Flags blowing in the wind (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)


Opinion: Why Vivek Ramaswamy is turning heads

Vivek Ramaswamy may not win it all, but his rise poses a unique case study for young and minority candidates, all the while setting himself up for stardom
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/neilshah759/" target="_self">Neil Shah</a>

Neil Shah

August 18, 2023

The Iowa State Fair, where political hopefuls descend upon the first primary state to cultivate support, produced headlines this past weekend. Among the typical storylines of Donald Trump’s political prowess, Ron Desantis’ everlasting turbulence, and reminders that Nikki Haley is actually running for president, one peculiar candidate turned heads.

Reading, Vivek Raps Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” might have surprised the mainstream media; however, for anyone taking a close look at Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign, its simply another example of antics that contributed to his recent rise in popularity.

With a recent poll by Kaplan Strategies polling Ramaswamy in second place (11%) among likely GOP voters, the 37-year-old former biotech executive and entrepreneur with no political experience is changing the political landscape.

First and foremost, the rise can be attributed to Ramaswamy’s pride in his background. Indian politicians in America have had minimal success. Those who have been successful traditionally do so by hiding their Indian background. Take Bobby Jindal for example. The former governor of Louisiana discarded his name “Piyush,” to try and appeal to the American populous.

Ramaswamy hasn’t shied away from openly discussing his Hindu faith and has made no moves toward changing or shortening his name. His transparency screams authenticity, and combined with his apparent love for the USA and eloquent speaking, the sky is the limit for the youngster.

Yet, Ramaswamy’s ideas are right wing at the very least, calling climate change believers a “cult,” advocating for the end of birthright citizenship enshrined in the 14th amendment, and making his “war on woke a central idea of his stump speech. For many young moderates and liberals, his ideas are considered non-starters, but his apparent willingness to go to any podcast or news organization to explain the ideas make them and him more appealing.

Take for example his controversial idea of raising the voting age to 25 unless the person serves in the military or passes a civics exam. At face value, it seems like a blatant attempt to disenfranchise a massive voter bloc that cares about issues he disregards like climate change and racial justice – a voter bloc that primarily votes Democrat.

However, in an interview with Krystal Ball and Sagaar Enjeti on their show Breaking Points, Ramaswamy explains the true purpose of the proposal: if immigrants trying to become citizens must pass this test in order to vote and participate in our democracy, why can’t we expect high schoolers born and bread in American schools to do the same?

Ramaswamy is playing the game of hard-work, dedication, commitment, and a willingness to go anywhere to get to his end goal. One thing is for sure: Vivek Ramaswamy has gained a lot of fans recently, and he is on the fast track for success.

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