JD Vance repeats Tucker Carlson conspiracy theory that Biden intentionally allows fentanyl across border to kill Trump voters
Carlson concluded that although the United States has suffered high levels of overdose deaths, “these are exactly the kind of people the administration hates anyway, so in the interests of fairness, the White House plans to continue to allow as much fentanyl as possible into this country through Mexico.In fact, border seizures of fentanyl in Trump’s last year in office mostly mirror current rates under Biden. More broadly, the overdose epidemic in the United States is a complicated phenomenon, fueled by drug manufacturersa for-profit health systemand the economic precariousness resulting from de-industrialization and a set decline to the power of organized labour. It is not caused by immigrants.
It’s no surprise that Vance embraces this talking point from Carlson. His political life depends on the Trump-Carlson wing of the Republican Party, and his turn around from reported candidate to favorite came in the wake of Trump’s endorsement. Vance’s main opponent in the Republican primary, Josh Mandel, also model himself after Trump, but the increasingly acrimonious rivalry shows that simply embracing the former president’s bigoted rhetoric isn’t always enough to avoid the dreaded “establishment candidate” label. as Don Trump Jr says. referred to Mandel on Twitter.
Beyond Trump and Carlson, Vance is a creation of the GOP megadonor Peter Thiel, the far-right billionaire with connections to the falsely populist “new right”, as well as to manifest white nationalists. Last year, Thiel co-launched a new project called the Rockbridge Network who seeks to reshape the Republican Party in Thiel’s image. Vance and fellow Senate candidate Blake Masters were recipients donations from Thiel totaling at least $10 million each.
This group often pays lip service to a narrow conception of the working class – mostly white men in hard hats and their wives – but their pro-worker rhetoric is grounded in blaming immigrants for lower wages and the increase in crime and drug use. Given the long history of association of immigrant communities with drug-related crime, dating back to anti-Chinese racism around opium and anti-Mexican racism around marijuana, it’s no shock that Carlson and Vance recycle these tropes. But, as Vance might tell, it seems intentional.