Vivek Ramaswamy has achieved a lot in his 38 years.
He founded a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company.
He wrote a bestseller – Woke, Inc, in which he chastised capitalism for prostrating to “social justice.”
And now he’s running as the Republican candidate in the next presidential election.
He got off to a good start in the first televised duel of candidates last week.
Even the BBC – not a fan of brash, populist, “climate-denying” right-wing politicians – had to admit he was the “outstanding artist”.
But Ramaswamy’s next fight looks set to be his biggest yet.
It’s the one that will really put him to the test.
The one who will decide if he really has what it takes to take the American people with him.
It’s the struggle to stay normal.
The struggle to resist the more cranky stance of the Very Online right and instead engage with ordinary Americans who have never and never tweeted.
It’s the struggle to rise above the noise of the virtual world and rather pay attention to the concerns of the real world.
If Vivek remembers that X — the garbage fire formerly known as Twitter — isn’t America, he might do well.
candidate at a crossroads
While I’m impressed by some of Ramaswamy’s positions, I’m concerned that at any moment he could disappear into the bedrock of the irritating right-wing discourse.
He seems to be in limbo, with one foot in the sane world of working class hopes and concerns and the other in this weird virtual universe of shaggy beards who hate the World Economic Forum and think Barack Obama is gay but he isn’t Can’t say the word “joke” for 90 seconds.
Which foot he moves will shape his political future.
There’s a lot of sense coming out of the Vivek camp these days.
In the “TRUTH” tweet he posted last week, based on a comment he made on the televised debate, there were many reasons to agree.
Parts of it made me cheer loudly.
“There are two sexes.”
“Human thriving requires fossil fuels.”
“Reverse racism is racism.”
It is refreshing to hear an up-and-coming politician speak truths that have been bizarrely branded as “hate speech” by the new elite.
Even the parts of his mini-manifesto that I personally would have worded differently: “An open border is no border”, “The nuclear family is the greatest form of government known to man”, “Capitalism lifts people out of poverty.” – have much to recommend as they challenge the anti-sovereignty, anti-family and anti-modernist orthodoxies of the current establishment.
As for the statement at the beginning of his tweeted worldview – “God is real” – I just disagree.
But I’m not offended.
God is real to a great many people.
Bring warmth to the climate
In the televised debate, Ramaswamy explained his vision.
He questioned the “climate change agenda”.
He was booed by the studio audience and mistreated by the “liberal” press, but his point of view mattered.
The “anti-carbon agenda” is a “wet blanket on our economy,” he said.
Then came his killer saying: “More people die from poor climate protection policies than from the actual consequences of climate change.”
We need to listen to this.
There is no question in my mind that a rapid phase-out of fossil fuels, which provide 80% of the world’s energy, would have far more devastating consequences for the billions still living in abject poverty than a few heat waves ever could.
A politician who openly says: “Drilling, fracking, burning coal, using nuclear power”?
Count me in.
He has also jabbed at trans ideology, the racial hysteria of the new elites and the witch hunt against Donald Trump.
He says he would pardon Trump, an idiot about Trump’s baiting by the security services and hyper-politicized justice system.
Is it possible, a Daily Mail writer asked, that this young man who says things you shouldn’t say could be “electrifying?” [a] “Age Choice”?
Surely you don’t need a PhD in political science to figure out why someone like Ramaswamy is doing so well in the polls after three years of Sleepy Joe and decades of technocratic condescension to the Bible-reading and gun-owning “deplorables”.
And yet there are parts of Ramaswamy’s talk that worry me.
Certain words, certain outbursts of unhelpful cynicism.
Even his use of the word “joke” in connection with the issue of climate change suggests that he sees the eco-panic as a lie deliberately constructed by an elite determined to control the crowd, when in truth the Hysteria about climate change means a lot more when it comes to: a real belief in progress on the part of those in power.
His weird talk about 9/11 — he wants “the truth about 9/11,” he says, which sounds like an alarm signal to me — suggests he spent far too much time in online threads in his 20s .
Then there’s his insistence that Ukraine must make “major concessions” to end the Russia-Ukraine war – a position that seems to stem from the bleak pit of Zelenskyy online bashing rather than political ones principles, or even a sober analysis of what might be in America’s foreign policy interests.
Which certainly does not include an emboldened Russia.
Yes, many people in financially strapped America are wondering why the Biden administration is sending resources to Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean they want Ukraine to back down from the barbaric invaders who have invaded their territory and are massacring its people have.
How ironic that Ramaswamy says, “An open border is no border,” yet he seems relaxed about Putin’s violent opening of Ukraine’s border to Moscow’s gunmen and bombers.
These positions suggest that Ramaswamy is at least partially exposed to the temptations of right-wing cynicism.
It’s not just the awakened remnants living in an echo chamber.
This also applies to the right-wingers who are demonstratively opposed to waking up.
We’ve all seen mainstream Democratic politicians fall under the spell of awakened extremism, so much so that Kamala Harris writes a letter to a man congratulating him on his 365 days as a “girl.”
And it seems that some Republicans live in the same area as the Very Online Bullshits.
Leaving this neighborhood will be a prerequisite if Ramaswamy is to engage with those people ironically denigrated as “normal” — that is, normal, good, working people — by both the savvy left and the savvy right.
I bet Vivek used the word “normie”.
That worries me.
Ramaswamy has been described as a “populist”, some take this as a compliment, others as an insult.
But real populism means saying goodbye to the internet.
Get rid of virtual dogma.
Get rid of all echo chambers and go out into the world to hear what people think, what they want, what they need.
It’s not just elitist nonsense about 72 genders and white privilege that alienates the masses, but also smug, lofty babble about hoaxes and conspiracies.
Vivek, sign out.
Go and talk to the people.
Your good instincts are honed by old-fashioned political involvement.
Reprinted with permission from Spiked.