J.D. Vance, the self-described hillbilly from Kentucky and also Yale Law School grad, is being looked to by the media for guidance about a Donald Trump presidency — and especially for insight about the people who elected him. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis — a “riveting” read according to the Wall Street Journal — now looks like a crystal ball that predicted Trump’s election. Vance’s exploration of the views and troubles of the disenfranchised white working-class reads like a giant exit poll of Trump’s victory. Hillbilly Elegy is currently the #1 bestseller at Amazon.
But while many who voted for Trump are celebrating, most of these people are pretty skeptical about progress according to Vance. Saying that race was surely a factor in the election, Vance says it would be a mistake to believe it was the main driver of Trump’s victory. Vance also thinks that the celebrations are half-hearted at best, because many who voted for Trump did so out of a sort of desperation — they disagreed with Trump’s rhetoric, but felt he was the only candidate addressing their issues at all. In Vance’s opinion, those voters doubt that any government — even one led by an allegedly non-mainstream figure like Trump — can help them. Speaking on CNN, the bestselling author said: “I think a lot of folks are actually relatively pessimistic about whether Trump can solve all of their problems.”