Cincinnati native Vivek Ramaswamy, a Republican candidate for the 2024 United States Presidential election, has been rising in popularity over the past few months. With Cleveland State University in the overwhelmingly blue Cuyahoga County, we asked the CSU community their thoughts on Ramaswamy and his beliefs.
A staunch right-wing conservative, Ramaswamy launched his campaign with the tagline “faith, patriotism, and hard work,” guided by his belief that the nation is entrenched in a “national identity crisis” as a result of left-wing ideologies encompassing environmental, gender issues and more.
However, despite the fact that Ramaswamy is an Ohio native who has grown increasingly popular since the first Republican presidential debate, an overwhelming number of CSU students aren’t familiar with him.
“I don’t really follow the news, the only way I would know about anything political would be through TikTok or Instagram,” shared Isis Duncan, an english major at CSU. “I think that everything is based on an algorithm, and I’m a Democrat, so I don’t think that a Republican candidate like Ramaswamy’s content would show up anyway.”
This leaves the question, who is Ramaswamy, home to Ohio, but chasing the Oval Office, and what are his views?
Who is Ramaswamy?
The youngest candidate in the presidential stand-off, Ramaswamy is a 38-year-old entrepreneur and founder of Roivant Sciences, a pharmaceutical company. He is the child of immigrant parents from southern India, with a high education and libertarian origins. Now, he is one of the most extreme conservatives in the Republican line-up.
He plans to “revive our national identity” through a reinvigorated patriotism as a response to “wokeism.” He has made strong statements throughout his campaign including his views on the U.S. Department of Education, the voting age, climate change, immigration and more.
He is also an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump with plans continue the decisions Trump made in office, though with his own approach.
U.S. Department of Education
Ramaswamy seeks to completely abolish the D.O.E., deeming it a redundant and wasteful institution. He believes the federal government should not have such involvement in American lives and that the money currently within the department should be placed in the hands of parents across the country.
He also seeks to prevent teachers from unionizing because they are a “destructive force” to public schools and, in particular, the children they teach.
Many voters across the country are concerned about how disruptive this shutdown would be, given how massive of a task absorption of the department’s duties would be, as well as the reallocation of its funds.
Some CSU students, in particular, were taken aback, with concern for the future of student loan borrowers.
“He has a libertarian outlook and it would end up hurting more people in the end,” shared a political science major. “In regards to the CSU community, removing the Department of Education would create a bureaucratic nightmare for student loan borrowers.”
As part of the D.O.E., the office of Federal Student Aid is the largest provider of student financial aid in the country. In light of the Biden-Harris administration’s newest student loan relief plan, abolishing the D.O.E. is a loaded proposal.
Ramaswamy has also announced a proposal to raise the voting age in the country from 18 to 25, with an exception for individuals actively serving in the military or as first responders.
In his proposal, he offers citizens under 25 an opportunity to not have to wait by taking a civics test, the same test that is administered to immigrants looking to become U.S. citizens.
Making this change would require an amendment to the Constitution, which is a long process that seeks overwhelming support from Congress and state legislatures. Ramaswamy himself understands the nature of his proposal.
“I understand not everyone will like this proposal and that it will take persuasion to convince many of its merits, but I’m ready to take that on,” said Ramaswamy during a campaign event in Iowa in May.
On a college campus filled with young adults under the age of 25, this proposal did not pass over people’s heads. Another political science major expressed their disapproval:
“I value my right to vote as a 20-year-old; he supports raising the voting age to 25. He’s rather populist, which the world agrees isn’t the best.”
Arguably one of his most extreme stances, Ramaswamy believes that climate change is a “hoax,” a “wet blanket on our economy” and that instead of fighting environmental change, Americans should focus on adapting.
“The reality is more people are dying of climate change policies than they actually are of climate change,” said Ramaswamy during the first Republican debate, sparking a wave of booing in the audience.
Given the statistic that the 2023 summer just broke the world record for hottest Northern Hemisphere summers, which scientists reportedly blame on human-caused climate change, his take on the climate crisis has brought rise to concern.
Cleveland, as part of the Great Lakes, has faced the more mild consequences of the rising heat stemming from climate change. However, the city just faced its warmest winter, and annual precipitation has fallen, which are both patterns of climate change.
Communications major Emily was distraught over Ramaswamy’s views:
“Who in their right mind thinks that climate change is a hoax? When I heard him say that in a video, it made me so upset. I have family in Arizona and there’s no way that climate change just ‘isn’t real’ based on their day-to-day life. It’s affecting so many people in such a bad way.”
The youngest generation of voters continues to fight GOP candidates across the country, on the local and national level, over their lack of initiative on the climate crisis, with Ramaswamy being no exception.
As mentioned earlier, Ramaswamy is a big supporter of former President Trump, meaning his view on immigration is no different from the former president’s. In fact, his stance is arguably more aggressive.
As the child of immigrants and a first-generation American, Ramaswamy calls to secure the border by any means necessary, including military force. If elected, he will also deport all American-born children of undocumented immigrants, end birthright citizenship and require a civics test for visas.
His view on immigration has thrown many people off.
“…Isn’t he a first-generation American? Bold of him to be against immigration,” shared Johnathan, a psychology major.
One engineering major also offered his opinion:
“I don’t support Ramaswamy uprooting an entire family with American children if their parents are deported.”
Given the freedoms outlined in the 14th Amendment for those born on American soil, regardless of their parents’ status, Ramaswamy’s plan is highly contentious and has upset a large sum of Americans.
Ramaswamy continues to attract the attention of voters with each primary through his extreme, though transparent goals on certain issues. While some question his agenda, others find it promising.
“I believe that Vivek is not as conservative as people make him out to be,” shared another CSU engineering student. “I think that his policies to make the economy stronger and bring jobs back to Americans are great.”
As the only candidate of south Indian descent, and one of the few candidates of Asian descent, many voters also question how his agenda will benefit the Asian community.
“What is he, as an Asian, going to do for fellow Asians?” questioned fourth-year psychology major Boramy So-By.
His growing popularity, however, does not change the fact that not one candidate threatens Trump’s grip on the lead in the polls, despite his legal woes and absence from debate stages.
If you are interested in learning more about Ramaswamy, you can take a look at his campaign website, which he updates regularly.
The third and final republican debate will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 8, where Ramaswamy and other Republican presidential hopefuls such as Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley will further speak on their goals for the American people.
As for Democrats, the candidate line-up is certainly smaller, with current U.S. President Joe Biden taking charge, with the only other candidate Marianne Williamson, author and humanitarian, following behind. There are currently no primary debates scheduled for the party.
Environmental lawyer and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who originally annouced a Democratic bid for the presidency, officially launched an independent bid Monday, Oct. 9, a move many Republicans believe is an attempt to take votes away from Trump.
National Voter Registration Day was Sept. 19, but it is not too late to register to vote for the 2024 presidential elections. You can register to vote online through your county’s board of elections.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2024.