“The hold of the Koch brothers on the Republican Party at this point is loosening.”— On Point (@OnPointRadio) March 19, 2021
“And there is a new populism that’s emerging in the likes of Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton. That is a very different type of Republican Party,” @leedrutman says. https://t.co/2qHZ61j67A
I’m familiar with J.D. Vance.
J.D. Vance is the Hillbilly Elegy guy.
J.D. Vance is or was more of a mainstream conservative.
J.D. Vance has ties to Yoram Hazony’s “National Conservatism” clique.
For all of these reasons, I am suspicious of J.D. Vance although it appears that the alternative in the upcoming Ohio Senate race is Josh Mandel – who is Jewish and who ran and lost before in 2018 – or some woman who isn’t really known outside of Ohio.
“In June 2015, Donald Trump rode down the infamous escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidential bid. Like a lot of people, I didn’t know what to think. From the start, I appreciated his populist instincts on trade and immigration, as well as his hard-line approach to China. But he was a former Democrat and his style seemed too abrasive, and I said as much. Surely, I thought, we can fix our broken politics with a more traditional Republican.
After he won, I rethought my opposition. As I watched the constant stream of venom from Democratic Party “resisters” and their allies in the corporate media, it dawned on me that President Trump’s aggressive style was a feature, not a bug.
What separated Donald Trump from other Republicans in my lifetime wasn’t just his populist-inspired policy agenda—it was his fearlessness. When he nominated my friend (and my wife’s former boss) Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the Left threw every reprehensible slander imaginable in Kavanaugh’s direction. I assumed Trump would fold and withdraw the nomination. But he didn’t. He stood his ground, and Kavanaugh was eventually confirmed successfully. …”
The Never Trumper Mona Charen who used to be a regular at National Review rightly brings up Vance’s background at The Bulwark.
“Whatever the future of the Republican party will be, the shape-shifting J.D. Vance sheds light on the dynamics of how we got here and where the Republican party is headed. This week, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel announced that he is donating $10 million to a super PAC supporting Vance’s potential run for the Senate seat from Ohio. Vance hasn’t yet declared his candidacy, but Thiel has been boosting him for a while and it’s a safe assumption that he isn’t prone to throwing away his money.
Vance today is a fixture of the Trumpist right, but that isn’t the way he debuted. Not at all.
Rarely does a nonfiction book make the kind of splash Hillbilly Elegy did in 2016. I was part of the cheering section. At a moment when a thousand voices on the right were proclaiming that a failure to address the problems of the white working class was the root of Trump’s rise, and conservative pundits were lining up to agree that the government had failed these people, Vance emerged as an authentic voice of the working class—a self-styled “hillbilly” no less—to declare that the problems of many working-class people were largely self-inflicted. …”
“Lee Drutman: “Reaganism in America is dead. … It has outlived its usefulness as a policy solution if it ever had usefulness and neither party supports it. The Republican Party has basically given up on that. The Republican Party is no longer the party of Reagan. It’s the party of Trump now. And Republican voters overwhelmingly supported the stimulus plan. Republican voters are much more supportive of taxing the rich and spending on social welfare. Republicans are no longer the party of free trade, and there’s no more anticommunism.” …
On the future of Reaganomics in America
Lee Drutman: “I think that that era is coming to an end as well. I mean, these things move in broad cycles and there’s been 40 years of the idea that less government, limited government, lower taxes is what gets the economy moving. And we’re at a level of inequality that is [un]sustainable.
“Taxes on the rich are going to have to increase at some point. … I think that’s just inevitable. The public supports it. I think even many Republicans would support it. I mean, the hold of the Koch brothers on the Republican Party at this point is loosening. And there is a new populism that’s emerging in the likes of Josh Hawley and Tom Cotton. That is a very different type of Republican Party.” …”
Vance is getting massive Thiel bucks.
For those who are unfamiliar with Hillbilly Elegy, it is the book and movie that launched Vance onto the national political stage. It was the kind of bootstraps story that mainstream conservatives in the pre-Trump era wanted to hear about the White working class. It was catnip to them.
In fairness, J.D. Vance isn’t the only Republican who has been reprogrammed in light of shifting political winds as of late. Marco Rubio and Mitt Romney have also been reprogrammed. Josh Hawley has rebranded since he was elected as Missouri’s AG although in Hawley’s case it is more real because he has been thinking through these issues since childhood. He wrote a book about Theodore Roosevelt before Trump was elected president in 2016. The ground underneath the GOP has shifted so radically in the last five years that it has gotten to the point where Lindsey Graham had to be reprogrammed.
All of the Republican politicians are going to have to be reprogrammed because the voters have changed. True Cons in the suburbs who used to be Republicans are now Democrats while Democrats and Independents in other areas like Ohio’s Mahoning Valley are now Republicans.
Ohio was one of the states where Trump lost suburban voters and made up for it by replacing them with new working class voters. The same thing happened in North Carolina where Trump found new voters in eastern North Carolina while losing suburban voters.
I’m not really excited about J.D. Vance although I kind of understand why he had to be reprogrammed given the shifting grounds of Ohio politics. The only question that really matters is how he would vote in Congress. In that respect, I expect he would have to be better than Sen. Rob Portman.
Note: I’m content to just monitor the situation for now. This is my initial thoughts though on J.D. Vance running for Ohio Senate.