Vivek Ramaswamy running for president on ‘anti-woke’ vision

37-year-old author and entrepreneur wants to “revive” what he calls our “national identity.”
Vivek Ramaswamy is a Republican candidate for President
Vivek Ramaswamy is a Republican candidate for President(Vivek Ramaswamy)
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 3:48 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A political outsider thinks he sees the inside track to the White House.

“I think professional politicians cannot be effective politicians, certainly effective presidents anymore,” said 37-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy. “Once you’re captured by the system, you become part of the system.”

Ramaswamy, the fourth Republican candidate to officially announce a presidential bid, calls himself the “anti-woke” candidate. He made the announcement last week on Fox News’ ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’ Since then, he has made the rounds on other conservative platforms promoting his “vision.”

“We’re in the middle of a national identity crisis,” Ramaswamy’s announcement video begins. He claims “faith, patriotism and hard work” have been replaced with “new secular religions like COVID-ism, climate-ism and gender ideology.”

Ramaswamy is an Indian American who has written several books on the subject of “anti-woke.” He has also started a biopharmaceutical company in 2014 called Roivant Sciences and co-founded Strive Asset Management last year. In an interview with Gray Television’s Washington News Bureau, Ramaswamy, who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, said he wants to be president to revive what he calls our national identity.

“You ask most people what it means to be an American today, you get a blank stare in response,” said Ramaswamy. “I think that is the black hole at the center of our nation’s soul. And if we can fill that vacuum with the vision of American national identity that runs so deep, I think we can come out of this national identity crisis stronger.”

Ramaswamy says being a “doer” qualifies him to be the leader of the free world and he is running for president on a vision he says he developed over the last three years.

“It’s my vision for the country that I’ve unapologetically advanced through my work, through the books I’ve written, through my travels of this country over the last year, where you might need a president sometimes that can just channel someone else’s vision, maybe a plan for tax reform or Social Security reform. This isn’t that. This is a cultural campaign to revive a missing national identity,” said Ramaswamy. “And speaking as a first generation American (Ramaswamy’s parents emigrated from India), speaking as a millennial myself, I think I’m in the best position to create that national identity and deliver it to the next generation of Americans in a way that hopefully unifies us across these artificial boundaries of race or of gender or sexual orientation or even partisan politics. I think we can rise above that by rediscovering what unites us across our diverse attributes, rather than just always celebrating diversity as our strength.”

Topping Ramaswamy’s agenda is becoming economically independent from China. Domestically, he wants to end affirmative action, eliminate the US Department of Education, and dismantle federal bureaucracy.

Ramaswamy spokesperson Tricia McLaughlin told Gray DC, “I think there’s a complete misconception that (eliminating affirmative action) is a topic that divides people. I think that the vast majority of Americans agree that you should get ahead in this country based on your merit and not on your skin color or other genetically predetermined characteristics. So actually, I think that’s completely a message of unity. Let’s put our, you know, identity aside. There’s such greater things and ideals that bind us together than what simply what we look like.”

Ramaswamy said he will also “replace civil service protections with eight year sunset clauses, instead to say that if I, as U.S. President, cannot serve the people of this country and get paid by the federal government for more than eight years, which I think is a good thing, then neither should most bureaucrats in the federal government either.”

Ramaswamy also said he does not agree with Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) plan to sunset Social Security and Medicare but said “it comes from a good place.”

“So I think that we have if I was going to start from scratch, we would not have the system that we do today. That much, I want to be very clear with. However, there’s a reasonable expectation that people in this country ought to have that if the government has made you certain commitments that you have lived your life and paid in as you have over the last number of years in your life, that you can’t just pull that rug out from under them,” said Ramaswamy.

He also added, “I don’t think it’s the job of every U.S. president to try to do everything. I want to make my legacy limited to the areas where I’m making those commitments to the American people. Social Security reform, Medicare reform, that’s got to be somebody else’s job down the line.”

Ramaswamy said Republicans need to adapt to the modern times and “can’t just recite slogans they memorized 40 years ago and expect that to meet the needs of the present.”

As far as our overseas adversaries, Russia and China, Ramaswamy said “there’s no doubt about” China being our top threat. He said to be free of China “is the Declaration of Independence of the 21st century. It’s the one that matters. And I think one of the ways we do it is abandoning this climate religion that shackles the United States while leaving China untouched.”

When it comes to Russia, Ramaswamy feels the biggest threat is the country falling into the hands of China.

“Unfortunately, even over the last week, we’re beginning to see steps going in that direction where we take a strong response with respect to Russia without actually even doing the slightest thing in substance about China flying a spy balloon over the US,” he said. “The reason why is if that had been a Russian spy balloon, you mark my words, we would have shot it down instantly and ratcheted up sanctions with Russia.”

But when it comes to the war in Ukraine, Ramaswamy said, “So I do not believe that we should be spending much more money in Ukraine, period.”

Ramaswamy said foreign policy is all about “prioritization” and the United States is “missing the real priority” (about China).

He said he also wants to focus on issues here at home when it comes to using the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I believe a proper use of the US military and US military force would be to secure our border and to decimate and I really mean that in the truest sense of that word, decimate the Mexican drug cartels that are largely responsible for 100,000 fentanyl deaths annualized, 80 percent of which are the result of crossings from the southern border,” Ramaswamy said. “If the US military is supposed to do one thing above all else, it is supposed to protect Americans on American soil. That’s what we need to prioritize. And I said this publicly the other day, I’ll call (Mexican President Andrés Manuel López) Obrador on day one.”

Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison is writing off Ramaswamy as a radical Republican. In a statement, Harrison says, “The race for the MAGA base is getting messier and more crowded by the day.”

Republican strategist Amy Tarkanian thinks Ramaswamy has the background and agenda that can appeal to a lot of people but is not sure he has the star power to shine brighter than former President Donald Trump or Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

“Is he going to just bring some excitement or is he going to be able to surpass these other two who I would say still, and I think most would agree, are in the lead,” questioned Tarkanian.

Ramaswamy joins a Republican field that already features Trump, former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and former Cranston, Rhode Island Mayor Steve Laffey. Others are expected to announce in the coming months including DeSantis.

A majority of polls suggest most Republicans are backing either Trump or DeSantis for the Republican nomination, however, there has yet to be a poll that includes Ramaswamy.

“I would not be running if I did not believe I would win and be a successful president as the next leader of the United States in the free world as we know it,” said Ramaswamy. “It’s not about me. It’s not about Donald Trump. It’s not about Ron DeSantis. It’s about defining an agenda. What do we stand for and why do we stand for it? The what and the why. Put the question of the who to later. I think people are actually hungry for that. And my bet is that’s actually going to be what part of what leads us to success in November of 2024.”