JD Vance’s Unbelievably Fake Populism

JD Vance is said to be a new kind of “populist” conservatism. As Vance clinched the party’s nomination for Ohio’s open Senate seat on Tuesday, nationalist conservative writer Sohrab Ahmari concurred that this defeat of the old “Reaganite” consensus demonstrated that “the ranks and the GOP profile does not share the establishment’s commitments to market fundamentalism and foreign adventurism.”

There’s only one problem with this story — JD Vance is like a “populist” like Gordon Gekko.

Do not believe me? Please check the receipts.

Vance against Medicare for all. He is against universal childcare. He doesn’t even want to raise the minimum wage. These are the views you’d expect from a Yale-trained venture capitalist whose campaign was primarily funded by a billionaire Silicon Valley libertarian – but they fit perfectly. fit his current image.

Vance originally rose to fame in 2016 as the author of a best-selling book (Hillbilly Elegy) that, like Current job editor Nathan J. Robinson said that, can also be called, “How I did it even when my family were violent drug addicts who would pull themselves up with their campaign. ”

Back then, he was a Romney-ish Never Trumper, who wrote in USA Today that “Trump’s actual policy proposals, such as them, range from immoral to absurd.” Since then, he has apologized and demeaned himself before the president – and was rewarded with Trump’s endorsement in the Ohio Senate race.

A quick glance at Vance’s campaign site shows that he’s working really hard to make at least one champion impressive of populism. The front page of the site vaguely attacks “economic and government leaders” who do things that “make life harder for ordinary Americans.” The phrase “poverty rate” appears in the second sentence of the “Problems” page. There’s an entire section devoted to the opioid crisis and job loss in the industry. The phrase “working class” even appears a few times.

What’s missing is anything that even looks like a dissolution for these problems.

The sections on social issues are very clear. He says he wants to ban abortion, for example, and end all funding for universities that “teach Substantial Race Theory.” But the most central parts of his brand of “populist” are hopelessly vague.

The section “Restoring America’s Manufacturing Facility” praises former President Donald Trump’s trade policies and vaguely expresses the idea that something more needs to be done along the same path. What exactly? Your guess is as good as mine.

The part about the opioid crisis is even less clear that. The closest he comes to in any policy talk is this one: “I will work to tackle the drug epidemic, eliminate drugs from entering our communities, and help those in need. people ravaged by addiction.”

How solve? How to help? He didn’t say.

One thing we know he doesn’t want to do is help them by providing them with free medical care. In a 2019 conversation with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Vance offered a creative reason to oppose Medicare for All:

VANCE: Well, on a large scale, the Democrats increasingly represent professional elites.


VANCE: And the Republicans represent the country’s middle-class wage earners. Now, I’ll say, I think the Democratic leaders get this. If you look at the big proposals from the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates—universal childcare, debt-free college, even Medicare-for-all—framed as this This is left-leaning, but it’s really just a big sponsor for doctors, pharmacists, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. ”

In the real world, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies know very well that Medicare for All will massively reduce their profits. Medicare and Medicaid paid much less than private insurers — and if the government became the “single payer” on which all those selling medical goods and services depended , the government will have more bargaining power in setting prices. This is one reason why healthcare tends to account for a much smaller share of GDP in comparable countries than some form of global public health care.

Vance’s specialty seems to be to offer “populist” explanations for why he opposes any major reform involving the redistribution of wealth by people like the conservatives. supporting his billionaire Peter Thiel to meet working-class needs. Global Child Care, he strangely declaredwould be “class warfare against ordinary people.”

How does it work? He quote a poll that suggests those without a college degree are more likely than those who prefer an arrangement where one of them is a stay-at-home parent for at least the early years.

By the way, the gap indicated by that poll is 44% to 35% – a significant difference, but much less than what is suggested by Vance’s rhetoric of “average people”. often” do not want to use childcare. Even so, Vance is right that wanting to stay home with the kids is a perfectly legitimate hobby — and a decent society would make this possible.

But what does he really suggest as an alternative to universal childcare? He endorsed a child allowance that would be as The expanded child tax credit was enacted briefly under President Joe Biden — who, recall, is a far cry from some populists, with whom the entire Democratic party has united to beat Senator Bernie Sanders.

But, of course, Vance prefer Republican Senator Josh Hawley’s version of the idea would “offer smaller payments and more binding terms.”

How about actually a raise? Ohio steelworkers of previous generations were able to provide their families with a single income thanks to the wages and benefits won by powerful industrial unions. That is why a lot of Ohioans are so desperate that they believe anyone who tells them they can bring those jobs back.

Vance, meanwhile, explained that even a proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour “could force many employers to lay off workers.” But don’t worry – he’s a populist.

All of this starts to make a lot more sense when we pull back the camera and watch the guy write the check.

Back in 2009, Peter Thiel was one of the purest representatives of the kind of “market fundamentalism” by Sohrab Ahmari you could hope to find. In an essay published on the website of the libertarian Cato Institute, Thiel openly worried that giving ordinary people too much power would be harmful to the profits of the elite.

“Since the 1920s,” writes Thiel, “the dramatic increase in welfare beneficiaries and the expansion of franchises to women—two constituencies notoriously difficult for followers.” liberalism – has turned the concept of ‘capitalist democracy’ into an oxidizing agent.” He recommends exploring outer space and “hunting” on the ocean floor as ways he and his followers his liberalism could escape the ill effects of mass democracy.

This year, he donated $15 million to Vance’s super PAC — an unprecedented amount for a Senate campaign. This is certainly a significant reversal from abandoning earthly politics and hoping to establish anarchic capitalist colonies underwater or in outer space.

But given the way Thiel’s candidacy begins to speak whenever economic policy conversations get too specific, Thiel’s basic aversion to letting the dirty mob get their hands on his money I still have the same value.

JD Vance is many things. He is a best-selling author. He is a venture capitalist. He’s the founder of an “anti-opioid” nonprofit that “spent more than 95% of its 2017 fundraising on salaries and employee expenses, and $0 on charities or grants.” . One thing he cannot be called with a straight face is a “populist”.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jd-vances-unbelievably-phony-populism?source=articles&via=rss JD Vance’s Unbelievably Fake Populism


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: hung@interreviewed.com.

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