It’s ‘All About Him’ Even Without Trump On The Ballot, As Proving JD Vance’s Ohio Senate Primary Win

For the past several months, the most sought-after award in the Republican Party has been the endorsement of the 45th President of the United States. Tonight, the results of the Republican primaries in the Ohio Senate are Chart A for reasons.

A few months ago, JD Vance’s campaign looked dead underwater. Even after raising tens of millions from conservative donors, he fell short of then-leader Josh Mandel in the polls. Vance, who once called himself “the guy who was never Trump,” endured near-daily humiliation when he used the clumsily and ostentatious display of a MAGA Republican to call the crazy base of the former president.

But Vance’s efforts to nurture Trump and win his support ultimately paid off. Three weeks ago, the seal of approval came from Trump – and the rest is history.

According to an Ohio Republican political strategist I spoke with, the impact of the former president’s endorsement was immediate. Poll numbers in the Senate primaries shifted almost immediately in Vance’s favor.

“If he wins,” the strategist told me earlier on Tuesday, it would be “100 percent” because of Trump’s endorsement. “It’s all about him,” he said, referring to the former president.

With a background in venture capital, a degree from Yale Law School, a San Francisco living magic, and author of “Hillbilly Elegy” – a tough, largely impersonal look at upbringing his grief in Appalachia – Vance has always been an odd fit on MAGA’s roster of heroes.

In the book, Vance often offers his harshest criticisms of the people he grew up with — the very people who were among Trump’s most fervent supporters. He candidly talks about their drug addictions (including his mother, a recovering heroin addict) and how they fell into a state of despair and coma.

For now, however, he has moderated his criticism of the usual entourage of tech companies, government officials and shadowy liberal elites — all whom the wing supposedly responsible for the plight of the white working class.

Like Trump, Vance wholeheartedly embraced the populist rhetoric and resentful politics of the modern GOP.

As Vance stated at a Trump rally last week: “You can’t have a real country if a bunch of corrupt bad guys taking marches from Communist China tell us what we I am allowed to say and how are we allowed to say it.”

And as his main opponents repeatedly try to remind Republican voters, it wasn’t long ago that Vance was a fierce critic of Trump. Back in 2016, he called him “reproachable” and “idiot” and compared him to a drug that helped his supporters “get rid of the pain” easily. Now he says Trump is “the best president of my life” —and all is forgiven.

It’s easy to see Vance’s face as the pinnacle of political hypocrisy, even if it’s entirely true. There is little doubt, however, that his decision to tie his wagon to the Trump star was a smart political one.

After tonight, Vance is the clear lead in the general election, where he will face off against Democrat Tim Ryan. It’s been a bad political climate for Democrats, and Ohio is increasingly leaning in the red, so it’s hard to see how Ryan prevails in November.

To Republicans, the message from Vance’s victory was clear: in the modern GOP, no point of growth is seen as anything other than a Trump supporter. Despite the truth being told, most of them seemed to already know it. Trump’s track record this cycle is 55-0 in the endorsement and the race in Ohio was determined by the defeated efforts of virtually all the candidates to woo Trump to win his coveted approval.

In the race for the Pennsylvania Senate, Trump endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz. But that hasn’t stopped every candidate in a recent GOP debate from trying to wrap themselves in Trump’s MAGA mantle.

A year and a half ago, one could still envision a post-Trump GOP. With the former president quarantined at Mar-a-Lago following the January 6 attack on the Capitol, perhaps the party will take the first tentative steps out of the MAGA bubble. Instead, Trump’s control of the party — and the willingness of GOP leaders to obey his will — may be firmer than ever.

To be sure, between now and November at least a few of the candidates endorsed by Trump will lose the Republican primaries. But make no mistake, between now and next fall, every one of them will try to follow the same book as JD Vance. It’s ‘All About Him’ Even Without Trump On The Ballot, As Proving JD Vance’s Ohio Senate Primary Win


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