James David Vance, who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Ohio this fall, is a 38-year-old former United States Marine who graduated Summa Cum Laude from Ohio State, received his Juris Doctorate from Yale Law School, became a successful venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, and now lives in Cincinnati with his wife and three young children. In 2017, Vance was a regular on broadcast cable news due to his well-chronicled “pull himself up by the bootstraps” accomplishments. Good for him, I thought. Good for America!
Nailed it again Joey.
Great post, Joey. My advice would be to wait a bit. With no clear sense of values , ethics or identity, who knows what kind of persona he will invent next. This would be entertaining if it wasn't for that whole "democracy in peril" thingy. Oh well....
Love this post Joey! 5 yrs ago we moved to Cleveland, OH and recently we moved back to the west coast. In our time there we got a front row seat to the same phenomenon that you have outlined with JD Vance, in many ways he is representative of what is happening in Ohio and across the Midwest.
At a local level our charming Midwest town (Hudson, Ohio) went from family oriented and welcoming small town to being a hotbed of racism, radicalized political ads, and making national headlines for book banning, an unhinged mayor and a city council that was taken over by extremists with an agenda.
One thing you mention in your article is often undervalued- the people of Ohio have endured a lot of loss and trauma over the last few generations. Industry losses, job losses, government corruption and a lot of broken promises. Many are skeptical of government and they cling to traditional institutions like churches and legions where they seek out their people.
IMO JD Vance has adopted the same unethical tactics that our local Ohio city council did -> win at any cost… and I mean any cost - lie, cheat, manipulate, threaten, intimidate, promise and whatever means necessary to be in control.
How do we get out of this place? Many opinions on that but I don’t believe we will evolve from here until there are hard consequences for those elected officials who break the law. More, “we the people” need to start electing people who truly will represent all of us, and bring us closer together around common goals.
I look at it like this… Vance was born in 1984. He’s part of the early Millennial cohort. First to grow up in the Internet age, marinated in a media memesphere of 24-hour news and always-on entertainment, like Neo in his pod of artificial amniotic fluid.
It’s clear he’s smart, hard-working, and ambitious AF. If we sort of accept Twenge’s general assessment of the landscape of Millennial attributes – confident, tolerant, narcissistic, and entitled – and marry them to his media fluent ability, ambition, and drive, you get a Vance who has always wanted more for himself and figures out how to get it. He gets out of town by way of the Marines and serves as a combat correspondent, learning first hand how to craft a narrative acceptable to his intended audience. He kicks ass at Ohio State, and kicks ass next at Yale Law where he is encouraged by, among others, Professor Chua, author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother" (someone else who knows how to read the zeitgeist and then give it what it wants to read). He ends up not in law, but venture capital.
This is a guy who has always done what he needed for him. That’s been accomplished by working the media to his advantage by tailoring himself to it as whatever persona he needs to in order to achieve for himself.
Trump is a kind of starter dough for the ambitious, self-interested, media fluent personality. He is the Ur-archetype for the marriage the political industrial complex and the media industrial complex. Fame begets riches begets more fame begets power begets more fame begets more riches begets more power, ad infinitum.
What moves someone like Vance toward Trump? Is it the money? Some special ignorance? The promise of unlimited hair gel and tanning bed access?
Good read, Mr. Dumont. I suspect, though, that a revisit of his earlier writing would give clues as to his true character ... or lack thereof. It's a thought anyway. I'm skeptical that he "changed" his spots, so to speak. I have a hunch he is an opportunist plain and simple.
He's a gawdam americahn hewo. How dare yall?