By: Chandrashekar Bhat
INDIAN-AMERICAN tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy has launched his 2024 presidential bid, becoming the second community member to enter the Republican Party’s presidential primary after Nikki Haley.
Ramaswamy, 37, whose parents migrated to the US from Kerala and worked at a General Electric plant in Ohio, announced his presidential bid on Tuesday (21) during a live interview on Fox News‘s prime time show of Tucker Carlson, a conservative political commentator.
Earlier this month, Haley, a two-term former governor of South Carolina and former US Ambassador to the United Nations, announced her presidential campaign. She said she will contest against her former boss and ex-president Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s nomination.
“We are in the middle of this national identity crisis where we have celebrated our differences for so long that we forgot all the ways we are really just the same as Americans bound by a common set of ideals that set this nation into motion 250 years ago,” Ramaswamy said.
He calls wokeism a national threat. Wokeism is the promotion of liberal progressive ideology and policy as an expression of sensitivity to systemic injustices and prejudices.
“I think we need to put merit back into America in every spirit of our lives,” he said.
A second-generation Indian-American, Ramaswamy founded Roivant Sciences in 2014 and led the largest biotech initial public offerings (IPOs) of 2015 and 2016, eventually culminating in successful clinical trials in multiple disease areas that led to FDA-approved products, according to his bio.
He has founded other successful healthcare and technology companies. In 2022, he launched Strive Asset Management, a new firm focused on restoring the voices of citizens in the American economy by leading companies to focus on excellence over politics.
“I’m all for putting America first but in order to put America first, we have to first rediscover what America is. And to me, those are these basic rules of the road that set this nation into motion from meritocracy to free speech, to self-governance over aristocracy.
He said the US faces external threats like the rise of China.
It “has got to be our top foreign policy threat that we’ve gotta respond to, not pointless wars somewhere else.”
“That’s gonna require some sacrifice. It’s gonna require a declaration of independence from China and complete decoupling. And that’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna require some inconvenience,” he said.
Foreign policy is all about prioritisation, Ramaswamy said.
“We gotta wake up to the fact that China is violating our sovereignty and the reason, if that had been a Russian spy balloon, we’d have shot it down instantly and ratcheted up sanctions. Why didn’t we do that for China?” he asked.
“The answer’s simple. We depend on them for our modern way of life. This economic co-dependent relationship has to end,” he said.
In a statement, Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison said as Ramaswamy used Tucker Carlson’s show to announce his campaign for president, one thing is clear: “The race for the Make America Great Again (MAGA) base is getting messier and more crowded by the day.”
“Over the next few months, Republicans are guaranteed to take exceedingly extreme positions on everything from banning abortion to cutting Social Security and Medicare and we look forward to continuing to ensure every American knows just how extreme the MAGA agenda is,” Harrison said.
Before entering the presidential ballot, Ramaswamy and Haley have to win the Republican Party’s presidential primary which will start in January next year. The next US presidential election is scheduled to be held on November 5, 2024.
Ramaswamy is the fourth Indian-American to run for the White House.
Bobby Jindal ran in 2016 and Vice President Kamala Harris in 2020.