What Next

J.D. Vance’s Long Game

As he runs for Senate in Ohio, the “Hillbilly” elegist is turning his ire on the left – and borrowing from a new intellectual movement on the political right.


Episode Notes

J.D. Vance became a sought-after cultural translator when he published Hillbilly Elegy. Now, he’s a rhetorical bomb-thrower running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Ohio. But underneath Vance’s transformation is a relatively consistent appreciation for a new strain of conservatism still in the process of defining itself. Could Vance’s candidacy advance this intellectual movement on the political right?

Guest: Simon van Zuylen-Wood, who wrote about J.D. Vance for the Washington Post Magazine.

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Podcast production by Mary Wilson, Danielle Hewitt, Elena Schwartz, and Carmel Delshad.


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The problem with the news right now? It’s everywhere. And each day, it can feel like we’re all just mindlessly scrolling. It’s why we created What Next. This short daily show is here to help you make sense of things. When the news feels overwhelming, we’re here to help you answer: What next? Look for new episodes every weekday morning.

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  • Mary Harris is the host and managing editor of What Next, Slate's new daily news podcast. She has reported throughout the public radio system, for NPR, Marketplace, and WNYC.