Assertive anti-wokist multimillionaire Vivek Ramaswamy stirs up Republican presidential field

By Mayank Chhaya-

Ohio biotech and healthcare entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy’s 2024 Republican presidential nomination seems like a long shot. However, his brash entry into the field is expected to stir up things within the party.

The tech multimillionaire’s announcement yesterday contained keywords such as “America first” and being “unapologetic” that turn on Republicans no end. Add to that mix his assertive anti-wokism and the promise that he will end federally-mandated affirmative action “on Day 1 without apology” as president and there is the making of a brash 2024 campaign.

Another Republican favorite that he focused on in rejecting it as diversity. “We’ve celebrated our “diversity” so much that we forgot all the ways we’re really the same as Americans, bound by ideals that united a divided, headstrong group of people 250 years ago. I believe deep in my bones those ideals still exist. I’m running for President to revive them,” he said in a pinned tweet.

Rejecting diversity would seem like a strange stance to take for a son of immigrant parents from Kerala, India.

In keeping with what appears to be characteristic grandstanding Ramaswamy also tweeted, “This isn’t just a political campaign, but a cultural movement.”

From “decimating” and “annihilating” drug cartels generally and the “Mexican drug cartel problem” particularly to “becoming totally independent of China”, Ramaswamy promises to do everything.

At 37, he is the youngest Republican to announce his presidential bid. From his age vantage point the 51-year-old Nikki Haley, who has already announced her bid, might seem to him like what the 76-year-old former President Donald Trump or the 80-year-old incumbent President Joe Biden might look like to her.

Ramaswamy wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal explaining why he is running for president. “We embrace secular religions like climatism, Covidism and gender ideology to satisfy our need for meaning, yet we can’t answer what it means to be an American,” he wrote.

“The Republican Party’s top priority should be to fill this void with an inspiring national identity that dilutes the woke agenda to irrelevance,” he said.

By attaching a dismissive “ism” to the raging climate crisis and the COVID pandemic, which took over a million American lives, Ramaswamy is clearly attempting to tap into the much-expressed derision among the core constituency of Trump supporters.

At one level, a young Indian American son of immigrant parents Geetha and V.G. Ramaswamy from Vadakkencherry, Palakkad, in Kerala, India announcing a presidential bid is emblematic of the growing confidence of nearly four million strong Indian American community. However, getting into the specifics of what he stands for can be revelatory about his personality. From what he has publicly pronounced so far it is clear that he is going to lock horns with Haley in order to present a contrast to the Republican primary voters.

That he thinks not only can he win the Republican nomination and even the presidency and hence he should have Day 1 agenda that includes immediately ending affirmative action shows the direction his campaign will go in.

The grandiosity of promising a “cultural movement to create a new American Dream—one that is not only about money but about the unapologetic pursuit of excellence” also shows his personality.

If nothing else, Ramaswamy’s entry into what is expected to be a very crowded field soon will have a novelty value. However, whether and when it wears off remains to be seen.

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