Middletown 'Rich Twat' J.D. Vance Schedules Campaign Rally During Ohio State Game, for Some Reason

Actor Jennifer Lawrence just gave Vance his new nickname.

J.D. Vance - Photo: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons
J.D. Vance

Middletown native and Republican candidate for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat J.D. Vance wants to show Buckeye State residents that he's one of them by holding a campaign rally at a time Ohioans hold as sacred – during an Ohio State University football game.

College football is practically a religion in Ohio, especially when it comes to OSU. Games at Ohio Stadium – which has a capacity of nearly 103,000 – sell out quickly and can cost hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars on the resale market. Fans who can't attend games in person are no less obsessed, with the Columbus Dispatch reporting that 10.5 million viewers watched OSU's televised home opener against Notre Dame on Sept. 3. In short, many, many Ohioans build their personal schedules around OSU football games.

In an extra incentive for fans, the Associated Press ranked the Buckeyes as No. 2 in its pre-season poll. The team has appeared on the poll for 34 consecutive years, OSU says.

That's why it's baffling that Vance would schedule a campaign rally in Youngstown for 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 – the same time that Ohio State will be kicking off against the University of Toledo.

Vance's struggling campaign

Vance has had a rocky general campaign, falling behind Democratic opponent Rep. Tim Ryan in fundraising. Bloomberg says Ryan has raised six times more in campaign contributions than Vance, CNN says Vance's campaign was in debt by $900,000 last quarter and The Daily Beast reports that one talk radio host in Youngstown recently said, "I think he's running the worst campaign that you could possibly run."

Meanwhile, Ryan has been leading in polls and outspending Vance on campaign ads. Experts say that Ryan's televised ads about economic and international issues have brought some Republican voters to his side.

Enter embattled former U.S. President Donald Trump, who once claimed, "I alone can fix it."

Trump will gather with Vance and their MAGA ("Make America Great Again," Trump's slogan that harkens back to eras when marginalized Americans had fewer rights or platforms) audience at the Sept. 17 rally. Vance, a venture capitalist, is a former never-Trump candidate who nevertheless received an eventual endorsement from Trump during the Republican primary race. Just a few years ago, Vance passionately talked about how "afraid" immigrants and Muslims in his personal circle were of Trump, with Vance tweeting "Because of this, I find him reprehensible." He even cited Christians' lack of attending church as a reason people followed Trump and wrote "Fellow Christians, everyone is watching us when we apologize for this man. Lord help us" after Trump's misogynistic "Grab 'em by the pussy" conversation on Access Hollywood came out.

But Vance has since embraced Trump's ideals, pushing far-right views on public health, abortion and immigration and falsely claiming that the 2020 general election was illegitimate. Meanwhile, Trump is under investigation for removing boxes of classified documents from the White House when he left office.

All of this has Ohioans – particularly OSU fans – confused as to why Vance would schedule his rally with Trump on a holy football Saturday if he's hoping to connect with voters.

The 'rich twat'

Oscar-winning actor Jennifer Lawrence may have given Vance his new nickname.

In a cover feature in Vogue magazine, Lawrence says that Trump's election in 2016 and the disinformation he has sown caused a rift among her family in her home state of Kentucky. That rift widened even further when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the landmark decision Roe v. Wade, which for decades had granted individuals the right to privacy to pursue an abortion.

"I’ve tried to get over it and I really can’t. I can’t," Lawrence tells Vogue writer Anne Aguirre. "I’m sorry I’m just unleashing, but I can’t fuck with people who aren’t political anymore. You live in the United States of America. You have to be political. It’s too dire. Politics are killing people."
In Ohio and Lawrence's native Kentucky, trigger laws caused immediate problems since the June 24 SCOTUS decision, including children who were raped and who were forced to seek abortion care outside state lines. Ohio Republicans largely have ducked questions about the issues.

"It breaks my heart because America had the choice between a woman and a dangerous, dangerous jar of mayonnaise. And they were like, 'Well, we can’t have a woman. Let’s go with the jar of mayonnaise,"says Lawrence, who says that she'd had an abortion in her 20s.

Vance is part of that, Lawrence says. According to the Vogue piece, she's "appalled" that he's running for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat. In the article, she calls out Vance's attempts to claim himself as a hillbilly while enjoying the fruits of his venture capitalist career and friendship with controversial billionaire Peter Thiel.
"He’s not a hillbilly if he wrote a huge book. Rich twat," Lawrence says. "I mean, I’m a rich twat, but I’m not running for office pretending that I’m not."

Vance's book Hillbilly Elegy often is credited with foretelling Trump's rise to political power but also is frequently criticized for not depicting Appalachian life authentically.

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