It’s all about that beard.
I first heard of J.D. Vance in 2016 around the time he came out with his memoir, Hillbilly Elegy. In my eyes he was a breath of fresh air; a conservative who was anti-Trump, but who also was concerned about the poor and who believed the government had a role in helping the poor and working-class AND believing that the down and out do have agency. He was a voice that was not found among most conservatives and that made him someone people needed to listen to.
When you see J.D. Vance on television, you saw a young man with a cherubic face. Vance was in his early 30s in 2016, but his clean-shaven face made him look 10–15 years younger. The baby-faced J.D. Vance was expressing concern about Trump and also asking that conservatives pay attention and develop policies to help the working class.