Ramaswamy fights Trump as a “outsider” 2023

In his long-shot Republican presidential campaign, biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is positioning himself as the ultimate outsider.

Ramaswamy, a nationwide “anti-woke” activist, has polled in the single digits while former President Trump leads the 2024 Republican race.

The 37-year-old thinks his unique background will help him stand out in 2024, as Trump did in 2016.

You become an outsider once. “I’m the outsider,” Ramaswamy told The Hill. “I think I’m closer to Trump in 2015 than Trump today is.”

After writing “Woke, Inc.” and founding biotech business Roivant Sciences, Ramaswamy began his presidential campaign in February.

Though he is the son of Indian immigrants, his campaign has focused on cultural themes, attacking environmental, social, and corporate governance regulations, affirmative action, and gender-affirming care for children.

Despite his poor name recognition, Ramaswamy believes his “speaking truth” campaign would appeal with voters.

The ‘outsider’ designation is one that Ramaswamy is happy to claim as he challenges Trump.

“I think being unconstrained and speaking truth and really being willing to pay the prices of speaking truth is part of the grassroots appeal,” he added.

David Urban, a senior Trump aide, confirmed that Ramaswamy is the only significant Republican contender who is a political outsider. He stated Ramaswamy is not Trump in 2016.

“Trump is unique,” Urban remarked. “It’s hard to say he’ll just rip that out and run that playbook.”

Urban also suggested Ramaswamy would struggle to replicate Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“Repeating doesn’t make you the new guy. “You’re just copying the old guy,” he said.

While polling in the single digits, Ramaswamy has shocked some political watchers with his aggressive media and campaign plan.

Some surveys show him lagging, while others suggest such approaches are succeeding. Ramaswamy and former Vice President Mike Pence matched for third place at 5% of potential Republican primary voters in a CBS News/YouGov poll conducted earlier this month. Trump won with 58 percent, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 22 percent.

This week, Morning Consult found Ramaswamy tied for fourth with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley at 4 percent. Trump got 58%, DeSantis 20%, and Pence 6%.

Ramaswamy received 47 New Hampshire endorsements last week, including eight politicians, former Senate candidate Kevin Smith, and Salem GOP chair Steve Goddu, indicating grassroots support.

“I hate to admit this, but we’re far ahead of where we expected to be,” Ramaswamy said. “We were executing a strategy to put us in third place—a clear third place by December, ahead of the Iowa caucuses. Then to perform well in Iowa and really take a stab at top two, if not one, in New Hampshire.”

His primary polling results are too low to imply he’s competing. As additional GOP candidates like DeSantis and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) formally announce their White House campaigns, those polling numbers may change.

The presidential primary debates haven’t happened yet, and it’s unclear if additional Republicans like New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would join.

Ramaswamy is attracting attention from early primary state Republicans.

“He was the only candidate who appeared in-person at the state [GOP] convention last weekend, which I thought said a lot about just how committed he was to meeting face-to-face with voters and talking to them about the issues that both he and they care about,” said Rob Godfrey, a South Carolina GOP strategist who worked for Haley.

“When you’re the only person they see in person at a convention, at an event that’s important to them like that, it builds goodwill.”

Former New Hampshire attorney general and GOP strategist Thomas Rath said the major uncertainty in his state is whether Sununu would run. Non-Trump Republicans and independents in the state would support Sununu. Rath called Ramaswamy’s Smith endorsement “good get.”

As the first millennial to compete for the GOP presidential nomination, Ramaswamy, 37, stands out.

Former Iowa state GOP Rep. Joe Mitchell, creator of Republican-focused Run GenZ, said he’s impressed with Ramaswamy’s swift rise in the GOP primary. Mitchell, 26, hasn’t decided who he’ll vote for, but he said Ramaswamy’s age shouldn’t matter.

“Vivek has done more than a lot of people honestly in this race in growing pharmaceutical biotech companies in the private sector. Mitchell stated, “I would put his information, knowledge, and real-world antics in front of most people in this race.”

Ramaswamy’s plan to increase the voting age to 25 unless those aged 18-24 serve in the military or pass a civics exam isn’t going down well with younger Republicans.

Mitchell added, “I don’t think that was the greatest proposal to put out there, especially if he was trying to get younger voters to his camp.

Ramaswamy thinks that’s OK and won’t change his idea despite the criticism.

He said, “No.”

“We have a clean slate with the next generation to make this a norm in American public life of having a citizenry that’s educated about this country. “If you’re voting for president, you know what branch of government the president leads, you know a thing or two about the Constitution,” Ramaswamy said. That’s reasonable. If not, serve the country.”

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