J.D. Vance, a U.S. Senate candidate from Ohio, called out the “childless left” whom he said have “no physical commitment to the future of this country” in a fiery speech given to the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s conference on the Future of American Political Economy.
Senate candidate, former Marine, and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” Vance specifically named Vice President Kamala Harris, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, and transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (three of whom are failed presidential candidates), citing them as the childless future leaders of the Democrat Party. “Why is this just a normal fact of … life, for the leaders of our country to be people who don’t have a personal and direct stake in it via their own offspring?”
“The Democrats are talking about giving the vote to 16-year-olds,” Vance noted. “Let’s do this instead. Let’s give votes to all children in this country, but let’s give control over those votes to the parents of the children.” He continued, asking, “Doesn’t this mean that nonparents don’t have as much of a voice as parents? Doesn’t this mean that parents get a bigger say in how democracy functions?” He answered with a simple “yes” after saying “the Atlantic and the Washington Post and all the usual suspects” would criticize him.
“We should worry that in America, family formation, our birth rates, a ton of indicators of family health have collapsed,” the candidate said, highlighting the severity of America’s ongoing fertility crisis and calling it a “civilizational crisis.”
Vance spoke fondly of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s pro-natal policies, explaining that “they offer loans to newly married couples that are forgiven at some point later if those couples have actually stayed together and had kids.”
“Why can’t we do that here?” Vance asked. “Why can’t we actually promote family formation?”
Vance also articulated his vision of the American Dream, saying most Americans simply want to be able to “support a middle-class family on a single wage” if they “work hard and play by the rules.” He contrasted this vision with the version of the American Dream promoted by establishment Republicans that consists of “private jets” and “fancy businesses.”
While Vance’s rhetoric and policy prescriptions are emblematic of the right following Donald Trump’s presidency, some have expressed concern that this groundswell of grassroots, populist energy will be hijacked by entrenched establishment interests.
When asked, “How do we make sure that the populist movement that is emerging right now doesn’t get co-opted by the donor class?” Vance told The Federalist we must “only elect people who have at least some ability to raise money from the non-donor class,” adding that “we actually live in an exciting moment where you can go on Fox News and raise a ton of money from middle-class people.”
“We don’t even need to elect 50 good senators,” Vance said. “If we elect 10 good senators, it will totally transform our movement.”