J.D. Vance
(Image credit: Illustrated | AP Photo, iStock)

Like so many other liberals seeking to understand the then-incipient Donald Trump era, I read J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy when it was published in 2016. At the time, Vance was offered to the public as a sort of "Trump whisperer," somebody who had grown up among the white underclass but also attended an Ivy League school, and thus could bridge the two cultures. The memoir was far from perfect — I thought Vance was self-deluding about the role of race in the backlash against President Obama — but overall it seemed a worthy effort, a reminder in our polarized and self-sorted society that our fellow citizens are not two-dimensional movie villains, but flesh-and-blood people who have different ideas and priorities.

Vance announced Thursday he is running in Ohio's GOP primary for the U.S. Senate. Disappointingly, he's turned away from his thoughtful persona to become just another shrill Trumpist politician — armed with an elbow-throwing Twitter account and backed by the kind of oligarchical big money he claims to despise.

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