What Is J.D. Vance Doing?

AP Photo/Jeff Dean

The more I follow politics, the more I find myself losing patience with politicians who can’t stop stepping on their own feet. For example, even the most stalwart, dedicated Trump supporter will admit that the former president constantly handed fodder to his opponents for no reason other than the fact that he could. That certainly frustrated a lot of Republicans at times.

But the problem for politicians who are now trying to mimic Donald Trump is that there’s only one Donald Trump. His mixture of charisma (love him or hate him, the dude is charismatic and hilarious) and celebrity appeal allowed him to transcend normal political boundaries in 2016.

J.D. Vance, on the other hand, doesn’t really have that. Yes, he wrote a best-selling book, but he has nowhere near the dynamic appeal that Trump had and continues to have. Given that, I have to wonder exactly what Vance is doing when he makes a post like this?

I’m not here to argue the finer points of Alex Jones vs. Rachel Maddow. It’s no secret that I think Maddow is one of the most dishonest hacks in the news industry. It’s also no secret that I think Alex Jones is a kook who in no way represents the right, Trump or otherwise. Just because Jones is ostensibly “right-wing” does not mean I owe him anything.

Yet, it doesn’t really matter what I think. What matters is what’s politically smart. Note that Trump never tied himself to Alex Jones because doing so is idiotic. In this case, Vance is handing his future Democrat opponent (assuming he wins the primary) a killer attack ad by tying himself to the guy who denied that Sandy Hook happened and believes the government turned the frogs gay.

I realize the retort will be that no one will care except for liberals who wouldn’t vote for Vance anyway, but I don’t believe that’s true. Ohio is getting redder, but we are still talking about a fickle state full of self-described independents. Vance can do his everyman act, but he also should be wary of shooting himself in the leg for giggles.

Yes, take shots at Rachel Maddow, but don’t position yourself as an Alex Jones supporter in the process. Social media sucks and all the platforms are run by hypocrites, but there are better ways to make that point. Democrats are ruthless. They own the media and they own the big donors. Vance has to take his race seriously, and he can’t make unforced errors. In short, just be smarter than this.