During a recent appearance on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight, J.D. Vance — a faux-conservative Trumpist and U.S. Senate candidate for the state of Ohio — adopted some of Bernie Sanders’ agenda when he declared that the government should seize the assets of political non-profits that don’t believe as he does and then redistribute that wealth to organizations that agree with his “conservative” views.
If you liked how Obama used the IRS to target his political enemies, you’re going to love what J.D. Vance has in mind (via Reason.com):
This week in the Republican-descent-into-batshit-authoritarianism beat: U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance tells Fox News host Tucker Carlson that the federal government should seize money from nonprofit organizations and redistribute their wealth.
The proximate cause of these brain farts is the fact that a fellow with the Ford Foundation—a nonprofit organization dedicated to social justice—got into an argument with some of her fellow students at Arizona State University over a “Police Lives Matter” sticker. For daring to associate with someone who would commit this heinous transgression, Vance suggests that the Ford Foundation should have their assets seized and redistributed.
“Why don’t we seize the assets of the Ford Foundation, tax their assets, and give it to the people who’ve had their lives destroyed by their radical open borders agenda?” Vance asked on Carlson’s show last night.
In the past, conservatives and libertarians have freaked out—with very good reason—at the idea of the IRS or any other government agency targeting tax-exempt groups based on these groups’ beliefs. To have charities, think tanks, grant-making foundations, activist groups, and other nonprofit organizations subject to the whims and will of each passing political administration would be antithetical to free speech, free markets, and the civil liberties of these groups and their donors.
Republicans—including Tucker and Vance—would surely be horrified if the Biden administration started taking any action against conservative nonprofits, let alone seizing their assets and handing it over to causes liberals support.
Throughout the segment, Carlson and Vance try to portray nonprofit groups as an exotic Democratic Party plot and the whole idea of tax-exempt status as some sort of left-wing conspiracy. Carlson complains that groups like the Ford Foundation can “completely change the country, non-democratically, using their tax exemption” and acts aghast that politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) aren’t calling for taxing “openly partisan” nonprofits. Vance called groups like the Ford Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Harvard University endowment “fundamentally cancers on society.”
But Carlson and Vance probably wouldn’t like it if Democrats came after the Heritage Foundation, Turning Point USA, the Independent Women’s Forum, and other GOP-friendly groups that enjoy tax-exempt status, too. (emphasis mine)
WATCH: @JDVance1 explains why it's time to tax groups like the Ford Foundation funding Left-wing ideology.
"Why don't we seize the assets of the Ford Foundation, tax their assets, and give it to the people who've had their lives destroyed by the radical open borders agenda?" pic.twitter.com/DF4erMjxmM
— Ohio War Room (@OhioWarRoom) September 29, 2021
By the way, did you hear Carlson’s “Amen” at the end of Vance’s liberty-hating rant?
It’s troubling to hear a faux-conservative Trumpist like J.D. Vance tout Bernie Sanders-inspired policies and use them as a reason to vote for him. But as we see all-too-often in today’s Republican Party, Trump’s brand of nationalism — which is warmed-over Democratic Socialism with an “R” attached — has replaced conservatism. Additionally, Vance is another example of how even people who once opposed Donald Trump have willingly sold their souls to him to be in his good graces (via CNN):
In deleted tweets first discovered by CNN’s KFile, Vance wrote in 2016 that he would not vote for Trump in the presidential election and instead] support Evan McMullin, a former CIA operations officer who ran as an independent. Vance also called Trump “reprehensible.”
“Trump makes people I care about afraid. Immigrants, Muslims, etc. Because of this I find him reprehensible. God wants better of us,” he wrote in October 2016.
In another deleted tweet — this one sent following the fallout of the infamous Access Hollywood tape — Vance wrote, “Fellow Christians, everyone is watching us when we apologize for this man. Lord help us.”
But that was before Vance decided to run to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate; now he has officially apologized for his past statements about his orange messiah in hopes of earning his endorsement. Trump hasn’t made an official endorsement, but his former national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, gave his endorsement back in August and Robert Lighthizer, who served as Trump’s U.S. trade representative, gave his in September.
By the way, in a clear example of how nationalism has replaced conservatism within the Republican Party, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) — his 2024 presidential aspirations are tied to Trumpism and nationalism — also endorsed Vance last month.
Speaking of Trumpism and nationalism, it’s no coincidence that J.D. Vance chose Tucker Carlson’s show to spread Bernie Sanders-inspired Democratic Socialism because he and the FOX News host are simpatico in these areas — especially when it comes to conservative values like liberty and the free market.
In the summer of 2019, the National Conservatism Conference (NCC) was held — a get-together motivated by a desire to find new ways to empower government with the means necessary to right the wrongs brought about by what was referred to as “traditional conservatism.”
If liberty had to be sacrificed to accomplish that goal, it’s a price nationalists were willing to pay. “Today we declare independence,” NCC organizer Yoram Hazony said, “from the set of ideas that sees the atomic individual, the free and equal individual, as the only thing that matters in politics.”
In a keynote speech given at the conference, FOX News host Tucker Carlson — who once stated that he loves Elizabeth Warren’s “Economic Patriotism” platform because it sounded like “Donald Trump at his best.” — stated that big government was less a threat to liberty than the free market. “The main threat to your ability to live your life as your choose does not come from government anymore,” Carlson declared. “It comes from the private sector.” (emphasis mine)
Conservatives used to have a home within the Republican Party, but that hasn’t been true for some time now, especially since the 2016 when conservatism was replaced by Trumpism and nationalism.
Unfortunately, as I wrote in a piece about Dean Heller earlier this week, faux-conservative Trumpists will be standard fare for the majority of Republicans running for office at the state and federal levels of government in 2022 and 2024.
So, as those elections draw nigh, don’t be surprised to see more faux-conservative Trumpists like J.D. Vance adopt Bernie Sanders’ Democratic Socialist agenda, and don’t be surprised when they talk about government seizure of the private assets of political non-profits that don’t believe as they do.
Liberty, after all, is secondary to political ambition.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.