J.D. Vance has had great success as an attorney, venture capitalist and author.
The modern-day Renaissance man may soon be adding another notch to his career belt, that of U.S. Senator.
The son of Donald Bowman and Bev Vance was born in Middletown, Ohio, after the family moved there from Jackson, Kentucky.
His parents divorced early on, so he and his sister went to live with their grandparents James and Bonnie Vance. As a tribute to them, J.D. later chose to take on the surname of Vance.
He attended Middletown High School, and after graduating he enlisted in the Marine Corps, where he served in the Iraq War. He went on to attend Ohio State University and later earned his Yale law degree.
He took on the corporate law firm world, and then moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry as a partner with Peter Thiel’s venture capital firm, Mithril Capital.
He experienced an additional game changer in 2016, when Harper published his book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” The book enjoyed phenomenal success and remained on The New York Times Best Seller list for months.
“Hillbilly Elegy” tells the story of the strengths and struggles of one of America’s truly forgotten segments, a group that is largely invisible to our nation’s leaders, media outlets and business communities. It is the subculture of impoverished whites living in rural America.
As the title indicates, the book sheds light on the culture of Appalachia, those with whom J.D.’s family shares its rural Kentucky roots before additional ones were established in the Ohio Rust Belt.
The book would take flight in a different manner in 2017. Iconic director-actor Ron Howard signed on to direct a film version of “Hillbilly Elegy,” which was released by Netflix in 2020. This would also be the year that J.D. would become a CNN contributor.
His upbringing and life experiences informed his positions on national policies in a dynamic way, which helped to prepare him for his campaign run as well as his likely senate post. He is expected to win the Ohio seat.
As would be expected, MSNBC hosts have gone on the attack against the Republican candidate.
A recent MSNBC panel used the final debate between J.D. and Dem candidate Tim Ryan to target J.D. while simultaneously slamming “white Republican men.”
Abortion was the overriding theme of the panel discussion, though, which is consistent with the hierarchy of issues being pushed by Democrats and their allies in the lead-up to the midterms.
Host Joy Reid, along with Democratic strategist and frequent guest Kurt Bardella, went on the attack against J.D. Then Bardella flatly stated that J.D. and other Republicans do not understand how “a baby is actually made.”
“I mean the one thing we’ve seen during the abortion debate that’s unfolding is that most of these White Republican men have no idea how a baby is actually made,” Bardella stated.
Reid agreed, saying, “Do they even know how to make a baby? I don’t think they do, and he [J.D.] has kids!”
Just for the record, J.D. has been married to former law school classmate Usha Chilukuri Vance for eight years and the couple has three children.
The negative focus on abortion and white GOP males by the Democrats and liberal media appears to be the result of an increase in J.D.’s voter support, as indicated in a recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll.
The poll shows a 47% to 45% lead for J.D. This suggests that there has been a significant swing in recent weeks from Ryan’s one-point advantage over J.D. to J.D.’s current 3 point advantage.
Although Ryan has attempted to portray himself as a pragmatic moderate, many voters have taken note of Ryan’s voting record in Congress, where he has consistently voted in lockstep with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Voters may also recall that during his unsuccessful 2020 presidential campaign he sounded unmistakably woke.
In contrast, J.D.’s relatability appeals to average everyday folks because he really has lived their same pain. In the Ohio steel town home of his youth, he felt the aftereffects of an ever shrinking economy.
Additionally, like so many families affected by addictions of various sorts, his mother tragically became addicted to heroin. Grandmother “Mamaw” came to his rescue, bringing stability to his life and teaching him to accept responsibility for his actions.
Mamaw told him that he lived in the “best and greatest country on earth,” which in J.D.’s words “gave meaning to my childhood.”
J.D.’s writings and life example stand as a testament to the axiom that the virtues of humility and fortitude are forged in the triumph over adversity.
“One of the things Hillbilly Elegy is about is a struggle to find stability in your own life, but also to become a good person when you didn’t have an easy upbringing,” J.D. shared. “That means being a good husband and a good father, and being capable enough to provide for your family.”
A search for the source of goodness has led him on a faith journey. He was raised as an evangelical Protestant but ended up unattached to any particular religious denomination. Then in 2016, he began thinking more deeply about his faith and became a Catholic Christian in 2019.
“When I looked at the people who meant the most to me, they were Catholic. My uncle by marriage is a Catholic,” he explained.
As a Confirmation patron name, he chose a figure that is beloved by Christians, philosophers and academics alike, St. Augustine, who authored a book that J.D., like so many others, finds inspirational, “Confessions.”
Sure would be nice if the pursuit of virtue that J.D. exhibits could rub off on his future colleagues in D.C.