J.D. Vance may be cucked by former President Donald Trump, but at least now he’ll become a cucked U.S. senator from the state of Ohio, according to MSNBC. It’s a pretty big club, and he’s spent this entire campaign cycle debasing himself for a place amongst it, so good for him, I guess. Unfortunately, it’s going to be pretty bad for the no-longer-bellwether state.
For weeks, the race between Vance, the GOP-backed venture capitalist and Hillbilly Elegy author; and Tim Ryan, a moderate Democrat and career politician who ran on a pro-worker platform, had been neck-and-neck, but as of this week, the former secured a firmer foothold. Of the respondents polled in Emerson College’s final survey, just 4 percent said they were still undecided. On election night, as polling results were reported, Vance maintained a close lead on Ryan but clinched the race by 11 p.m. EST.
“I have the privilege to concede this race to J.D. Vance, because the way this country operates is that when you lose an election you concede,” Ryan said on stage at his rally on Tuesday night. “You respect the will of the people. We can’t have a system where if you win it’s a legitimate election and if you lose someone stole it.”
It came as no surprise that women voters were reportedly more in favor of Ryan, while Vance had—unsurprisingly—curried favor predominantly with men. As in other races across the country, abortion crystallized the contrast between the two candidates—namely, Vance’s disingenuous radicalism and Ryan’s moderation. In September 2021, Vance infamously argued against a need for exceptions for rape and incest in abortion bans. In January 2022, he proposed a racist and antisemitic solution for a post-Roe v. Wade nation, and by February, during a podcast interview, issued a full-throated proclamation of support for criminalizing abortion nationwide. In a recent debate, however, he slightly walked back his stance on exceptions—using a 10-year-old rape survivor as an exemplary anecdote—though noted that he would vote for a national abortion ban at 15 weeks introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). Meanwhile, when Ryan entered the political arena in 2002, he was solidly anti-choice. By 2015, he’d shifted his stance, and recently said he would vote to codify the rights previously protected under Roe. Frankly though, he hasn’t exactly been a champion for the right to choose.
Even still, Vance had no shortage of controversies for Ryan—who out-fundraised his opponent—to capitalize on. For starters, he’s bankrolling a biotech startup that has subjected live animals to cruel and inhumane testing, and he’s made scores of unhinged statements—namely, that people in violent marriages shouldn’t be allowed to leave them. Of course, more prime material for dunking on Vance arrived when a former classmate and friend told the Washington Post that his Senate run was prompted by bad reviews from “snobby critics” of Netflix’s Hillbilly Elegy film adaptation. Naturally, Ryan mostly just posited himself as Vance’s diametrical opposite, wearing an Ohio State hoodie and a camouflage trucker hat—the working-man’s “ass-kicker” to his Ivy League opponent’s “ass-kisser,” as Ryan so often reminded what he called the state’s “exhausted majority.”
In September, during a stump speech, Trump famously remarked to the crowd: “J.D. is kissing my ass.” It was one of a dozen campaign appearances made by Trump and his son, Don Jr., on Vance’s behalf despite the fact that, when he first entered the public eye, Vance was openly anti-Trump. Trump also treated Vance’s election eve rally as free advertising for an upcoming “announcement.” Ultimately, ass-kissing, regardless of how pathetic it appears, proved successful for Vance.
So, what’s next? Well, Vance’s platform was, in essence, his book, public allegiances to key GOP figures, and more criticisms of the country than achievable solutions—meaning he’ll probably find some popularity with his fellow unqualified peers in the Senate. He also appears to have established a potentially terrifying allyship with Ohio’s Gov. Mike DeWine (R), who was reelected on Tuesday and was on Vance’s election eve rally guest list. DeWine, as Jezebel has previously reported, is poised to make abortion access even more abysmal in the state.