Indian American businessman Vivek Ramaswamy has formally announced his 2024 United States presidential bid, and joined fellow India-origin Republican Nikki Haley, who formally launched her campaign on 15 February.
A tech entrepreneur, Ramaswamy announced his 2024 campaign on 21 February with a pledge to "bring merit back" and to stop the US' dependence on China.
During a live interview with Conservative political pundit Tucker Carlson on Fox News' prime time programme, Ramaswamy announced that he would be competing for the Republican presidential nomination.
Later in a series of Tweets, he said:
"We’ve celebrated our 'diversity' so much that we forgot all the ways we’re really the same as Americans, bound by ideals that united a divided, headstrong group of people 250 years ago.
"I believe deep in my bones those ideals still exist. I’m running for President to revive them," he added.
Who Is Vivek Ramaswamy?
Ramaswamy was born to Indian immigrants in Ohio’s Cincinnati in August 1985. His father, G Ramaswamy, worked at the General Electric plant in Ohio’s Evendale, while his mother, Geetha, was a geriatric psychiatrist in Cincinnati. The pair had moved to the US from Kerala’s city of Palakkad.
He grew up in Ohio and went to Harvard University, where he earned a degree in molecular biology and graduated in 2007.
Subsequently, he attended Yale Law School to pursue a Doctor of Jurisprudence, where he was the president of the Harvard Political Union and used to perform “Eminem covers and original free-market-themed rap songs as a kind of alter ego called Da Vek,” a December 2022 New Yorker profile said.
After graduating from Harvard, Ramaswamy worked as an analyst at QVT Financial LP, a hedge fund based in New York. He then joined MPM Capital, a life sciences venture capital firm, where he focused on investing in biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.
In 2015, Ramaswamy founded Roivant Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company that aims to accelerate the development and delivery of new treatments for diseases. Roivant Sciences has raised over $3 billion in funding and has multiple subsidiaries focused on developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cancer.
Six years later, he stepped down Roivant's CEO to publish his book 'Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam,' which debuted at the second spot on The New York Times bestseller list.
In 2022, he launched Strive Asset Management, a newly formed organisation dedicated to revitalising the voices of ordinary Americans in the American economy by motivating businesses to prioritise quality over politics.
A Conservative Opposed to 'Woke' Culture
Ramaswamy is known for his conservative political views. He has been critical of what he perceives as the excessive focus on identity politics and cancel culture in the United States.
In his book, he argues that companies have embraced progressive values primarily as a way to appeal to consumers and maintain their bottom line, rather than as a genuine commitment to social justice.
Ramaswamy has argued that the progressive movement, which emphasises issues such as social justice, racial and gender equality, and climate change, has become too focused on symbolic gestures and performative activism, rather than substantive policy changes.
He believes that the emphasis on these issues has distracted attention from more pressing concerns, such as economic growth and job creation.
Ramaswamy has also been vocal in his opposition to some of the policies of the Democratic Party, particularly around economic issues. In a 2021 interview with Fox News, he criticised the party's proposals for higher taxes and increased regulation, arguing that they would stifle innovation and economic growth.
Despite his conservative leanings, Ramaswamy has also been critical of some of the policies of the Republican Party, particularly around immigration. In a 2018 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that the party's stance on immigration was not aligned with conservative principles and could harm the economy.
While Ramaswamy's political leaning is complex and cannot be easily categorised as fitting neatly into one particular ideology or party, on several occasions, he has expressed a willingness to engage in nuanced discussions about policy and has criticised both the left and the right when he believes their positions are misguided.