Commentary: ‘Vice President J.D. Vance’ Could Be Just the Ticket We Need

JD Vance talking with people
by Josh Hammer


Donald Trump has locked up the necessary delegates for the Republican presidential nomination, which means it’s time for every political junkie’s favorite quadrennial game: Veepstakes!

Every four years, commentators, political consultants, and elected officials all chime in with their takes on who a presidential candidate’s running mate should be. Perhaps the candidate ought to select a veep from a swing state. Perhaps the candidate ought to select someone who fits a certain demographic box. Maybe the candidate ought to pick someone with a very similar political philosophy—or perhaps someone whose ideological bona fides assuage any lingering concerns that party loyalists might harbor about the man at the top of the ticket. Or maybe it’s really as easy as picking someone who the presidential nominee simply likes and vibes with on a personal level.

There is no shortage of factors to consider. In 2024, the conversation really only pertains to former (and perhaps future) President Donald Trump; Democrats and their doddering Delawarean dolt at the top of the ticket, President Joe Biden, are stuck with cackler-in-chief Kamala Harris. Democrats are hemorrhaging minority voter support at breakneck pace, and they cannot afford to risk a greater exodus of Black voters by unceremoniously dumping a Black woman from their ticket.

Ultimately, the vice presidential pick should be selected by paying some consideration to the above factors, but above all, it is imperative to assess the contenders a little less robotically. We’re talking about human beings, after all. As dumbed down as it may seem, it is actually crucial to select someone who has the right “vibe”—or, to put it a little more technically, best captures the prevailing zeitgeist.

All of that is why Trump should select as his running mate the precocious freshman U.S. senator from Ohio, J.D. Vance.

Let’s start with demographics. As a 39-year-old millennial, Vance presents a stark generational contrast with either of the two parties’ presidential nominees. The fact that he is so young, so well-spoken, and so willing and eager to criticize the many mistakes of his decadent predecessors is inspiring. Vance speaks for the broader frustration so many young, disaffected Americans have with the baby boomers: they spent like drunken sailors, sold out American manufacturing to China, and wasted tremendous blood and treasure with their failed nation-building boondoggles. Vance doesn’t just believe all this—he physically embodies it.

Next, consider geography and the political map. Vance is from Ohio, an increasingly red state. But Vance’s fellow Buckeye State senator, the highly vulnerable Democrat Sherrod Brown, is on the ballot this November. Putting Vance on the ticket would assuredly boost Ohio Republican turnout in general, thereby helping propel Bernie Moreno, Brown’s opponent, in a race that could be crucial for flipping the Senate to Republican control. More generally, Vance, the author of the critically acclaimed memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” represents the white working class that is the GOP’s backbone. He would do more than any other pick to help replicate Trump’s Rust Belt romp of 2016, where he won Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin and nearly pulled off a shocking upset in Minnesota.

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Josh Hammer is senior editor-at-large of Newsweek. A popular conservative commentator, he is a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation and a syndicated columnist through Creators. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal, and cultural issues, Hammer is a constitutional attorney by training. He is a former John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and a campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Young America’s Foundation, and the Federalist Society.
Photo “JD Vance” by Senator JD Vance.



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