‘Woke, Inc.’ Author Vivek Ramaswamy Throws Hat in 2024 Ring
In an exclusive interview with Tucker Carlson this week, conservative entrepreneur, author, and activist Vivek Ramaswamy announced his bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. Ramaswamy is the third Republican contender to declare candidacy, joining the ranks of former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
“This new candidate for president is smart, savvy, and I think he’s tough. He’s in for the most serious vetting process that he has ever endured. I think that he comes into this process as a fierce competitor, but he’s up against some seriously experienced candidates,” Ken Blackwell told The Washington Stand. Blackwell is a senior fellow with Family Research Council who previously served as Treasurer and Secretary of State in Ramaswamy’s home state of Ohio.
“He will be vetted by three spheres of influence in the conservative movement: social and cultural conservatives, economic conservatives, and national security conservatives,” Blackwell continued. “I think that he probably is most comfortable with the national security and economic folks. He will get a serious once-over and twice-over from cultural conservatives and — I know this going into it — he is a strong believer in the life ethic and, you know, there are other benchmarks that he will be measured against.”
In the first 24 hours of his candidacy, 37-year-old Ramaswamy has bypassed generic conservative sentiments in favor of outlining specific policy agenda items, including eliminating affirmative action, dismantling “climate religion,” creating eight-year term limits for federal bureaucrats, and distancing the United States from China. Ramaswamy has also advocated against government spending on the war in Ukraine, citing the fentanyl crisis at the border as his favored spot for allocating such funding.
Based on his background as the multi-millionaire founder of a biotech startup, Ramaswamy has previously emphasized the need to reform American capitalism. In 2021, he published the New York Times bestselling book “Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam,” which details his experiences facing down the infiltration of the radical liberal agenda within American stakeholder capitalism. Ramaswamy describes himself as a “traitor to his class,” highlighting that his resume includes that he “founded multibillion-dollar enterprises, led a biotech company as CEO, he became a hedge fund partner in his 20s, trained as a scientist at Harvard and a lawyer at Yale, and grew up the child of immigrants in a small town in Ohio.”
Ramaswamy is not the only GOP candidate whose background includes being the child of Indian immigrants. Nikki Haley has faced harassment and controversy from the Left for her own Indian background, including being called “token” and drawing speculations that she has concealed her heritage beneath an Americanized name. It remains to be seen whether Ramaswamy will experience similar treatment.
Ramaswamy is an outspoken critic of identity politics, having stepped down from his role as CEO of the biotech company he founded after facing internal pressure to condemn systemic racism and express support for Black Lives Matter. He wrote, “As CEO, I needed to effectively run a business focused on developing medicines, without getting intertwined in political matters. Yet as a citizen, I felt compelled to speak out about the perils of woke capitalism. I tried my best to avoid using my company as a platform to foist my views on others. But eventually I had to admit that I couldn’t do justice to either while trying to do both at once.”
Thus far, Ramaswamy appears to have piqued the curiosity of leaders within the GOP. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) retweeted Ramaswamy’s campaign video, adding, “I’ve always like Vivek because he’s smart, innovative, and fearless.” Former Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis was quick to praise Ramaswamy, with statements like, “THIS is what every conservative should be saying” and “Looks like some good America First policy here…”
On the other side of the aisle, Ramaswamy’s announcement seems to have ruffled Democratic feathers. Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison characterized Ramaswamy as “MAGA,” issuing a statement saying, “As Vivek Ramaswamy uses Tucker Carlson’s show to announce his campaign for president, one thing is clear: The race for the 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.”
“I think he is one of the bright lights of the GOP future. He is not intimidated by the woke establishment and that’s going to be very, very important,” Ken Blackwell concluded.
Ramaswamy himself summarized his 2024 ambitions simply: “I’m all-in for America First 2.0: to put America first, we need to revive what America is. If we do that, we win 2024 by a landslide.”
Joy Stockbauer is a correspondent for The Washington Stand.