Why Vivek Ramaswamy might just be the Republican Obama for US

Amrutha Pagad
Amrutha PagadFeb 23, 2023 | 12:41

Why Vivek Ramaswamy might just be the Republican Obama for US

Vivek Ramaswamy wants to save being "American". Photo: Twitter/VivekGRamaswamy

Conservative entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy, an Indian-American, is the latest in the fray for the 2024 US Presidential bid. Unlike Nikki Haley, another Republican Indian-American, who officially announced her bid for Presidency, Ramaswamy comes from zero political experience. 

It seems like Vivek Ramaswamy was inspired by Donald Trump's journey to the White House, given how the former President too came from zero political experience. 


So, who is Vivek Ramaswamy and why has he suddenly grabbed attention? 

Of course, he has grabbed the attention of Indians in India and the Indian diaspora around the world as another Indian-origin person on the map of the "developed world's" entrepreneurial and political elites.

Background: Ramaswamy was born in the US to immigrant parents from Kerala. Ramaswamy's mother worked as a geriatric psychiatrist and his father worked as an engineer and a patent lawyer at General Electric. 

He has authored three books including the New York Times Bestseller "Woke, Inc," which led to New Yorker magazine calling him the "CEO of Anti-Woke Inc".

On caste in India: In "Woke Inc" he writes that "American-style capitalism" is correcting the wrongs caused by the caste system in India, citing the example of how a "lower-caste guy" can deliver Domino's pizza and his Brahmin family even tips him to show appreciation. 

In America: 

  • A lot of people outside of the conservative American fold did not know who Vivek Ramaswamy was until he announced his Presidential bid on February 21
  • 37-year-old Ramaswamy is the youngest yet in the lot for the race to the highest office in the US. 
  • Ramaswamy has been a recurring guest on conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's prime-time show on Fox News
  • And it came as no surprise that he would announce his Presidential bid on Carlson's show. 

Vivek's Ramaswamy's conservative keyword-laden pitch

  • Ramaswamy's pitch for the Presidential bid is a no-brainer, replete with all the usual hallmarks of any right-wing personality; in this case, tailored to the right-wing American audience. 
We're in the middle of a national identity crisis. Faith, patriotism & hard work have disappeared. Wokeism, climatism & gender ideology have replaced them. We hunger for purpose yet cannot answer what it means to be an American.
- Vivek Ramaswamy
  • Vivek Ramaswamy believes that the identity of being "American" is under threat by liberal stances on climate change, gender, and race. And he's running for President to save what being "American" meant 250 years ago. 
  • The story is simple: "Americans" have been the "victims" of liberal policies and he's here to save them, cue "Nation of Victims by Vivek Ramaswamy". 

What are Ramaswamy's plans for America? 

  • One of the things he's promised to do on Day 1 in the office is to "unapologetically" end affirmative action which gives preferential treatment to minorities and women, who have been historically and currently at a disadvantage due to discrimination against their gender or race (it's like reservation based on caste in India). 
  • Ramaswamy believes that affirmative action has killed America's idea of 'meritocracy'. He believes that as long as there's hard work and talent; race, and gender do not become a hurdle. 
  • Ramaswamy, himself belonging to the minority group in America, said that his parents told him to be outstanding because he was always going to stand out due to the colour of his skin.
  • And so, Ramaswamy became what is called a 'model minority' in America: an overachieving, A-grade student, who went to all the right Ivy Leagues like Harvard and Yale Law School.
The idea that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or what your skin color is, that you can achieve anything you ever want in this country, with your own hard work, your own commitment, and your own dedication-that is the American Dream.
- Vivek Ramaswamy

(Wonder if he would have felt the same pressure of having to overachieve if he was born a cis white man in a white American family.) 

  • He also believes that support to Ukraine should be slashed and instead the same money and military prowess should be used in Mexico and the US southern border to annihilate the drug cartels that are pumping the country with deadly addictions and fentanyl. It's 'very easy' to get rid of the drug cartels and solve America's drug problem, he says.
  • Vivek Ramaswamy is also VERY against corporate social responsibility or environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in companies. He believes that companies should only focus on making money and profits and leave the politics and governance to those elected to the government.
  • Donald Berwick, a former advisor at Ramaswamy's biotech company Roivant pointed out to the New Yorker magazine, that the entrepreneur's ESG idea ran contrary to his own initial pitch for his company Roivant.
  • Ramaswamy brought in people like Berwick to Roivant pitching the idea to make critical medicine more accessible.


He has the right connections and knows the right people, and plays to the gallery as far as his speeches are concerned... 

  • In 2014, Forbes reported Vivek Ramaswamy's net worth to be at least $600 million. So, he definitely has the money to support himself for the campaigns. 
  • He's also lost and made rich friends running biotech and tech companies. 
  • One of his supporters includes Bill Ackman, founder of a hedge fund company, who was one of the seed investors in Ramaswamy's investment company Strive Asset Management.
  • And to nobody's surprise, Ackman, who is also a conservative activist investor, backed Vivek Ramaswamy after he announced his Presidential bid, even equating him with the like of Obama, Clinton, etc.
  • He is the epitome of achieving the American Dream. He is brown, he has a picture-perfect family, he is a hotshot CEO, he ticks all the right (brown) boxes, has money, and all before 37.

Most of Vivek Ramaswamy's supporters look like this:

Cis white American men (and women). 

Is Vivek Ramaswamy the next Obama?

  • Barack Obama remains the only Black person in America's history to have been elected President. During his election, he did cut into some Republican votes, mostly those who were unhappy with George Bush's war on terror on faraway foreign soil. 
  • The likes of Bill Ackman believe that Ramaswamy may be able to cut into some democrat votes to emerge victorious, with his identity as a complete American man with a wife and children, Ivy League education, entrepreneurial background and oratorical skills.

  • However, so far, Ramaswamy has only been occupying conservative spaces, from attending right-wing conferences, and Tucker Carlson's show, to speaking to a conservative American audience. 
I wish he could be on other channels as well.
- Geetha Ramaswamy, Vivek's mother told New Yorker magazine in Dec 2022 
  • With regards to oratorical skills, so far the appeal seems mostly among conservative Americans. And his use of language such as a "daddy" (example below) is unlikely to impress the Democrat vote base. 

  • Moreover, his promises have been all checking the more extreme side of right-wing ideology, from sending the military to Mexico, removing the Department of Education altogether, and adopting a racially blind ideology to America's race and discrimination problems. 
  • There's no mention of women's rights and abortion rights. And while he's not openly drumming up homophobic rhetoric, his dismissal of gender issues and attending a right-wing conference against transwomen taking part in women's sports doesn't really send a reassuring message.
Last updated: February 23, 2023 | 13:03
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