Tidmore (Lubbock, Texas)
@Sven Svensson If what you want is a "man" who's willing to be insulted in public by a reality TV star.
Jeff (Montana)
@Sven Svensson Not to mention obsequious.
jojo (chicago)
Another would be politician beholden to trump. I am waiting for the day when trump is a rambling old man everyone ignores.
Tommy (Orlando)
Regarding Trump’s incredibly disrespectful comment to Mr. Vance, all the Marines I have ever known wouldn’t have taken that without a multiple four letter word response, especially when the slur was from a documented draft dodger.
Joey (Cleveland)
So you wud have lashed out at Trump at his rally in the middle of 6,000 rabid Trump supporters … you are a brave man
HT (Ohio)
@Joey Marines are known for their bravery.
Bowman (United States)
He lives in a fantasy narrative of himself. He's selling it to his followers.
Ernest Senior (Upstate NY)
Any publicity is good publicity. What's his opponent's name again?
John LeBaron (MA)
His name is Tim Ryan. He's a real Congressman. He actually accomplishes real things for the American people, you know, infrastructure, health care, and things like that? Now, what's your name again?
Jill WC (NY)
Tim Ryan, who is terrific and gets just as much publicity.
Ernest Senior (Upstate NY)
@John LeBaron My apologies. Doesn't take much for a profile piece on this guy to honk me off. Tim Ryan, on the other hand, seems to be good at his job and my Ohio friends are rooting for him. And to be fair to this paper, they did a good piece or two on him this week too.
BayArea101 (Midwest)
My money is on Vance as the winner over Trump in the Who's Using Who the Best game.
nilootero (Pacific Palisades)
What people say is interesting. What people do is telling. Where do Mr. Vance's children attend school, in California or in Ohio? Do they attend public school? If two Yale Law School graduates live in San Francisco are they members of the elite? What if the same couple lives in Ohio? Bearing in mind that his wife makes more money than he does, why does he continue to deprive his children of a traditional stay at home parent by failing to do just that himself? If he doesn't hate America, then why does he hold its population in such obvious contempt?
DD (upstate NY)
Another Republican candidate who we can only hope does not get elected to the Senate by the good people of Ohio. There are too many opportunists there already.
Livonian (Los Angeles)
There is perhaps no bigger dissapointment in politics to me right now than JD Vance. I read "Hillbilly Elegy," and various interviews where he spoke his thoughts on what government's duties are to ordinary people (and what they shouldn't be), and it was so refreshing. Exciting, even! Here was a temperamentally conservative person who had lived through the wreckage wrought by Trickle Down economics, "government is the problem" Reaganism, and Clintonian globalization. He never let his own people off the hook for their often self-destructive reponses to having been sold out, and hammered on their dysfunctional culture. Here seemed to be the first Republican politician to come from the new consensus being quietly born in various conservative think tanks, that government actually has a role beyond just cutting taxes and regulations and gutting the social safety net, and that it should be to shore up the middle class and healthy families. And then came Trump, who poisons everything he touches. There goes JD Vance, selling out to that rotten creature just to be able to get into the game.
Di (California)
I've been saying ever since his book came out, he's playing both sides against each other, talking out of both sides of his mouth, and you can trust him as far as you can throw him. Bootstraps and a kick in the behind from a grandma straight out of a Jeff Foxworthy "you might be a redneck" bit got him from regular guy to a super successful college educated guy. So listen to him! Yeah. The same kind of guy that he and his ilk turn around and tell people they should distrust for being elite, elitist snobs who hate "real" shower-after-work Americans. Whose side is he on? His own.
Ritz (Davis)
Vance has shown himself to be an opportunist when he can flip so easily in changing his view of Trump from being Hitler-like to being his greatest president. Ohioans should be aware of this snake oil salesman. A liar is going to be a liar for life. His interest in power and fame are the only factors that matter to him, not to work for the Ohioans.
artist (earth)
The real problem is that Democrats need to get off their complacent backsides and get out to places like rural Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even western and upstate New York, which is a disaster area. Communities there look as if they’re stuck in 1950. It’s a disgrace. There are millions of voters who would vote for democrats if they’d make the effort to improve the lives of those people. Who here has been to western New York? Rural Ohio or Indiana? Western Pennsylvania? Southern Illinois? And never mind the blighted rural areas of the South. Louisiana, anyone? It’s bleak. Tim Ryan needs to be speaker of the House. I love Nancy Pelosi, but we need new ideas and leaders from places that are suffering, not from the wealthy hoods of San Francisco.
Eva Lockhart (Minneapolis)
Yes to Tim Ryan and I think Nancy herself knows it...she looks weary and she should be. Love Nancy, but it's time to pass the torch.
Les (Pacific NW)
@artist Rural areas of Washington, Oregon and California also appear to be stuck in a time warp, but a fix is elusive. When the timber mill in my dad’s hometown failed in 1938, my great grandfather was appointed to a state economic revitalization board, and its recommendations were the same as those recommended forty years later when the timber industry around my hometown collapsed. The recommendations didn’t work in either case, nor did those same recommendations work in the Rust Belt. So, just as in earlier periods of US history, people sucked it up and moved to areas with better opportunities. Many urban and suburban dwellers are the descendants of people who moved to where the jobs are, although remote work may finally provide a partial solution.
Peter (Maryland)
@artist Nancy never should've run for Speaker in 2018 - I believe she promised then to only serve until Trump left office. So much for that.
Dan (SLC, UT)
I hope Mr. Vance loses, not because I think he is a bad person, but because he is a weak person. The GOP is being taken over by RINOs like Trump who are nothing but hucksters. To think a successful person would grovel to a loser like Trump is beyond me. It could also explain why a lot of good people stay away from politics. I pray that Ohioans will realize they are being jerked around.
Lisa Rigge (Pleasanton CA)
How about dedicating this much space about Rep Tim Ryan? Or did I miss something?
Tracey (NYC)
Ah, the very people who rely on social security and Medicare and need insulin and child care will vote for the party that consistently votes against those things...because Vance and Trump are "sticking up for them." The irony would be laughable if their misplaced votes didn't also affect the rest of us.
Cody (British Columbia)
Here's a little hint: the people who are constantly advertising their righteousness - I grew up in the country, I know what real work means, I'm an alpha male, I actually worked on a farm, I actually love God, I'm a real Christian, that group of people are sinners, I'm a real patriot, I know what real family values are - are never the real deal... that goes for Vance and everyone in the audience in that picture.
Nicholas Fillmore (Hawai’i)
He got punked out, a price to pay on any terms.
Vince Carter (Washington, DC)
Sadly, if J.D. Vance wins the Senate seat, he'll be another "do nothing of substance" Republican. The Rs passed the 2017 tax legislation which heightened the wealth divide in this country. But too many voters are incapable of seeing how badly they're being disadvantaged by the Rs. Vance's family will be no better off if he gets into office, nor will those who vote for him. But DJT will continue to pull in donor money to support his lifestyle at Mar a Lago, and Tucker Carlson will continue to make millions off his delusional audience.
Yellow Dog (Oakland, CA)
I read Hillbilly Elegy and I was mystified by the well-meaning people who seemed to believe it contained some wisdom about why Trump won in 2016. It looked like standard right-wing dogma to me. His main message was, “Yeah, my people have fallen on hard times and they don’t seem to be capable of dealing with the loss of their high-paying jobs, but there is nothing government can or should do to help them.” In the dystopian view of Republicans, everyone is on their own. If people can’t make it, that’s on them. There is no appreciation of the fact that everyone’s fate is tied to everyone else’s fate. Those who believe everyone benefits by helping those who need help are just sucker’s the eyes of Republicans.
ABC (Flushing)
The doctrinaire Democrat is a great role to play, like a character in a fantasy game. Reality is different. A politician — any politician — has to know when to compromise. If you are looking for a place where you can go and be eternally pure, woke, uncompromising there are 2 obvious choices. First, you might move to China or Russia. Xi Jin Ping, Putin can afford to be that way. Or go to sleep.
Joseph (Stamford)
@ABC Agreed but not all flip flops and disingenuous statements are equal. Some are more outrageous than others.
Alfred (Hudson valley)
@ABC I am missing the link between been woke and living in Russia. But I guess when people live in a world of their own invention denying facts, logics does not matter anymore.
Paul (Ohio)
“if you declare war on our energy industry, if you drive up the cost of everything” The Ohio Republican house speaker was arrested in July of 2020 for RICO related to taking bribes to let FirstEnergy overcharge Ohioans for energy. Many Republican politicians were implicated. Does JD really think enough Ohioans are stupid enough to fall for his lies? He may well find enough here to achieve a win, which is sad.
HT (Ohio)
@Paul Adding to this... the largest PV solar panel manufacturer (First Solar) in the western hemisphere is in Ohio. They're just committed to spending $460 million to expand their facilities. Instead of supporting this emerging industry, Republicans did everything they could to undermine it.
Suzanne (California)
Vance is a bought hypocrite, like most Republicans running for office, whether it’s Congress or Governor or Mayor. And yes Republicans are coming for Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact we all PAID premiums for it. None of this is a mystery. The mysteries to me are why conservative Republican Trump supporters 1. Hate liberals so much they’d rather be hypocrites than stand for something, anything, real other than hate and anti-democratic policies 2. Believe Trump wants anything other than the money in their pockets - why they love to be grifted. (Because once a grifter, always a grifter.) 3. Are willing to bet on Social Security and Medicare not being taken away. Just like medical privacy and abortion has. Believe them when they say it. But honestly I do understand. They are furious that they are no longer a white male majority. Vance, as smart as he may be, buys into the Republican deal - power over democracy, hypocrisy just a means to an end. The deal remains power at any cost, including American democracy.
Farmer Jason (Ohio)
@Suzanne Attitudes like the one your comment, and many comments here, exemplify are what push generally apolitical, rural blue collar people like me to often vote republican. Assuming I’m a scared, ignorant racist just waiting to be rescued from the clutches of despair and illiteracy is…probably not the way to win my vote. You’re probably a very nice, throughly decent person—let’s try not assuming the worst of large swaths of the citizenry with whom we don’t interact much?
Suzanne (California)
@Farmer Jason I grew up in small Southern towns and know more about which I write than you imagine. I have friends and family across the South - and the country - that I "interact" with often. A few, mostly family, have broken my heart by acting on misinformation and lies. I have former friends in CA, because we disagree so fundamentally. My opinions, what you call attitude, are based in facts. I appreciate your respectful comment. I have no idea how to close the divide. And I agree that generally the differences seem to break by urban/white collar and rural/blue collar. But every state is a mix of red and blue, just like the country. And to quote a former president, there really are good people on both sides, blue and red. But leaders and candidates deliberately seeding doubt about fair elections - that is a pure power grab. More than 100 lawsuits (mostly Republican) already filed? 12 days before the vote? Re: making assumptions about people based on where they live, try not to stereotype me either. But I challenge you - you are not apolitical if your offense at my and others' opinions push you to vote R. Apologies if I've offended you in any way, sincerely, but please, vote with facts, not revenge.
eheck (Ohio)
@Farmer Jason Then it's a good thing that Tim Ryan isn't doing these things that hurt your feelings. JD Vance, on the other hand, wrote an entire book insulting Southern Ohioans. Take it up with Vance. Petulance and hurt feelings over imaginary slights are poor reasons to vote for an obviously unqualified candidate. I'll believe that Republicans are "nice people" when they stop threatening people they don't like or agree with and stop wanting to turn the US into East Germany or Hungary.
Brian (Denver)
Mr. Vance is singing the right tune with abortion. Many in Ohio’s rural areas want to go mid evil on women. Including forcing a 10 year old rape victim to have a product of rape. It’s all about forcing their morality on the rest of Ohio. Outside of that, JD just needs to go on Fox News and stoke the culture wars. He won’t be held accountable for actually achieving anything.
Mask Of Comedy/Tragedy (Northeast)
And so it is clear that Vance will say and do absolutely anything to get ahead in life. This should concern Ohio voters. He is only interested in your vote. Not you. And you’re a fool if you believe otherwise
Paul Wortman (Providence)
JD Vance is another Trump-anointed candidate that will allow Trump to complete his January 6, 2021 coup and overthrow our Constitutional democracy. Everyone who supports government "of the people, by the people, for the people" must vote against him and others who support Trump's white racist authoritarian rule. As Thomas Paine said, "give me liberty or give me death." Vance represents the death of our Republic where no one will be truly free.
Cody (British Columbia)
All of these "hardscrabble" rural folks railing against immigrants; never mind that it is the migrant farm workers, many undocumented, who do the vast majority of actual farm labour in North America and without whom our entire agricultural sector would collapse. I'm talking about actual field labour and meatpacking on an industrial scale here; not about owning the farm, tending your own hobby farm, managing migrant workers - the actual labour, the picking of crops and the packing of meat in factories; this is done by migrants and everyone in rural areas knows this and knows that they rely on that labour. That's why it's somewhat astounding they mostly vote for the guy that promised to deport all 11 million undocumented; because, of course, they know that won't actually happen, but that it's about intimidating migrants and "keeping them in their place." And about making yourself feel righteous. JD too knows that migrant farm workers are the ones "real jobs."
David (NYC)
Another grifter looking to capitalize on the negative economic impact he helped create.
Cody (British Columbia)
His memoir, after all, was fittingly called an "elegy" - that authentic part of his life, his upbringing, is now behind him, and he is free to be a venture capitalist groveling for the approval of a Manhattan billionaire reality TV star.
Ritz (Davis)
@Cody , Trump declaring himself to be a billionair is just another LIE. He makes money by lying and cheating. Those are his only talent to make a living.
nilootero (Pacific Palisades)
@Cody Trump is not from Manhattan, he's from Queens. This doesn't matter much to most people, but it is the key to understanding Trump's pathetic striving to be other than what he is. Nor is he a billionaire, not by a long shot. He's a thousandaire at best, but it's much more likely that he's underwater, a debtor. He's not even a real developer. He's a bad golfer with a very expensive hobby, one that he spent a 400 million dollar inheritance on, trying to appear to be a successful businessman.
Cody (British Columbia)
@nilootero Agreed - I only point out the "billionaire" thing because that is what he presents himself as and then supposedly working class people want to stick it to "elites"... by voting for a self-proclaimed billionaire. Agree also that he is not a businessman or developer, at least not a successful one; according to the NYT investigation of his tax returns etc, the one thing he was actually successful at and made money from was "The Apprentice" and the related branding deals... that says a lot about the US unfortunately.
Robert (New Hampshire)
I knew nothing about Vance other than his name until reading this piece. What is to respect about this individual that he should be voted into office as US Senator? I certainly discerned no platform he stands for that would get my vote. He sounds like another GOP bully seeking power.
IndAm (NC)
Mr. Vance is an intelligent man. He could have chosen to be on the right side of history. Instead, he has chosen to be craven and to pay obeisance to the most unlawful, immoral, traitorous President in modern times - to win this election. For the sake of political power & to do the bidding if his paymasters including Thiel, he has thrown his highly academically credentialed, beautiful brown wife of Telugu (South Indian) heritage and his half Telugu babies. Not to mention her parents & sister. By his (& the racist rw) garbage GRT (great replacement theory), his wife, her family, his own babies are the embodiment of that supposed “theory.” Maybe she’s as craven as him, since she has clerked for both Kavanagh & Roberts. What kind of “man” does that? And are the majority of the people of Ohio okay with that? He is literally on video (rightly) calling Trump out for the con artist that Trump was/is/will be. And now …. Sad!! p.s. history will not be kind to the many who threw their reputations, loyalty to our nation, principles, morals & integrity to the wind in order to ride Trump’s coattails to power.
David Cyphers (Sacramento, Ca.)
Yes, the dying fate of personal responsibility is clearly writing on the wall. Yet there are so many problems plaguing Ohio, the country, the world I hesitate to think that they are easy fixes, as many politicians say "just vote for me." We are in an era of decline. Can politicians slow this decline in any meaningful way? I think it is in our blood to believe anything can be fixed. Poverty, racism, affordable housing , the onslaught of viruses and bacteria, and on and on. I am not a pessimist, though accused often. I am ready for America to take a good long, "reality check." J.d. Vance means well and his backstory is the kind of stuff, America just loves to hear, myself included. I think the country is headed for the perfect storm of disaster. Gas and oil problems, any kind of meaningful and effective change to climate change, all warnings have fallen on our deaf ears. The world is going to pay the price for the damage done to our home and planet. The reality is on it's way. We are too late to fix the problems that have the power to take us down.We need to prepare for this. There is going to be hell to pay , and we are out of time and money. God Bless Us.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
Good grief. J.D. Vance is no different than any other Trump follower - each and everyone one of them have and continues to suck-up to Trump including "kissing [his] ass because they want his support so much". Although just how "very well" J.D. Vance claims to know Trump is somewhat suspect. Chatting a few times and sharing a drink or a laugh does not a bonding friendship make. In all honesty, I believe in my gut that Trump uses people very much like his followers use him and other people. They are all in the "user game" and what they can get out of it for themselves rather than their constituents.
Compos Mentis (Little Pike)
Vance knows exactly what he is doing and knows precisely what motivates Trump. Trump gets a thrill from having people like Vance who have been disdainful of him kiss his ass. He also knows that Trump is equally thrilled by having somebody powerful like the North Korean clown or Putin smooch his butt because they need him. Both Vance and Trump know each other well and they know that enough of the voters that they need are stupid enough not to realize it.
Times Guy (Chicago)
Vance is completely wrong in what he says about Rachel Maddow in comparison with alex jones. It’s obviously true that Maddow is partisan, but she is also meticulously careful that what she reports is factual.She understands that her facts will be checked.jones is the opposite and it has been proven so in court. It’s despicable that he accuses people who have lost their children to murder as paid actors. Of course everyone who reads this article understands this but shame on jd vance for being so craven and despicable . Let’s do what’s necessary to keep him from becoming one of our senators.
Suppan (San Diego)
I think Donald Trump is God's way of testing what we are all made of. Will we loudly overreact to everything he says and does and project our insecurities and mistrust onto him, so much so that no one can tell his crimes from his gaffes? Will we loudly throw our support behind him, kiss his ass, in some desperate hope that he will solve our intractable problems for us? In the process of puckering up will we cast away our values, scruples, friends, knowledge and our manners? Will we passively watch as this society tears itself apart? Will we take advantage of the chaos and make money selling scandalous stories, adoring stories, t-shirts, flags, banners and other paraphernalia? Solicit and raise millions via scary emails from common people? Will we Act calmly and in touch with our better nature and vanquish this threat to our democracy and our common decency? Other choices I have missed? I think Donald Trump is God's way of testing what we are all made of. How are you faring so far? Where do you want to be on this spectrum? Like the old knight says in that movie, "Choose wisely. " Cheers.
Citizen (NYC)
Sure - God is one tricky jokester! What a fun test for humankind. That and a global epidemic. Lot’s of entertainment up there in heaven, like a video game.
Cody (British Columbia)
Great article; Vance definitely deserves to be called out for his stark hypocrisy and utterly transparent abandonment of his touted "principles," if he ever in fact had any. The story of Vance's family and upbringing were interesting, but as soon as his memoir veered into politics it became tedious. In any case, he goes on spiels about how the lower class people in the milieu he was raised in have no sense of personal responsibility, are often lazy and entitled, and blame Democrats or some other conspiracy for all of the personal problems in their lives. The irony, of course, is that he is now stoking the very kind of resentment and entitlement that he railed against in his book, blaming Democrats and the government for the state of your life, your family, your job, your drug addictions, and taking no personal responsibility for anything. Vance did come from poverty to work his way up through a Yale law degree - now he fawns before a Manhattan billionaire reality TV star who lives in a gilded tower; has this dawned on him yet? Maybe he should reread his memoir. Plus, sooner or later Vance will learn the Guliani lesson - that loyalty is a one-way street with Trump.
Walter Ingram (Western MD)
@Cody Vance already knows these things as do most Republicans. That is what makes them so despicable.
HenryParsons (San Francisco, CA)
The biggest problem with JD Vance is that being a us senator is quite clearly the best job he will ever get, and he’s not even qualified the very light responsibilities it entails. Senators don’t manage anything and rarely sponsor legislation that actually gets passed. It’s mostly campaigning, offering soundbites, and raising money. Hillbilly Elegy was a great book, but Vance has done very little with his Yale law degree. His professional history as a “venture capitalist” is a joke to anyone actually in or acquainted with venture capital. And he was never a successful lawyer. And now he’s done a shameless 180 on trump, obviously out of desperation and political expediency. All of the above are the opposite of leadership, and Ohioans shouldn’t want him representing them.
JM (New York)
“Everything Trump Touches Dies” by Rick Wilson seems to have anticipated Vance’s current dilemma: A seemingly rational person embraces a malevolent ignoramus and, well…
Ellen Van pelt (Phoenix)
Can’t even bear to read about this embarrasing hypocrite. Skipped it.
Ray Mullen (San Francisco)
From Hillbilly to Carpetbagger - the JD Vance Story.
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
@Ray Mullen Rather like Oz. From quack surgeon to carpetbagger
Margo (Ohio)
@Joinery Piling Up Mitch McConnell is right. The Repub candidates have an overall quality problem.
Sparky (NYC)
Vance believes in nothing except personal advancement. He will tell any lie and smooch any behind to get ahead. He is the very worst America has to offer.
Scottilla (Brooklyn)
"if you declare war on our energy industry, if you drive up the cost of everything and if you open up the southern border, we’re not going to take it anymore." Democrats have done NONE of those things. The intersection of Republicans and people who value facts is empty. That is what we have to address, in real time, people!
QTCatch10 (NYC)
I struggle a bit to imagine the fallout if a *completely* phony media figure like this guy gets elected. Can you imagine a senate that includes Vance AND Kari Lake AND Mehmet Oz? This feels like the beginning of a very dark toboggan slide to a world where our senate actually does become a laughingstock, as opposed to an occasional punching bag. Somehow it even feels different/worse than the initial idea of the first Trump presidency, which we can still squint and pretend was a fluke.
Danielle (USA)
@QTCatch10 Don't forget Herschel Walker!! I feel like we are collectively on an episode of that TV show "Punked". I'm just waiting for Ashton Kutcher to jump out.
Betsy (Houston)
I hear Ashton is contemplating a Senate run in 2024. Why not?
The fact that Vance continues to sell himself as a son of Appalachia is an embarrassment. He left that region a long time ago, and while his "memoir" certainly tells a good story, it is far from accurate to the whole of the region. He traffics in the same old stereotypes that have haunted the American psyche about this part of the country for hundreds of years, and it's sad that, again, a person can profit (and profit well) by reinforcing the same old tripe. Those interested in a fuller account of life in this part of the country might should read "Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy" to get a more realistic and nuanced view. Now, as far as his senatorial bid, the thought that this obsequious dilettante could beat a man like Tim Ryan who would actually work to help the people of Ohio instead of just to enrich himself, is horribly sad, but such is the world we live in today.
artist (earth)
His use of the term “hillbilly” is deeply offensive, just like redneck, hick, and cracker. And what has he done to help? Not a tinkers dam.
FedUp (Alaska)
Vance and his Republican pals, including the truly cringeworthy Lyndsey Graham, are unfit and must be turned away. It is so sad that the weak and simple among us are taken in by these truly awful people.
WTig3ner (CA)
"Mr. Trump told a packed rally in Youngstown that Mr. Vance was a suck-up." Well of course he is. No one gets even a phony show of approval from Trump without being one. Some of what Mr. Vance has made of his life is admirable. Unfortunately, what endears him (however temporarily) to Trump is that Mr. Vance now is embarked on a poor, dysfunctional adulthood. Wasn't it Ben Franklin who said something about lying down with dogs?
Sad (Illinois)
A really terrible writer and an individual who sucked at the teat of government. Thank you for your service and healthcare that you were paid for with federal taxes. Now believes he's a self-made man. Give me a break. The real losers are the Republicans that support this opportunist. Bought and paid for by Trump and Peter Thiel. Gross.
Len (Pennsylvania)
Donald Trump's ego gets a huge massage when politicians who denounced him when he first ran for office now kiss his ring in order to get his blessing. Trump admittedly loves it when the "Trump Haters" evolve into "Trump Lovers." A blind person could see that Trump values loyalty but only in one direction, coming his way. Vance is a kiss-ass, along with Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Mario Rubio. What glorious company Vance is now in. Hypocrites all.
J. (Here and There)
I’m fascinated that Vance and his wife, who is Asian Indian heritage, think that she and their mixed race children will be immune from the xenophobic hatred of people of color by today’s white nationalist Republican Party.
Suzanne (Charleston SC)
He and Graham, egodrunk sycophants
John B. (NY)
Before Vance was a candidate and a Trump stooge, I bought and read his "Hilbilly" book. Half way through it, I remarked to my wife that Vance was a fabulist; half of his hillbilly stories were mere family myths, while the other half were exaggerated or made up out of whole cloth. One can see how his tales would have been eaten up by his contemporaries at the ultimate elite institution, the Yale Law School. And eventually by book buyers and reviewers. Now that we know he is a Trumpian con man, I'm certain I was right. The guy is full of beans.
brupic (nara/greensville)
is there a western democracy that has more craven politicians than the country the sky fairy loves above all others?
Pioneer Lion (Maryland)
Not really. People in Vance's hometown may be grumbling a bit, but they pretty much all say they are voting for him...and the votes are all that matter. There is nothing here of substance in terms of a credibility effect that raises his unfavorables, at all.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Peter Theil wouldn't have lasted ten minutes at Mamaw's table and JD should think about that Vance is a fraud, a sellout and an embarrassment to values he once professed and clearly has discarded. He used a fake charity to see if a senate run was possible. He didn't help anyone He was truthful about Trump being bad for Ohio and now says he was the greatest president in his lifetime Vote for Ryan so he never has to say I told you so as he fights to keep your Medicare and Social Security intact.
Nancy (Cincinnati)
I don't think the people supporting Vance and Trump dislike what the Biden and Democratic leadership has advanced for our country. What they DO like is the reflecting the glory of these big mouths, who will say and do anything for a laugh or an insult with impunity, as if it is they on the stage. The big bully is rarely put in his place because kids somehow admire that cruelty and bluster (unless it's against them), wishing they were able to be that "powerful". And they forget that the bluff isn't a bluff when it's a government official with power and money behind him, making bully rules that they are forced to obey
JNR2MAD (Spain)
The narrative of snobbery by coastal elites and their dismissive attitude toward middle America often seems overstated and exaggerated. Then we get JD Vance to demonstrate that the coastal elites, i.e., the New York Times, made the problem worse by trumpeting Vance's book, making it sell like hotcakes, and giving him a platform from which to run for Senate. (The book was an embarrassment.) Now, it feels like the coastal elites are trying to make up for their shortsightedness by putting this charlatan on display every day and shining a light on his flaws. Maybe the coastal elites should be a bit more discerning in the things they anoint as valuable in the first place, instead of rushing to trumpet the hot new thing because sometimes that hot new thing causes environmental damage.
Walter Ingram (Western MD)
@JNR2MAD Never really thought about that. A good point. Perhaps Vance is a stronger and more manipulative player, than we thought.
HT (Ohio)
@JNR2MAD I love it when people who live nowhere near Ohio tell us what we think and why we think it. I've lived in Ohio for 30 years. The only people who complain about the snobbery of coastal elites live on the coasts. Coastal snobbery has very little effect on the average Ohioan's day to day life.
leftyrite (Bristol County, Mass.)
I read Mr. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy when it first came out. Title was great. Author's name was great. My senior group wanted to read it. Everything clicked. T'was mighty disillusioning when the wrongheaded movie came out. Ron Howard and J.D. were diminished in my eyes in one fell swoop. J.D. decided to catch the nearest way. And the nearest way was venture capitalism and Trump. He bottled himself while he was still raw.
Z (Indiana)
I think I'm going to run for Senate. I can complain about all the things in my life I don't like. I can blame others for my problems. I can tell you how I've been cheated. I can go to church on Sunday and play make believe. I can strap a gun to my hip and scream "LAW AND ORDER!" I can present no policy ideas and demonize the others. I can value a fetus and cheer on the death penalty. Elect me?
Scottilla (Brooklyn)
Only if you run as a Republican.
Margo Channing (Nw York)
@Z Sounds like the perfect Republican candidate.
Jane K (Northern California)
“My intuition with Trump — it’s interesting,” Mr. Vance had said. “I think that he gets a certain kick out of people kissing his ass. But I also think he thinks that people who kiss his ass all the time are weak.” Mr Vance is exactly right on that point. The Republicans who look for his endorsement are either weak or not very intelligent. Politicians like JD Vance, Greg Abbott and Ted Cruz are not stupid, but they do show themselves to be weak. Tommy Tuberville or Herschel Walker are a different story entirely. More intelligent Republicans like JD Vance, Ted Cruz and Kevin McCarty know better, but have made their desire for power rather than serving the American people even more obvious by their obsequious behaviors to TFG. Even if I agreed with the Republican Party’s ethos, I would have a hard time voting for someone who follows his party leader around like a puppy dog. How can they have any self respect?
Joshua Thomas (Minneapolis)
There really aren’t any good choices for either party, but they want that sort of malaise in the general populace. I d also argue that most voters that think the government should be determining our culture, commodity prices, etc are simply clueless and/or dangerous. There is no long term vision here other than how can we continue to Rob from the future to appease the present.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
Opportunism - The practice of taking advantage of any situation or people to achieve an end, often with no regard for principles or consequences. The above says it all.
Maria (Cresskill, NJ)
@Wang An Shih Yes, indeed. One minute he is musing aloud about trump being the American hitler, and the next he's calling trump the best president in his lifetime. I suspect Vance hasn't had any close contact with a principle in a very long time.
Robert (Out West)
I grew up (to the extent I ever did) in towns way smaller than Middletown, out in the boonies, on the edge of Appalachia, and spent about twenty years working in a smallish town out in the middle of nowhere. And people were pretty much what they were—there were insults they wouldn’t take, period, for one thing—and some of the people they elected were awful, but they never twisted themselves into pretzels and sucked up like this. At least not in public. So while I thought Vance had a fair point about country people to start with, he ain’t country. Just another slick, rich pol, Ted Cruz in the making. I hope Tim Ryan pounds him with his own carpetbag. Oh, and here’s question. If Mamaw was so darn impressive, how’d his brothers and sisters turn out so badly?
@Robert Truth. New Yorker by way of rural E. Washington bordering Idaho here. I'm a gay democrat, and I'm with you. "He ain't country." Vance's "bootstrap" narrative has always had holes, as Kelly Cuvar points out in this article. "However flimsy," he had safety nets in place. He grew up in an actual house. And his family OWNED it. Not to minimize his childhood difficulties. We all had them as poor kids but owning the house you live in is suggests a lesser degree of poverty than Vance likes to project.
jeff (Colorado)
Vance seems like just another opportunist who (probably) knows the truth about the damage Trump has done to our democracy but doesn't care as long as he (Vance) wins his election. And the video of Trump calling out Vance's obviously sucking up sure didn't seem like the ex-President was telling a joke.
Observer (Mid-Atlantic)
I will venture to guess that Vance doesn’t really know what he wants or who he is. Is he an attorney, a poor kid who caught some breaks, a butt-kissing Trump wannabe, or a venture capitalist? He seems like he is grasping futilely for an imaginary brass ring….we have too many elected officials like him, caught up in winning an election but not knowing what they will do if they catch the proverbial bus.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
I peek occasionally at the candidates running for office in my state of residence. One, although he doesn’t represent my district, has a claim to fame of believing the big lie. Aside from that we hear little from him. Another who uses his “celebrity” as a retired military pilot as his qualification as a member of Congress. And he is another Trumpist. We don’t hear much from him either. But, I never expected to see any real accomplishments. Last but not least is a two-term Senator, who was silent concerning the insurrection and attempted coup but now condemns it-but not the chief antagonist-the need for the maga vote, you know. Many of these politicians, Vance, Oz, Lee and others may be sworn into office in January 2023, but, if those who vote for them have expectations of the politicians working for them, good luck. Recently in this publication it was reported a member of Congress claimed the people sent him to Congress to protect and defend Trump. Interesting. I didn’t realize the oath of office had been changed-unless Trump is now the entity we pledge allegiance to. So, vote for Vance, Oz, Walker, Owens and the rest. But keep in mind their beliefs in serving the country may be the opposite of our beliefs. But, Trump endorsed them. That’s all that matters.
Pricella Alden (Oxford Ohio)
Ray Bradbury’s and a Disney film no less- Something Wicked This Way Comes. This is all I can think of after reading this reporting. The three children in tbe SUV coming from a wonderfully mixed heritage? How will they reconcile? Some of the small Midwestern folks lost their souls in the tale.
TXY (Tacoma WA)
Whatever he was or said before, Vance is just another looney Trumper. He seems to have little to offer the people of Ohio except the standard white grievance/ culture war/ conspiracy theory mumbojumbo. It seems that a lot of Ohio thinks that such mumbojumbo will improve their lives. They are sadly mistaken.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@TXY In DBT, days before Trump, we had many loonies but mostly those who served themselves-at the lobbyist and taxpayer troughs, before serving country. We knew those were “attributes” of our officials. But should one stray, the consequences were harsh. Now in post-DBT, the feeding is at the trough, usually the bottom of the trough, of Trump in hopes of a morsel of recognition, or a slight mention by Dear Leader so that mention or endorsement can be added to the sad and lacking resume of the bottom feeder. In days past we would refer to our Members of Congress as “honorable”. Today, what makes them honorable when they pledge fealty and loyalty-and in the case of Vance, ass-kissers? A few are still honorable-but only a hand full in the party of Trump. So, I refer to them as trumpists. And that isn’t honorable.
Cat (US)
Robert Turnage (West Sacramento, CA)
Dam straight he thinks they’re weak.
Adams Wofford (Durham, NC)
JD is phony as a three dollar bill. Another suck-up who would do anything to get elected. If he had any authenticity he would tell Trump to go to hell. We already have a Lindsey Graham and a Ted Cruz in the Senate. Why do we need another one?
Eileen (Silver Spring, MD)
I loved "Hillbilly Elegy" so much. But I hate what J.D.Vance has become even more. What happened. Harvard Law School graduate? I do not understand how someone can evolve into someone can evolve into a Trumpper and even tolerate the "kiss my ass" comment. Even more scary to me are the many many folks who side with Trump and Vance. I am thinking they see themselves as victims of the left liberalism. Is the cause economic hardship (low socio-economic status)? Whatever the cause, Trumpism is not the answer. I hope!
ehr (md)
@Eileen Hillbilly Elegy, in my opinion, was flimsy, superficial and received outsized attention -even then JD was revealed as a self-promoter and not someone seriously grappling with how to solve the problem of poverty. A much better book on the same topic is Ramp Hollow by Steven Stoll. Trumpism will keep the masses happy by telling them they're part of the "team" while at the same time stripping them of material worth, opportunity, dignity and the possibility of an environmentally stable future. Men get to dominate and women get to be treated like baby-producing pets. In return they get to "own" the libs and the so-called elites (they don't have a problem with rapacious wealthy people--just with thoughtful educated people). Many are happy with this tradeoff.
philapa (Pennsylvania)
It's even worse: he went to Yale Law, not Harvard.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@Eileen "What happened? Harvard Law School graduate?" In reality, it’s very difficult to fail out of Harvard. Sure, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out, but they didn’t fail out. Neither did Robert Frost, Matt Damon, or William Randoph Hearst. Failing out of Harvard is not an easy feat – you have to really work hard at that.
Stephen Hawking's Football Boots (Nashville, TN)
Lyin' Ted, Little Marco and now Kiss-*ss JD. The beat goes on.
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
It is amazing and disgusting to see how much politicians will grovel to gain votes and endorsements. Vance writes about hillbillies. I grew up "In the sticks." There isn't much difference between the two groups. But both have a very clear understanding of the term "kissing my ass" means. In Mr. Vance's case, he is insulting the intelligence of his "hillbillies." The very people he claims to know so much about. Indeed, they "can read him like a book."
Pauline Mott (Merritt BC Canada)
@Tom Q I read his book and he described his childhood growing up in an industrial city which is hardly 'the sticks'. He spent a few weeks in the summer visiting Appalachian cousins but I don't think summer vacations qualify as the place you grew up in.
Ansapphire54 (MA)
So he is will to sell his soul to one of the most corrupt Presidents in history. To do whst if he wins. Screw over the people and place were he was born. If elected the people he will serve are men like Peter Thiel who he really owes his allegiance to.
MjR (Joshua Tree, Va)
I suspect that his memaw wouldn’t approve and that is the true burden he will have to carry the rest of his life. Reading Hillbilly Elegy was not in the least bit enlightening. He wrote as if his experience was unique when in fact there are millions of memaws, grammas and nanas taking on the role of “spine” of the family scrambling to gather up the little ones that had been abandoned literally or figuratively and to really be there when needed. Not a one who would stay silent as the pride of her was publicly called a kiss ass. Certainly not the one he wrote about in his books.
Peggy in NH (Live Free or Die)
Mr. Trump told a packed rally in Youngstown that Mr. Vance was a suck-up. “J.D. is kissing my ass he wants my support so much…” Mr. Vance’s silence was deafening. He might as well have said, “Sir, yes sir!” What an embarrassment to the Marine Corps and to his family. Vance is not for Ohio, he is for Vance. Period. Ohio voters have one of the best candidates running in 2022 in Tim Ryan. Can you picture Tim Ryan sucking up to anyone? I can’t.
Will. (NYCNYC)
I'm less concerned about Vance's fealty to Donald Trump. That is indeed embarrassing "ass kissing", but it's transparent phoniness. I'm much more concerned about his fealty to his real boss and sugar daddy Peter Thiel. Mr. Thiel is a real danger. He is a billionaire with no interest in democracy or even America (he has three passports and an "escape" compound in New Zealand). Mr. Vance owes Mr. Thiel everything he has. Let me assure you that Peter Thiel most certainly does not have the interests of the average Ohio voter at heart.
Kenton (San Francisco, CA)
@Will. 100% This is where the focus should be, on Peter Thiel and his "agenda," if you can even make out what it even is. Vance is completely and entirely owned by Thiel. That is the real story.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
Good grief. J.D. Vance is no different than any other Trump believer - each and everyone one of them have and continues to suck-up to the guy including "kissing [his] ass because they want his support so much". Just now sure how "very well" J.D. Vance claims to know Trump. Chatting a few times and sharing a drink or a laugh does not a bonding friendship make. In all honesty, I believe in my gut that Trump uses people very much like his followers use him and other people. They are all in the "user game" and what they can get out of it for themselves rather than their constituents.
Rochelle Goldstein (Barcelona, Spain)
If he weren’t running as a pro-Trump serf I’d feel sorry for him - all that bowing and scraping…how painful is he finding this?
FxQ (Cincinnati)
As a lifelong Democrat, I just voted straight Republican ticket. The individual is important but it’s the team that they play on that is vital to turning this country around. The war mongering Democrats have completely wrecked our economy and exacerbated inflation. While I hope Republicans will do the right thing, I know what the Democrats have done and I’m through with them.
ehr (md)
@FxQ Sure bc the Trump Republicans hand over our country's economy and our country without a fight and call it "war mongering" if you resist the Saudis et al. Where do you think the downward slide started? With the Republicans. You might note that in a global downturn the Dems have kept the US head and shoulders above other countries. So good job handing the keys to the country over to a bunch of self-serving Australian billionaires (Murdoch, Thiel). You followed their commands exactly.
S Waring (VI)
Sure. Also, JD Vance is a man of integrity, and Qanon can be relied on for accurate reportage of facts.
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
@FxQ ..."exacerbated inflation."...Which explains why the inflation rate in the EU is higher than the U.S. And while you are digesting that fact, you might also consider that the Republican administrations of Regan, Bush I, Bush II and Trump increased the budget deficit, while the Democratic administrations of Clinton, Obama, and to date Biden, reduced the budget deficit. Facts are so annoying.
ABC (Flushing)
The doctrinaire Democrat is a role in a fantasy game. Reality is different. A politician — any politician — has to know when to compromise. If you want a place where you go and be pure, woke, uncompromising move to dictatorships like China or Russia. Or go to sleep where reality won’t interfere. Democrats might consider that politics is sometimes like crossing the street. You can virtue signal and stand on your principle of right of way (like lecturing Vance) but when reality hits you might wish you’d used common sense
Brad Blumenstock (St Louis)
We've already seen "reality," in the shape of our disgraced former President and his fascist GOP. That's what all rational Americans are currently fighting against.
Dave (St. Paul)
Vance, like the vast majority of modern Republican candidates, relies on bald faced lies and stoking fear. He demonstrates zero integrity.
Any endorsement from Trump has a price: your wife being called ugly. Your dad being accused of having a part in the assasination of John Kennedy. And so on. But these politicians can laugh all the way to the bank when they are elected and pass legislation that favors big business and eventually results in a no-show job that pays well. And that's what American politics has become.
mythocracy (indoctrinated)
A person who guts principles for ambitions is an opportunist. They come from all backgrounds.
James (St. Paul, MN.)
Vance has learned the most important lesson in how to succeed in today's GOP. Sell your soul, lie, cheat, and claim to be serving the people when your only goal is self-enrichment.
Practical Realities (NorthofLA)
I thought Ohioans were smarter and better people than to be taken in by Vance, a wealthy man with an ivy league education who will embrace the lawless Trump and who will support Trumpian insurrectionists after they stormed and defiled the Capitol building, threatened death to lawmakers, and assaulted police officers.
Margo Channing (Nw York)
@Practical Realities They aren't Jim Jordan has been in office 15 years and has yet to sponsor any legislation. Not one Bill has this man sponsored and yet he keeps getting elected. Go figure.
Waz (Akron, OH)
@Practical Realities Ohio (especially all parts 60 or so miles south of Lake Erie other than Columbus) is not the state it was 10 or even 20 years ago.
Jolton (Ohio)
@Margo Channing Jim Jordan is the product of one of the worst gerrymandered districts in the state. Trust me, we'd love to be done with Jim. Vote for senator is a different matter -- if they don't go for Ryan, I may be done with this state.
Susie (New Jersey)
Anyone who read Hillbilly Elegy knows that JD Vance was able to pull himself out of poverty and go to good schools with the help of democratic policies that he was very grateful for at the time. Now, he has turned his back on the people who helped him. Nice way to express his appreciation.
Margo Channing (Nw York)
@Susie He's a republican, nuff said.
Fester (Columbus)
Vance is a total phony, a total shape shifting opportunist who once lived in the toniest liberal neighborhood in Columbus. He exists for one reason, to make sure billionaire Peter Thiel pays as little in taxes as possible. And apparently, his only talent is kissing the behinds of the rich and powerful. I would challenge his easily conned supporters to name one specific idea he has that would make Ohio better.
sm (new york)
J.D.Vance is your typical Trump toady that will put up with insults from the man himself to achieve his “ means to an end “ which is repeating theTrump lies . They’re all in it for the money they’ll make if elected . Congress is but a stepping stone . That the American public can be easily swayed is very telling and sad ; ignorance is bliss when people fool themselves by letting their bias rule over their own betterment . Vance certainly learned his lessons on how to manipulate the thoughtless public . Politics is but a road to enriching themselves to the top of the heap for the coarsest of the bunch .
mythocracy (indoctrinated)
@sm He is product of the very scoeity that equates getting rich to success
LongTimeFirstTime (New York City)
I’m quite curious to see these message boards in two weeks when Republicans win Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Pennsylvania; deeply flawed candidates all, yet millions of voters will choose them over the alternative. Will readers here then get the message? Americans want a smaller federal govt, lower taxes, less doctrinal worries in school and the town square (BLM, gay and trans items, etc.), and they are tired of being told by coastal elites they’re too stupid to know what’s good for them. Maybe then Democrats will get the message, as Republicans did, finally, after 2008: we know you like (fill in the blank, Romney then or Warnock/Fetterman/Ryan now), but we don’t.
ehr (md)
@LongTimeFirstTime Dems got the message: Republicans "win" even when they lose. Dems beat them for the president twice and it made no difference. Who exactly are "coastal elites"? Do you mean the Koch Brother, Murdochs and Thiel who have been creating a narrative that benefits them? it's hard to take a comment like yours seriously.
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
@LongTimeFirstTime .... "and they are tired of being told by coastal elites they’re too stupid to know what’s good for them."...They may be tired of hearing it, but that doesn't mean it isn't true.
JohnnyD (Jacksonville, Oregon)
@firstimelongtime Maybe the Dems will get it as gop got in in ‘08- show the world how prejudice you are, use government to enrich your corporate buddies (and yourself) and allow them to raid the govt. coffers while you plan your lobbying payoffs after you collect your socialist pension upon retirement all the while having done nothing to show for the government paycheck you gladly cashed.
Yappy Appy (Ohio hills)
He's just a shell. The guts are missing.
Ferris (Minnesota)
This guy is simply another loudmouthed, obstructionist Republican without a single workable idea. I don't know how these individuals curry such favor and admiration amongst their constituents, but it simply defies explanation from my vantage point. There are many individuals out there – intelligent, educated, pragmatic people with great ideas and likable personalities. For some reason, we keep being offered these semi-employeble derelics as our representatives. 
Baron Charles de Bouvier III (Luxembourg)
JD seemed like he could have been a leader early on in his journey into politics. He has all of the schtick. That was before he sold his soul for Donald Trump. Now, I guess he’s just a coward and sycophant. Amazing what these people will do to get a taste of power. Hope you can afford mouthwash JD, because your breath stinks!
LP (Vienna, VA)
Check your self respect at the door, hire a good criminal defense lawyer. MAGA.
Dan B. (New Jersey)
Shameless self-promoter who sold his dignity for a dollar. That is all.
Nick (Austin)
This guy is such an empty vessel.
Huh 👻 (Upstate)
I had kinfolk as they’d call themselves in West Virginia. Some were like Vance’s Mamaw. Too bad he isn’t more like her: less enamored of power over principles. Less willing to go with “ya gotta win first” which led to his 180 on Trump. Do you really think J.D. and Usha prefer Ohio to San Francisco? That he’ll soon be enrolling the kids into Columbus public schools? That he’s not telling her, “it’s only for 6 years! We can send the kids to boarding schools. And you stay be back home in San Francisco if you want: I’ll lease a next “ Ohio is useful to him. If West Virginia were, or Kentucky, he’d be there—opening that carpet bag wide.
Pedigrees (SW Ohio)
I was delighted to vote against Vance last week. But more importantly I voted *for* Tim Ryan, which was a real treat given that my choices here are often between worse and “worser.” Ryan speaks for me. Even though he’s from the other side of the state he’s been on my political radar screen since long before most people had ever heard of him. We need him as Senator; with both Ryan and Sherrod Brown in the Senate non-rich Ohioans (that’s most of us.) would finally have two Senators on our side. The Hedge Fund Hillbilly (yes, I know he was VC but the alliteration is nice) would represent only the same people Portman now represents and that’s a very, very tiny slice of Ohio residents. So, NYT, can we expect a profile of Ryan too?
Eddy (Oakland CA)
The pictures in this and other stories like it paints an obvious picture: Nothing but a vast sea of old, white people. These are the last, dying demographic of support the GOP has and the reason why they have been ratcheting up their vitriolic, anti-democratic, gerrymandering rhetoric. Because they are a rapidly dying party- a party that has nothing new to say and no actual ideas or solutions. Just keep on appeasing the old white folks and win in the few areas they can still win- like in rural Ohio where most everyone else moved out of years ago.
eheck (Ohio)
@Eddy I agree with you about the photos. Good God - you'd think that the median age of Ohioans is 70. I live in Columbus, and a friend who moved here from small-town West Virginia commented on how many young people there are here, and how much younger and healthier adults looked in comparison to the adults in WVA. There are definite benefits to urban living, like having better access to medical care, better food availability and ability to access things on foot or public transportation.
Margo (Ohio)
@Eddy Went to a small town parade not so long ago. Featured all the long-time "service" organizations. The Shriners and the Masons and all. None marching, all riding on trailers or in big trucks. Because these orgs have failed to "build a bench." They have no up and comers in their orgs, no one to hand off to. Repubs wouldn't be facing a shrinking tent today if they hadn't been so committed to the serving the needs and desires of white men. They think they can enlarge their tent by bringing in blacks who identify with whites--but frankly, that's a pretty small group also. The Dems may have all kinds of flaws, but from the 1960s forward, with many stumbles, they have worked to enlarge their tent through diversifying their population. The contrast between the crowds at their conventions is always striking.
Chris (CbusOH)
it's a sad state of affairs here in ohio where tim ryan is pretending to be trump... aggressive, mean, taunting.. and vance actually holds the policy views of the tyrant king. obviously ryan needs to win cause of the absolutely insane views on the right these days, but... ohio has become a dumping ground of conspiracies, lies, half truths, misguided anger and the complete lack of decorum and honesty that has become politics.
Carl (Arlington.p, Va)
If I were a book-banning type, I'd go to every library in the area and throw his books in a dumpster. But I'm not. Everyone should have a chance to read his own words about what a two-faced loser he is.
Dr. J (WH)
@Carl, His conservative bent was loud and clear in his book, which I read. I am surprised that anybody is surprised at his current position. It’s also clear from his book how self-serving he is. Though he also makes clear how much help he had; I now wonder, how much ass-kissing and boot licking did he do to get all that help? Maybe even outright fabrication and lying?
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
NO Shame No self respect Ohio can and will do better with Senator Tom Ryan
PNUT (The Dirty South)
Tim Ryan.
Rob Dudko (Connecticut)
Mr. Vance surely has stood at the crossroads of mythic blues music lore and sold his soul to the devil, who in this case is apparently our former president. It is pathetic how low a man or woman will stoop in this country to gain a fistful of power. Mr. Vance has forever turned himself into a joke, like Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, Jeff Sessions and countless other fawning, obsequious lapdogs.
Rune (Duluth, MN)
If Ohio votes this grotesque hypocrite and weakling into the Senate, then Ohio deserves him. But the rest of us don't.
Mark Walp (Chestertown, NY)
I wish someone at the Times would write an article explaining why so many of these ivy League graduates (Elise Stefanik, Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz etc.) have become such craven opportunists. They can't actually believe much of what they are spewing, and someone must have taught them how to fool most of the people most of the time. Is there some sort of cynical poly sci subculture thriving at our top universities these days and teaching the craft of appealing to America's lowest common denominator?
Sandra Wood (Charlotte NC)
And in law schools, there is a required ethics course. Well, it used to be required.
Jolton (Ohio)
@Mark Walp Because they can find a place with the GOP that they'd never find with the Dems. The GOP bar is set so low, Josh, Ted, Elise, MTG look like thunder-thinkers. But compare these craven dolts with Buttegieg, AOC, etc and they're quickly seen for the losers they are. I wish the media would dig into this more.
HT (Ohio)
@Mark Walp Perhaps they always have been opportunists, and the Ivies were just a stepping stone.
Phyliss Dalmatian (Wichita Ks, Homosassa Fl)
The Hillbilly Opportunist. Proud Ohio native here, and it absolutely shames me to realize THIS guy will represent my home state in the Senate. He has no shame, no compassion, no character. What happened, Ohio? Was it the takeover by the religious zealots ? Please proceed, if you actually want to be just like Kentucky and West Virginia. Electing him would be a huge step in that direction. I’m embarrassed this is even close. Don’t break my heart.
Dr. J (WH)
@Phyliss Dalmatian, I agree. And I am also from Ohio, born and partly raised there. I used to be proud of that. Not any more. And I don’t know what happened. Or how it happened.
Amy (Fairfield Co., Ohio)
There was a great article earlier this week about Tim Ryan that explained very succinctly exactly what happened: Clinton, globalization and the rapid loss of 3,500 manufacturing facilities. When you can't put food on the table, resentment runs deep and you don't exactly make smart-long term political choices. It evolved into base tribalism from there, and it's going to take a lot of work to get back to widespread rational thought.
eheck (Ohio)
@Amy You don't exactly make smart long-term personal choices, either. The opioid epidemic also played a large part in the decline of rural Ohio, but a lot of rural Ohioans don't want to admit it. It's easier to blame someone else.
Sidney Ford (Baltimore)
How sadly typical of formerly sane Republicans! Willing to do anything to gain power, they utterly abandon previously-held values as they bow ever lower to an increasingly unhinged, vicious and fascist Trump. While abasing themselves, they shame their families, misdirect their staff and diminish what was good about their party in order to prevail (winning, perhaps, but at what cost?). Here's hoping Vance is prepared for the blowback that will inevitably arise and swallow him whole, given such a cowardly and disreputable path.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
The fact that Vance believes the "2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., was part of a federal plot to build support for gun control" completed turned me off to his wild and incredulous thinking. I always thought he was somewhere "out there" but never realized just how far "out there" he really is. WOW.
Joey (Cleveland)
The Democrats have gone all in on Timmy Ryan and have funded him lavishly … if Vance had the same support from the Republican side the race would not be this close. Ryan is the bigger shape shifter, i mean Deepak Chopra, the Swami is someone Ryan hired for a retreat. Vance will get little in the way of $$$ from Trump. Trump needs to funnel his money to his legion of lawyers. Intellectually Vance is light years ahead of Ryan.
W.A. Spitzer (Faywood, NM)
“He’s an opportunist,” she said. “He knows what he has to do to win, but I think, deep down, he hates it.”....Just what our country needs, another Senator steeped in honor and integrity. What a wonderful recommendation - I'm for whatever gets me elected.
Ms. Pea (Seattle)
Vance is just one in a long line of Republicans who let Trump insult them and did nothing. Vance would have shown more character if he had walked off the stage after Trump made his statement. But, like Ted Cruz, whose wife was insulted by Trump, and the many others who grovel for Trump's support, Vance has made it clear that he doesn't mind being a punching bag. He'll go on sucking up, desperate for Trump's support, while Trump will go on laughing at him. Such is GOP politics.
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
I do not question Vance's patriotism, his abilities, or even his fitness for office. But I do have serious doubts about his authenticity and sincerity.
Andrew D (Miami beach)
You forgot to add his worldview. His biggest liability.
Daniel B (Chicago)
This is nothing compared to the 70 million Trump fooled in 2020. Trump is a magnet for greedy politicians and gullible voters.
Tom Hayden (Minneapolis Mn)
Portrait of a grifting opportunist.
SF Reader (San Francisco)
“That if you declare war on our police officers, if you declare war on our energy industry, if you drive up the cost of everything and if you open up the southern border, we’re not going to take it anymore." Wait...if you declare war on our police officers? Vance seems to have forgotten all about January 6, and the people behind it.
Diogenes (Idaho)
"That if you declare war on our police officers, ..." The only war on police officers that I have seen lately was the one that occurred at the capital on Jan 6, inspired by trump and his election deniers.
Jolton (Ohio)
Many Ohioans see Vance as a complete fraud, but unfortunately, too many people just vote a straight ticket, R or D, no matter the quality of the candidate. Ryan is a much better choice for Ohio and has the record to prove it, so we'll see if Ohio wakes up this election season or not.
Matt (Porter, AR)
It will be poetic justice when the GOP finally succeeds and guts these voters' social security and Medicare.
PNUT (The Dirty South)
They'll just blame Democrats for it. According to Republicans, we are to blame for everything bad that happens in the world. Apparently the ruination of life is our goal. It's crazy but they believe it.
PNUT (The Dirty South)
Too bad that it will also hurt those that voted against the GOP.
Sandra Wood (Charlotte NC)
I agree and I receive both.
rxft (nyc)
I'm always surprised to see how many conservative male politicians, who claim to hew to traditional gender roles, are willing to be emasculated by trump. I cannot fathom the mental gymnastics required by vance, cruz, graham, mcconnell etc. to come back from the public humiliation that trump enjoys inflicting on them.
Sallie (NYC)
Did JD Vance write "Hillbilly Elegy" or was it ghost written for him? Does he believe anything he said in the book? Or is he lying now?
PNUT (The Dirty South)
Could J.D. Vance be any more of a fake ? He just wants to go to Congress so that he can get lots of press , be on TV all of the time , and get in on the fund raising grift. He has no idea of policy or plans to govern. He's a male version of Perjury Traitor Greed , or Boebert.
Steve (Philadelphia)
Pathetic. It's all so disheartening and pathetic. Watching Putin's foreign policy speech earlier today, I noted his play to conservatives (I should have put parentheses around that word) and his likely bet that once the midterms are over, he'll advance his disinformation and propaganda minions to a kind of phase 2 attack consolidating his campaign against the US and the West. And he'll have people like J.D. Vance, Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy working for him in a powerful but likely unpaid role.
Graf von Growl (Mid-Atlantic)
Did JD keep a wary eye out for Lindsey?
Incognito (California)
It is clear that they are trying to install Trump loyalists in every state . I wonder what this means for our fragile Democracy.
PMD (Vancouver)
Accepting insults, abasement, is an important part of being accepted onto team Trump. Vance may think it's a small price to pay now, for election victory, but he will come to learn otherwise, as he is required to participate in the replacement of democratic decency with increasingly ugly behaviour. When it comes to the rule of law you can't sit on the fence.
Lisa now (CT)
Vance will only work for the wealthy. People from OH should get used to being ignored if they elect him.
Beth S (O-H-I-O)
I so want Tim Ryan voted in that I spent close to $68.00 to have an absentee ballot mailed priority international to my son in Israel . Hopefully people here will wake up .
Rochelle Goldstein (Barcelona, Spain)
Worth every penny Ima. Good luck!
paperfan (WestCentralOhio)
@Beth S Good for you. We need EVERY vote.
bubba (TN)
If Tim Ryan had been doing his job, we wouldn't be talking about Vance today.
Stephen Hawking's Football Boots (Nashville, TN)
@bubba Interesting take. The fact that Vance isn't a slam-dunk in a state that went +8 for Trump in 2020 tells me that not only did Ryan do his job, JD is getting more scrutiny for being a two-faced opportunistic hypocrite.
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
@bubba Because Ryan has done his job, he is a strong contender for this Senate seat. It's not his fault if the rubes in North Kentucky are Trumpers.
Waz (Akron, OH)
@bubba Ryan is doing about all that can be done as a Dem running in GOP-controlled Ohio. His approach (moderate Dem) would work in a lot of states and should be copied by Dems in moderate states. Time will tell if it works in Ohio
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Like Oz, Vance will not spend one night in Ohio after the election. He doesn’t live there. Even if elected - the family won’t live there. He is using all of you and he will be a vote to eliminate your social security and Tim Ryan is going yo say, “I told you so!”
Carlton (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
“ But I also think he thinks that people who kiss his ass all the time are weak.” That’s from someone who will “ kiss his ass” as much as needed.
Robert (Seattle)
Cowardly, craven, cynical. Willing to suck up to a miserable human being like what's-his-name who said (it can't be repeated too many times), "J. D. is kissing my ass because he wants my support."
mark a cohen (new york ny)
The candidate mirrors the voter. The voter is ultimately to blame. On our side we have to find a way to take enough of them back in a way that appeals to the same delusions and ignorance. It’s quite a dilemma.
Gary C (Olympic Peninsula)
J. D. Vance did not escape unaided or unscathed from his impoverished upbringing. Meanwhile the Republican party has devolved into a toxic sink of every societal dysfunction and bitter grievance known to man. Vance's embrace of Trump and Trump's Republican party underscores a sad codependency. Trump was merely joking and Alex Jones says interesting things?!Perhaps he'll someday write another elegy transmogrifying that, but I'm not buying it.
Daniel F. Solomon (Miami)
@Gary C How about telling abused women to "stand by their man"?
PNUT (The Dirty South)
Vance is showing them how to do it after being punked by Trump.
Nancy (Chicago)
JD Vance is a self promoting opportunistic fame freak. He blames the “bad” government for all of society’s problems yet he went into the military and credited that time as teaching him how to be a man. The government founded the public land grant university he attended as well as the public grade and high schools he attended. He complained bitterly about not knowing which fork to use at a fancy dinner while in law school at Yale. I suppose that social ignorance was the fault of the government, too. Sounds to me like the government provided JD Vance with education and foundation that allowed him to succeed. He doesn’t recognize the opportunities provided to him weren’t a result of his own doing.
Ann (Boston)
@Nancy I don't think he learned how to be a man.
Mike (Peoria, IL)
J.D. Vance was graduated from OSU and Yale law and thinks Trump was "the best president of my lifetime" and that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. I don't believe him.
Jane (CT)
He doesn't believe either of those things, but understands that he must pretend otherwise to get elected. Elyse Stefanik is another example of an Ivy-educated Republican who suddenly became an election denier, once the prospect of a plumb committee chairmanship was dangled before her. Growing up in Reagan's America, in a Republican -leaning community and raised by Republican parents, I never imagined that the Republican party could become what it is today. I fear for our future and for that of my young children and many Americans clearly underestimate, or don't care about the damage Republicans are prepared to do.
nemo (california)
So, basically, Ohioans will either support him for his endorsement by Trump, or because deep-down he doesn't actually align with Trump. I guess some Americans just continue to make excuses to vote the way they're expected to.
J.r. (Wa)
J. D.'s campaign Is 100 % about enabling petroleum interests to continue ruining the planet while adding to their obscene profits. Look at his financial backers if you don't believe me. I grew up in Ohio, by the way, good people who can seem to make many poor choices come election time.
E C Scherer (Cols., Ohio)
I read Vance’s book. It was a good story and he is now among the elite. So, what is it that he doesn’t like about democracy and why does he support Trump’s desire to destroy it? It seems insanity to destroy the very system that aided in Vance’s success and that would destroy the very programs on which his supporters rely - Social Security, Medicare, etc. Why don’t Republicans want to help all, not just the elite white like themselves? Why don’t MAGA supporters understand that they, too, are the among the targets in Vance/Trump sights? https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/23373795/curtis-yarvin-neoreaction-redpill-moldbug
Bklyn Girl (DC)
The Republican base isn't elite white people - it's working class white people who don't understand that they're voting against their own interests.
To me his reaction to Trump saying this says it all about his character, he has none. Anyone with an ounce of pride would have walked off that stage after delivering a two word statement. Vance has already had his backbone removed like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham. Both were early outspoken opponents of Trump who are now lap dogs.
FSP (Baton Rouge)
so deeply tired of the trump pandering toadies, election denying opportunists whose only platform seems to be trampling reproductive rights and undermining any and every institution. No plan to govern, only tear down and divide. The fact that Vance excuses trump's characterization as a "joke" says all one needs to know about him.
Mike T. (Los Angeles, CA)
“He’s an opportunist,” she said. “He knows what he has to do to win, but I think, deep down, he hates it.” It's clan over everything else. They'll still vote for him and for Hershel in Georgia.
ABC (Flushing)
@Mike T. Herschel is your own identity politics. SonThere are people in a position to judge. But You are not one of them.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Vance puts Vance first. He will vote to eliminate Social Security and Medicare as part of the Republican agenda which won’t help any of the hill people he pretends to represent. Vance is a fraud Tim Ryan has always been for Ohioans.
David Bible (Houston)
A former president who incited a violent attack on our Congress while it was in session, attempted a multi prong coup, who was in possess of top secret documents making him a top level security risk still demands fealty and gets it. A former president whose Covid-19 response lead the way to hundreds of thousands avoidable deaths still demands fealty and gets it. A former president whose malignant narcissism prevents him from caring about anything or anyone other than himself still demands fealty and gets it. And there is a good chance that many of these giving such fealty, from school board candidates to State office candidates to Congress and Senate candidates may win their elections. Horrifying.
Dominick Mazza (New York, NY)
@David Bible The problem is a lot of people including me don't share your assessment regarding any of the things you said about the former President(Trump). I don't believe the attack on our Congress was violent. I don't believe it was an attempted coup. And I don't believe his response to Covid was responsible for any deaths whatsover. Having said that, I don't think he should have been or should ever be the President again.
middle american (PA)
people were hospitalized and died that day but it wasn't violent?
@Dominick Mazza interesting response
Howard Herman (Skokie, Illinois)
J. D. Vance is not the only Donald Trump supporter that Mr. Trump has hurled disgusting insults at. Ted Cruz, Mike Pence, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell and similar others make this list. Yet how many of these individuals push back against this and stand up for their self respect and the respect of their families? I have never seen anything like this. Very powerful individuals being denigrated horribly by one person and they don’t say boo. They just smile and say how great Donald Trump is. If only we could be flies on the walls to hear the discussion these families have when talking about Mr. Trump’s comments about them. I am sure they would be fascinating.
Adam Stoler (Bronx Urban Warrior)
The first person to truly stand up to TFG and tell him where to go has my vote And I swore off voting Republican I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon
Ted (Austell, GA)
@Adam Stoler liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger - the list isn’t long but they do exist.
Lauren B (Wisconsin)
When the GOP red wave comes, we’ll see how much legislation will be passed that will benefit the working man. All this GOP fear mongering and conspiracy-theory spreading will be their downfall. When will people wake up? This next election—if there is a red wave—should do it.
Citroen (Montreal)
@Lauren B You're way more optimistic than I am. If they haven't woken up by now ....
Sandra Wood (Charlotte NC)
The game plan is to create a diversion by trying to impeach Biden. No case, but they will make up one. Unfortunately, the MSM led by Fox News will make that the 24-hour seven day week story. Remember the 30,00 emails, the 30,000 emails, the 30,000 emails with no end in sight. Smdh
USS Johnston (New Jersey)
The American voter will prove once more to be ignorant of why things are the way they are in the world by handing control of the government over to the Republicans once again. Slick campaigners like Vance will just lead to more economic collapse, continued degradation of our environment in a man induced warming climate and a loss of more personal freedoms. Anyone who really knows history just needs to think back and ponder what Republican policies of deregulating guns, burning more fossil fuels and cutting taxes has led to. So vote for Vance and get more of it. Enjoy.
Tom Chapman (Haverhill MA)
Mr. Vance may have many things that I will never have, A Yale Law School diploma, a bestselling memoir, riches beyond belief, and national recognition. But I possess a quality that Mr. Vance will never have, and that quality is personal integrity. Mr. Vance has shown himself to be willing to debase himself in search of high office. He apparently believes nothing except that which Mr. Trump tells him to believe. Hu is nothing more than a punk, with all of the pejorative connotations that the term implies. That's why Tim Ryan has kept the race closer than anyone expected. Because despite his flaws, Mr. Ryan, unlike Mr. Vance, is authentic. While Ohioans may not be able to articulate their discomfort with Mr. Vance, there is clearly an 'enthusiasm gap' apparent, even among Mr. Vance's supporters, for they know in their hearts that Mr. Ryan is a grown man, while Mr. Vance is but a callow boy, ever eager to curry favor with his abuser....
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
@Tom Chapman You hit the proverbial nail on the head.
Mike I (Whatcom, WA)
Mr. Vance is one more example of how our era of divisiveness, driven by a triple layer cake of cable news (Fox), right-wing talk radio, so-called conservative Christians, and covered in a thick icing of social media, has led to the current moment of crisis in our democracy. Sadly, many in the formerly GOP gave fomented this for decades.
Marie V. Gagliardi (Ossining, New York)
Looked at that crowd in photo. Most looked like they are on Social Security and Medicare. Do they understand that a Republican Senate/House wants to repeal these benefits. Ignorance is dangerous.
A (BC)
…benefits are earned and deserves when you get them, when someone else gets them it is called socialism.
Moses Cat (Georgia)
@Marie V. Gagliardi Do the Democrats remind them continually that The Republicans want to take away their benefits? I don't think so. Why?
Skip Szbgnwicz (Lower Slobovia)
He may not be (or looked upon as) a carpetbagger in the way Dr. Oz is. But, Vance is every bit as two-faced. If I were an Ohio Conservative Republican, I'd certainly consider thinking twice about a self- proclaimed hillbilly, with an Ivy League education; who spent one too many years as part of the California "wine & cheese" set. But, I'm none of the above; which makes it too easy to hope that the Trump association, no matter how close or distant, is as difficult for Vance to remove, as dog droppings are to scrape off the soles of one's shoes; the mess may eventually come off, but the piquant bouquet lingers.
Mr basilico (St ralph)
Is integrity important to the people of Ohio?
Robbbb (NJ)
"“I know the president very well, and he was joking about a New York Times story,” Mr. Vance said. “That’s all he was doing. I didn’t take offense to it.” Just proves that Trump got it right. I was impressed by "Hillbilly Elegy," but my favorable impression of the author went up in smoke when he joined the Trump bandwagon.
J Young (NM)
Let's call a spade a spade: J.D. Vance shares certain qualities with all of the other MAGA disciples. Namely, he's a hypocrite, a liar, and a coward who will say anything to get elected--and to the devil with the Constitution and laws he swore to uphold and protect when he entered the Armed Services. He has no place in public office and ought to go write another dissembling memoir.
ABC (Flushing)
@J Young Best Performance in a Day Time Drama. Congratulations
B Sharp (Cincinnati)
@J Young Indeed , he has no place in OH !!
PLMM (California)
JD Vance… “who once, in fact, wondered whether he might be America’s Hitler — but who, since entering politics, has demonstrated fervent fealty” Just like Lindsay Graham, JD Vance has morphed into one of the biggest and revolting hypocrites in politics. It says to me that Vance is using Trump followers merely to gain personal power by attempting to gain their votes. He embodies the GOP perfectly.
SD (denver)
"We’re going to send you home and make you get a real job," says a man campaigning for a . . . fake job, I guess?
Will. (NYCNYC)
It's hard to find a bigger phony that Vance in politics. And that is pretty amazing. He loathes Donald Trump. But he indeed realizes he has to "kiss his ass" to get a Senate seat. So he puckers up and kisses with gusto. It's embarrassing.
Paul N. (Indianapolis)
@Will. He's phony, but any consideration of phony politicians starts and ends with Ted Cruz.
@Will. Apparently you can’t embarrass these people, they have no morals, no souls!
Cathy (Middletown, OH)
I am from Middletown. Vance is one of the worst thing that could happen to Ohio. He went from a "no trumper" to a trump ass kisser.
Larry (Vegas)
“Kiss my ass and a suck up” are not the standard forms of endorsement but let’s look at the source. I thought it was a colossal mistake having Trump being present and I feel bad only for the grandson/grandmother who had to enduring listening to that crude and rude nonsense.
C. Engo (Joshua Tree, Ca)
You said it right in the last line of the article JD. "...people who kiss his ass all the time are weak."
Edward Beazley (New Smyrna Beach Florida)
I loved his book. It's hard to reconcile many of his current political positions with the person who wrote his book. The rust belt was created when midwest manufacturing plants obsoletes out and were rebuilt in the south and later in Asia looking for lower laborer costs. The collapse of the region was the product of lack of capital investment. Free market capitalism created the rust belt. So what do the people who support him want? Working Class white people do not want to be forced to compete against nonwhites and other minorities for jobs, housing , education, and other opportunities in American Society. Going back to the 1950s would help them, but it wouldn't solve their problem.
E (S)
What they don’t want is to have to adapt and evolve and educate themselves. I have no sympathy for them.
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
@Edward Beazley Vance made it sound as if descendants of Scots-Irish immigrants were the only ones to struggle in America and be somehow left behind. Talk about not seeing past one's own nose.
Joaquin (Chicago, IL)
I wonder how his brown, immigrant wife feels about JD's constant embrace of lies, conspiracy, and open embrace of Trump's brand of racism, and how he rationalizes it to his multiracial children?
Jay Sharma (New York, NY)
@Joaquin As a 'brown' immigrant myself I'd take Trump any day over Biden.
Tom (Alsip, IL)
@Joaquin The same question could be asked of Melania Trump. Rabid opportunism would be the most logical answer for the spouses. For the children, I don’t know what they get out of it. Do they even understand what Dad must do to be a US Senator? Given what Republicans want to do to American democracy, the kids will have to deal with the baggage that Vance creates for them to bear. Look at what the “you need to destroy everyone in your path” role model did for Fred Trump’s kids. Perhaps Vance justifies it by saying, “Honey, kids, just this one election and we will be on the US Government gravy train for the rest of our lives.” US Senator from IL, Paul Simon, refused to run a 3rd campaign where he would have to prostitute himself to the tune of $10 million to get re-elected. ($10 million? 2022 Election chump change.) JD Vance is no Paul Simon.
Bob Chegamos (New York)
@Joaquin Apparently she loves it and wants the attention and power that comes along with being a Senator's wife. People of all races can compromise themselves pretty easily when they want something bad enough.
Joe B. (Center City)
Weak. Cowardly. Clown.
Tom (Alsip, IL)
@Joe B. Add Republican and malleable and you have five elements of a cognitive test that Vance should easily remember. Do the elements need to be "things" or will character flaws work too?
A B Church (Farmcoast)
Vance has zero integrity, his sole priority is his own success. I hated his pretentious book. None of the rednecks I grew up with turned out to be so vain, dishonest, or self serving.
lch (Colorado)
@A B Church I also grew up among rednecks, and if anybody had every called another man an ass-kisser, especially in public, he would have had to fight him, either physically or with words. I do not understand this current dynamic at all.
Jamie Nichols (Santa Barbara)
@A B Church: After reading this article I'm afraid I have to agree with this comment. If, as expected Vance wins, I can only lament that my poor relatives are still stuck in Ohio. They were not as lucky as me to have parents who moved our family out of Ohio as the state turned an ugly shade of red. Vance personifies what is broken and bad about the GOP. Republicans have made it crystal clear what matters most to them is the attainment, preservation and exercise of political power, mainly to keep taxes low for the wealthy, like Vance himself and his backers. They could care less for the "rednecks" who mindlessly cast votes for GOP candidates. And Republicans are willing to employ gross dishonesty, embarrassing sycophancy, hypocrisy, bigotry and hate to accomplish those goals, as JD Vance has repeatedly demonstrated. I just hope hope Vance can either acquire a genuine moral compass, or if he has one buried deep within his all-consuming ambitions, repair and restore its use in the event he becomes Ohio's senator. Of course any use of a moral compass by Vance would hopefully compel him to steer clear of the man who has proudly demonstrated his disdain for all morality of decent kind. If a victorious Vance does not repudiate the influence and control of Donald Trump over both himself and the GOP after the election, Ohioans can take comfort in knowing they have elected their first invertebrate senator.
Dejah (Williamsburg, VA)
When a narcissist says something awful at your expense, they often pass it off as "a joke." Can't you take a joke? It's NEVER a joke. Vance is a fool. Trump thinks he weak. Why? Because Vance is demonstrably WEAK. And Trump is a narcissist.
John J OBRIEN (Rhode Island)
Jon Orloff (Rockaway Beach, Or)
Vance is lucky his Mamaw is dead. She’d blow his a&& off for debasing himself the way he has. His election would leave a vacancy in hillbilly country and in the senate.
Solar (California)
@Jon Orloff Right. We need more people like Mamaw in the senate instead of Trump toadies like J.D.
Penny (Texas)
Vance made it clear who he was in Hillbilly Elegy when he said he supported the payday loan industry. When I read that I knew he had political ambitions and that he would kowtow to scum in a heartbeat. He has done exactly that.
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
@Penny Long before "Hillbilly Elegy" there was "The Grapes of Wrath," which was banned and burned in what is now Kevin McCarthy's congressional district.
crystal (Wisconsin)
Well JD is right about one thing "people who kiss Trump's ass all the time are weak". And if the folks in Ohio elect him, then they deserve what they get.
amc (Cincinnati)
@crystal We deserve Tim Ryan. Wish us luck.
Tom (Alsip, IL)
@crystal The problem is, the people of the other 49 states don't deserve what they get. Same could be said of re-electing Ron Johnson. If there are only 10, 20 or 30 ideologues in the US House (probably more like 200 coming down the pipe) their agenda can be marginalized by the larger majority. Think 90+ House Progressive Caucus agenda. In the dysfunctional US Senate one ideologue can prevent any action. Think Manchin and the oil/gas industry. Think Sinema and the banking industry. Think McConnell and his Federalist Society handlers. Think Cruz holding Federal Judicial nominations hostage because in a 50/50 Senate the Judiciary Committee is evenly divided and one member can stop all activity. I include Manchin and Sinema because they are McConnell’s most beloved proxy votes. They don't call the US Senate "the place where good ideas go to die" for nothing. Elect JD Vance instead of the more centrist Tim Ryan and we all get what OH deserves.
Missy (Fairfield OH)
@amc Yes we do!
Porter (Amsterdam)
If someone says that you are kissing their ass and you say nothing, their assessment of the situation is correct. Even when Trump "jokes," he does it to make himself look better than you are. The mental gymnastics should not surprise me but they still do: the Democrats don't support the police but here is how to support the January 6 rioters.
David Law (Los Angeles)
Mr. Vance is very very smart. He went to Yale and made a lot of money in a financial services segment focused on enriching its own practitioners rather than anyone or anything else. He knows precisely what he's doing and his manipulations and deflections are calculated. He knows exactly what the issues are and he has chosen to side with a right-wing view that is irrational and wrong; he knows Biden won and he knows government didn't organize Sandy Hook or 9/11, but the fact that he says he does means he is a liar. He doesn't challenge a vulgar and disrespectful slight from an ogre, indeed kissing Trump's ass, so he is also a kiss-ass. That is not the kind of person you want as your leader. Plain and simple. If Ohioans can't see that simple fact, sadly, they deserve whatever they get. And this guy's bumper sticker should be, "I lie."
Suzanne (Charleston SC)
it's not just ohio,our entire democracy is at stake
John Ondespot (Ohio)
@David Law It's a shame Mr. Vance endured the rigors of an Ivy League education and now reflects utterly the elitist immoral do-anythng-for-that-last-penny-oh-and-that-one-over-there mentality that defines Ivy schools of business, politics, medicine, and McKinsey, of course, the death-dealing Big Show that is the desideratum of every Ivy (Crimson) boy and girl. I guess he couldn't hack that last big step up. He might have turned out OK if only he'd gone to OU. But I doubt it. That guy lies as easily as a My Pillow. He loves himself and his illicit advantage with a passion and a force deep and mighty as the majestic Ohio (the good part, after it gets by Pittsburgh).
Leah Brennan (Chicago)
@John Ondespot "This guy lies as easily as a My Pillow" you made my day. Thank you.
Sage (California)
No thanks! Tim Ryan, his opponent, is the real deal!
Richard (portland or)
A human fraud interested in himself- what could be more obvious-To think that he will probably win speaks to the sad state of ohio voters
Tom (Alsip, IL)
@Richard Tommy, two branches make up our federal government, Tuberville. Very possibly Walker and Oz. It's not just an OH thing. It's an aggrieved longing for the good old days of the 50's. The 1850's.
Coco (California)
For me, Vance is just an ambitious stock trader who will do ANYTHING to get more power. That's all.
tom (midwest)
Vance has a basic issue. He forgot where he came from.
He may win, but it sure will not be with my vote. What a huckster!!!
Robert M. (Metuchen, N.J.)
Mr. Vance puilled himself up by the bootsraps but absorbed all the wrong lessons. God is not to be found amid guns and Trump.
Timid Impala (Serengeti)
Talk about Rust Belt. I’m driving thru Lucasville, OH right now. All I see is signs for TIM RYAN. Vance is a bust…
Mike Seltzer (Monterey County)
@Timid Impala I'll bet that East Liverpool goes for Ryan.
Matt Warburg (Seattle)
Vance, like most GOP candidates, is a craven fool who will bend over backwards and twist himself into a pretzel in order to acquire power.
Pat Bake (Boston)
When you lie down with dogs you get flees. (Sorry puppies)
baba (ganoush)
“I gotta be honest with you, I don’t really care what happens to Ukraine one way or another” Vance in Feb. 2022 This man wants to be a US Senator ?
Kathy (SF)
@baba Thank you for posting that. It's a shame there are so many people so utterly lacking in humanity and decency that they comprise such a huge political party. They're all terribly defective or damaged human beings.
Jane (CT)
@baba Vance apparently doesn't care about the wanton killing of men, women and children, including the targeted bombing of schools, the torture and murder of civilians, the discovery of mass graves, all under the pretense that Russia is defending itself against "fascism."
apparatchick (Kennesaw GA)
@baba Thanks for this reminder of Vance's ignorance of Ohio as a whole. He left his hometown decades ago and hasn't looked back. That's the only part of Ohio he knows. Insulting voters of Eastern European heritage in Ohio is political suicide.
Steven V (Philadelphia)
Trump's comment tells you all you need to know about Donald Trump. Vance's [non] response tells you all you need to know about JD Vance.
Joe B. (Center City)
JD be a fraud.
me (monroe, ar)
IDK why anyone would vote for such a weak minded school.
Kirk Moore (Kansas City)
"Now you knew darn well I was a snake before you brought me in.”
John McLaughlin (New Brunswick, Nj)
JD Vance kissed Trump's ring because it benefits JD Vance...not Ohio.
Jack (Midwest)
"We’re going to send you home and make you get a real job.” Something Republicans should do as they live on welfare from working blue states...
Ziggy (PDX)
JD Good Dog.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
JD Vance, like so many other trumpian favorites, is going to have to deal with TFG’s potty-mouth about him. Tim Ryan has earned the OH senate seat! Vote.
Sendan (Manhattan Side)
JD Vance is weak.
Hotel (Putingrad)
Vance is just another two-bit GOP grifter.
Finever (Denver)
I'm sure all three NYT readers in Ohio love this article.
Paul Miles (Akron OH)
And your comment shows that NYT readers can still be ignorant. Colorado is not much different than Ohio. A few urban centers surrounded by Trumpistan.
John Ondespot (Ohio)
@Finever I didn't like it so much. But I bet my idiot brother and his wife, my sister Judy, liked it fine thanks.
Emmit (Ohio)
Plenty of democrats in Ohio. I’m a yellow dog democrat myself. Let’s go Tim Ryan!!
D. Wagner (Massachusetts)
At the end of the day, just another Trump shill.
Keef in Cucamonga (inland empire)
The “Middletown way” is to kneel down and start kissing. Then smile when he kicks you and say best president ever.
Nick (California)
J.d. Vance is a good little doggy and will do what he’s told. Spineless.
deepharbor (nh)
Trump makes Vance look like a fool, Vance makes his base look like fools.
Barking Doggerel (America)
@deepharbor Not a high bar.
Don Fraser (Roseville)
Hypocrite’s get what they deserve.
Leland (Oregon)
When are people going to understand that Donald Trump doesn’t care about political philosophy and policy. Rather- he cares about whether or not you like him, and say so publicly.
Bon Toll (New Jersey)
I read ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and was a fervent fan of J.D. Vance, not just for the writing, but overcoming great odds at success from his upbringing. However, that silver is tarnished because of his fealty to Trump. Those values don’t sit well with me at all. Truly a disappointment.
Meg (Ohio)
I cannot explain how frustrating it is to see people from my state falling for this glorified carpetbagger. The last thing Ohio needs is JD Vance, and should he win (which he likely will), that will be my cue to leave.
Brian (San Francisco)
Like so many others, once he had a taste for money, the trappings of wealth, and what power can bring, he abandoned whatever self-esteem and values he once had in pursuit of personal gain. Otherwise why would you let an utter failure of a human being degrade you on a stage in public, and pretend it was a joke. In this one instance, I think I can agree with Trump.
Betsy Ross (Oregon)
J. D. Vance won’t be the first person to sell his soul to Donald Trump. But it’s the country that always suffers. These are not leaders people!
mark (boston)
I don't know if it's sad or humorous that trump supporters are just like Vance's grandmother and trump hates his supporters so deeply but Vance doesn't care at all.
Wendy (washington, dc)
I do not understand why nobody ever points out that Vance lived mostly in San Francisco, with his wife who is a partner in a large law firm. He was mostly absent from Ohio for months after winning the primary. He and his family are the ultimate elitists, taking advantage of all that is offered by an ultra liberal city. And pretending to be conservative down to earth midwesterners. A few months ago, he was saying that democrats had fooled women into thinking that working outside the home was the way to happiness. I guess his Yale Law school educated, law firm partner wife was one of those who was fooled. He is a colossal hypocrite, and this aspect of his scam has not even been recently covered. In 2016, he wrote in the Atlantic: My wife and I spend the morning volunteering at a community garden in our San Francisco neighborhood. After a few hours of causal labor, we and the other volunteers dispersed to our respective destinations: tasty brunches, day trips to wine country, art gallery tours. It was a perfectly normal day by San Francisco standards. And then he lived in Washington, DC in 2018 when he attempted to run for a senate seat in Ohio. Nobody could figure out where in Ohio he was claiming to live. He is a fraud through and through. A perfect Republican scam artist.
Marge Keller (Midwest)
@Wendy Good grief. The fact that Vance believes the "2012 Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Conn., was part of a federal plot to build support for gun control" completed turned me off to his wild and incredulous thinking. I always thought he was somewhere "out there" but never realized just how far "out there" he really is. WOW.
Paul Eckstein (Colorado springs)
he chose the right party.
Lizsmith760 (New Jersey)
Well put and these are the reasons he will win Ohio People accept his lies
Glen Kaye (Salem, Oregon)
What a terrible choice to sell one's soul, one's ethics, one's humanity for the world of politics.
Geoff (Kettering, Ohio)
This is one Ohioan who is not fooled by Vance's faux good-ol'-boy posturing. Anyone who kowtows to the likes of Trump does not have my best interests in mind.
Robbiesimon (Washington)
It’s a conundrum for today's American pols. They’re motivated primarily by the need for ego-gratification. Yet to succeed they must humiliate themselves. Surrender any shreds of dignity, integrity, honor, character.
scott (Tucson, AZ)
What could be more genuine and sincere than an Ivy League educated, famous, best-selling author and wealthy venture capitalist politician ranting against all those awful “elites.” MAGA World does seem to consist primarily of con artists and gullible marks. Not much question which side of that equation Vance is on.
Niall (3rd Stone from the Sun)
@scott You forgot to mention that his Yale educated Californian wife works at a San Francisco law firm. The hypocrisy writes itself.
L (Loc)
My personal favorite was "My Kevin" McCarthy.
Come'on we all know Donald Trump doesn't joke. He has no sense of humor. None.
Sam C (Denver)
I thought his book was vapid in 2018. None of this is a surprise.
Observer (New York)
I'm sorry I bought his book back in 2016.
Calameda (On An Arctic Ice Floe)
Ohioans may be angry and resentful. But they hate spinelessness. Vance in Ohio and Masters in AZ are abject lessons in the cost of debasing yourself in quest for power. Bowing and scraping for Trumps favor while in service to Peter Thiel, they are despicable.
judithla (Los Angeles)
It seems he sold his soul to Donald John Trump with great ease; hardly a recommendation for character or integrity.
Marilyn (Everywhere)
JD Vance appears to have forgotten his own past. Why would someone who had so little as a child decide to cast his lot with a billionaire (if he was a billionaire) liar who cares not one bit for people like JD's Mawmaw? Hillbilly Elegy made a few good points, but it was very repetitive and not as good as it should have been. That applies to its author as well. His strident voice and slavish admiration of TFG will add nothing helpful to the Senate.
Peter (San Francisco)
I hope for both their sakes Trump spoke metaphorically, not literally.
Anthony (Fairfax)
Like any broken clock sometimes Trump tells the truth.
jrgolden (Memphis,TN)
Mr. Vance has been a shape shifter from Appalachia to the USMC to Ohio State through Yale Law and Silicon Valley into politics. He’s the epitome of “code switching.”
Stanley Kelley (Loganville, GA)
No Republican has ever been elected President without carrying Ohio!
Maggie (Maine)
Well, this is painful, but in this rare instance Trump ain't wrong. So much for Maw-Maw's lessons on self-esteem and loyalty. My own grandmother would label Vance and his Overlord "Gombeens"
George Mitchell (California)
I was fairly underwhelmed by the book - a decent memoir but I think overrated and improperly hailed as some sort of explanation for the maga movement. That said, I imagine it opened a lot of coastal eyes to the reality of white poverty in the US, so it served some purpose. More broadly, the democrat obsession with character attacks is just not getting it done. Come back to the issues, be the party that fights for working people of all colors, fights for equal opportunity education, fights for a future that looks better than the past (instead of clinging to some misplaced notion that the past was better somehow.) Broaden the coalition and the purple states become blue.
Doc (Atlanta)
Fear of Trump defines him.
jonst (maine)
anything, anything, to avoid talking about what most people are talking about. Inflation. Immigration. Crime. Energy killing policies. China. Falling test/reading comprehension tests. Hollowed out manufacturing base. Shortages of milk formulas. And so on...
W.D. (Brewer)
The seduction of money and power over others allows many men to abandon reason and reality. Vance is a complete fraud.
WalterZ (Ames, IA)
I read Mr. Vance's book when it first came out and I was impressed with his story of success. But I now realize that there are two kinds of success. The kind that inspires wisdom and humility. And another kind that inspires hubris and pride.
@WalterZ I read it and got the distinct impression that without his Maw-Maw laying down the law and pushing him he would have wound up working at a gas station.
Gus (Albuquerque)
I don’t see this actually hurting Vance. At this point, who would vote for him that wasn’t a die-hard Trump supporter? If you can’t tell that Trump is a constant liar who only cares about Trump, would you really notice that Vance is a spineless sycophant with no principles who will do anything to get elected? Trump’s endorsement and an (R) behind the name is all those voters care about.
Paul Miles (Akron OH)
Interestingly the die hard MAGA are not that excited about him. They haven’t forgiven his never Trumping as easily as Trump. There are billboards all over rural ohio that say “You are going to loose JD Vance and you know why”. Black lettering on a white background. Its the traditional Republican vote he can count on.
John H (Texas)
"“The best president of my lifetime,” Mr. Vance has maintained." Vance is nothing but a craven opportunist, similar to every one of the myriad unfit-for-office clowns that Trump has "endorsed."
J. Stevenson (Boulder)
Really, all you have to do is read Hillbilly Elegy with a modicum of attention. The phoniness of the book just jumped out at me: he was trying (very hard) to wrap himself in the robes of Appalachia, when that was not in a substantial way his home, just a place he visited. Mamaw? I wonder what she would say about her shapeshifter kin?
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
J D Vance’s opponent, Tim Ryan, is not a Trump bootlicker and Ryan actually has policies that will help the unrich. Think about that, Ohio voters.
Grove (California)
@Socrates They will sacrifice their lives to “own the libs”. Republicans biggest success is in dividing the country.
The Lone Protester (Frankfurt, Germany)
@Socrates MAGA voters think? In what parallel universe?
Steve (Providence, RI)
Another American that worships money and power.
B Sharp (Cincinnati)
Here in OHIO we do not need J.D Vance , a capitalist once a critic of Trump now licking his boots. It is Tim Ryan, we want as a serious Senator, not a boot licker Vance.
Lowell (Dubai)
Old Joke: "How do you know when a politician is lying? Their lips are moving." There are hundreds of human weathervanes out there, but few lighthouses.
Solar (California)
J. D. is a phony as a politician. He wants to stand up for his people in Ohio but he can’t stand up to Donald Trump. I really liked “Hillbilly Elegy”. He had a strong POV in that book and he’s done amazing things with his life but Trump came along and he melted. It’s sad. Go Ryan!
David Mangefrida (Naperville, IL)
Even his own supporters see that he’s nothing more than a principal-less opportunist.
Theo Baker (Catskill Ny)
Where’s the profile of Tim ryan two weeks before the election?
S Waring (VI)
Amen to that. Just what the world needs: more articles about lying, amoral people who will do and say anything to get elected. Yesterday we got the mixed reaction to Fetterman's debate performance, which for the record was honorable, and notably brave, not to mention indicative of his character. Today we get a profile of the cringeing and subservient man who left his moral compass in one of Peter Thiel's twelve guest bathrooms. Vance has two major donors. Ryan has thousands of small dollar donors. I'd like to read an article about that.
Dave (CA)
Right, the NYT should give equal time to Tim Ryan by doing a profile of him 2 weeks before the election. Although for anyone reading this article, I can’t say it would want to make you vote for J.D. Vance. Reading the comments is actually more enlightening then the article.
Roger Rabbitt (NYC)
@Theo Baker Absolutely -- with huge spreads of photos that explain what he has and will do for Ohio and what the Vance won't. We exhausted with the Trump story. How about some substantial reporting on Ryan. This was Trump clickbait and serves no one.
Jay (MAssachusetts)
JD Vance's knickers have been twisted every which way….they are now in a knot. He supports the insurrectionists, calling them political prisoners, after they assaulted Capitol Police. He apologizes for criticizing Trump, the guy who incited the insurrection. Republicans, the previous "law and order" party will have some 'splainin' to do after this election.
sumyounguy (austin,tx)
Sad commentary on Americans that an endorsement by trump is a positive thing.Expect the worst.
Dina (MA)
I was a bit frustrated by this article. It mentions several times how Vance has remolded his persona since his Yale Law and Hillbilly Elegy days, but doesn't delve deep into examples of how his rhetoric and policy positions have changed, aside from a few quotes here and there. I would have appreciated a more fulsome analysis of the differences between the two Vances, complete with textual evidence, as I've been curious to understand the nature of his transformation.
Paul (Levittown)
Yeah, right, now you have a reason to support another grifter.
Mistover (Ocean Springs, Mississippi)
It's funny, I feel like J.D. Vance would have made a great centrist Democrat if he had gone that route. Instead, he sold his soul to the devil and there is no going back. My wife read his memoir and could really relate to it (from a small Mississippi delta town that has become poorer and poorer over the years). He will miss out on my money, though.
Dave DiRoma (Baldwinsville)
Elise Stefanik, who's one congressional district over from mine, has a similar story to that of Vance. At one time she was in the "Trump is unfit for office" camp. Then something happened - "Potomac Fever" as Art Buchwald once called it - and Elise could see no wrong with Trump. Like many other fever victims, she voted against certifying the 2020 results and today continues to spout nonsense about "widespread voter fraud". Someday, all this will come home to roost for Vance, Stefanik and all the others, and the political repercussions will be enormous.
Judith (NC)
I am curious about Mr. Vance's economic policy positions, although it doesn't seem to matter to the Republican electorate in Ohio. As in North Carolina, it all comes down to wearing a plaid shirt, "talking country," and swearing allegiance to Guns, God, and Trump. Perhaps it can be distilled in this way: whoever has the best 30 second ads wins. We have become a sad country.
Don't all the elderly poeple in the audience realize the Republicans want to cut their Social Security and Medicare?
Simon (Los Angeles)
They don’t care, as they’ll be grandfathered in! The Selfish Generation had their free college, low cost housing, pensions and (in CA at least) locked in low property taxes. And they’re hanging on to their privilege!
nickdastardly (Tampa)
@Simon I bet the majority of Vance’s “old people” supporters didn’t go to college and the ones that did paid their school loans back rather than thinking they shouldn’t have to because they are special. And I bet the majority don’t have pensions.
Madge (NE)
@Simon Wow. Another Gen-Xer, I’m guessing, annoyed at their parents and grandparents. Good job missing the point.
back-button (Vermont)
Vance is one of those guys with a lot of ambition that ride whatever way the tide is flowing because it enhances them reaching their goals. Sure, he's smart and generally well spoken as well, but if he had grown up here in Vermont vs my birth state of Ohio, he would be patting Bernie on the back and pushing the Democrat's agenda. People like Vance or Trump have no real beliefs except for getting ahead. If Trump told him that the key to winning the election mean he had to happily eat what my dog leaves in the yard, he would do it with gusto.
Condemns U.S. Capitol takeover and then tweets support for those who tried to overthrow our government. There's nothing special about Vance. He's just another in a long line of go-along to get-along weathervane politicians. Oh, to see someone running for office who can see things flat on without a spin.
BJB (Hurley)
"Mr. Vance “has this idea that he did this himself and got himself out of poverty, the whole bootstrap thing,” Ms. Cuvar said. By contrast, she said, she was well aware of the safety net, “however flimsy,” that had helped her escape poverty, and felt “pure bafflement” that Mr. Vance’s takeaway was so different." What thoughtful contrast to the bombastic, self-serving Vance, who--as a Republican Senator--would scorn and vote against the policies that allow people like him to thrive.
AgnosticGirl (USA)
I am an avid reader and have read all kinds of books, great books, bad books, boring books, and meh book. I loved the book Hillybilly Elegy so much that I gifted the book for Christmas to my friends. Never have I regretted reading a book in my life except for this one. I donated the book to Goodwill. I would have been ok if they had released the book as nonfiction but Vance used the book to step into politics and here we are now when this guy who so empathically wrote his life story is brownnosing DJT.
Michael (Windsor)
Folksy humor and by-the-bootstraps charm- all the while burying democracy six feet under. Sad state of affairs in the USA.
ajn (Md.)
It is hard to believe the political change he's undergone is real. He must be for sale, just like some other Republicans who changed from reasonable to something else. It's a shame - selling one's soul for personal ambition.
Renee M (CA)
Vance’s flip-flopping on Trump and, basically, everything else in his life just proves his credentials as a Republican candidate.
Bodhisattva (New Mexico)
What's the line from Dylan? "You got to serve somebody." Choose wisely, then, so it doesn't erode your integrity and self-respect. Thanks, JD, for showing everyone, especially yourself, exactly who you are.
Margo (Ohio)
Being an Appalachian in Ohio has never been easy. While some whose families migrated away from coal country to more industrial areas continue to claim a "hillbilly" heritage, I have known a good many others who denied that heritage, claiming to be a Buckeye, since coming to Ohio. I recall in the 1960s, as the War on Poverty discovered grinding poverty in "the hills," my mother, who grew up in West Virginia, and left to attend nursing school, stated, "anyone with any gumption got out a long time ago." Appalachian culture--hillbillyized to many--has rich roots and reasons to be a source of pride. Consider the accomplishments of those who fought for union representation in mines and mills. Consider Appalachian counties that flew American flags over courthouses throughout the Civil War. Consider the anti-slavery sentiment that split West Virginia from Virginia. Perhaps Vance shares with Trump a perpetual longing to be accepted in crowds of gentry more impressed by lineage than any list of accomplishments--no matter how long. It's a sad person who denies their roots on their climb to success. Tends to leave on hollow.
Bill in Vermont (Norwich, VT)
@Margo Thank you for your historical & cultural perspective as it’s intertwined with your own family’s history. Another accomplishment coming from Appalachia, because of those isolated dark hollows, is the preservation of some of my favorite music: traditional songs originally from Scotland & Ireland. As one who enjoys Celtic music, many of the songs I’ve had the pleasure of hearing time & again have been heard precisely because because they survived in Appalachia, passed on thru successive generations. For anyone interested, the Child Ballads (not songs for children, rather named for the musicologist who recorded and cataloged them) area a good way to start. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_Ballads
John Ondespot (Ohio)
@Margo Let's be clear, West Virginia, Kentucky, much of Ohio (throbbing heart of democracy), even up here in the scabrous North, where the Black People are, spent decades refusing all manner of help. When Hillary, cognizant of the impending decline of the Appalachian coal industry (soft-hearted employer of record) offered massive support they beat her about the head and body and sent her packing. Times are hard in Appalachia, yes. Many people prefer it that way. Lucky for them they'll never have to worry about some Republican sniffing around, trying to make things better.
John (Virginia)
@Margo One of the best takes on Appalachia I've seen in a long while. I can't believe these people can't see Vance and Trump for the con men they are. The have what they need but want more--more money, more power, more of what we have--and would never do anything to help one of their devout voters. Trump wouldn't give one of these people the time of day. I can't understand the money and devotion given by these hardworking, hardscrabble folks to men who are so wholly unworthy. It just makes no sense to me.
Wheelerfield41 (Baltimore,Md)
They say we all have our price , but it looks like some of us are a little more cut rate than others . JD Vance is a smart young man , ambitious and calculating ; not necessarily in that order . Surely it galls him to know that Trump's remark is now part of his permanent record and will follow him no matter how far his political ambitions carry him .
Michael (Ann Arbor MI)
I don’t think Harvard Law means what it did to many. Their actions and deeds have laid bare any exceptionalism of Harvard or Yale graduates for several decades.
Chris Hensel (Philly)
He doesn’t care about anything but getting elected. The GOP is full of politicians who say and do what will get them elected. And given the success the far right has recently, they have no reason to stand on principle. Every Republican and right leaning independent in Georgia will vote for a man who is obviously unfit. There are Democrats and Independents in Pennsylvania that won’t vote for Fetterman because of his stroke. Democrats will lose the senate. Which is the more effective party?
Temeritee (Boulder, CO)
@Wheelerfield41 Yep, and I wonder how his late, beloved Mamaw would have responded to Trump's remark.
See also