Ramaswamy's in the Running

Ryan Heshmati

August 25, 2023

The first Republican debate came and went, and with it came a significant buzz around Vivek Ramaswamy. Ramaswamy, an incredibly successful businessman with degrees from both Havard (undergraduate) and Yale (law school), drew criticism from a variety of candidates on-stage with his provocative attacks like asserting, "I'm the only person on the stage who isn't bought and paid for…" Now that he's been on stage, many voters might be unfamiliar with the businessman and wonder who Ramaswamy is and where he stands among the candidates in the running for the Republican nomination.

Vivek Ramaswamy is a thirty-eight year old Indian-American born in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to an impressive educational background, he also boasts an impressive professional one. He founded multi-billion dollar Roivant Sciences in 2014, serving as CEO until 2021. As a result of success with Roivant and other professional endeavors, he has an estimated net worth of nearly a billion dollars, according to Forbes' estimates.

As a politician, however, he is untested. Further, he has promoted controversial positions, with his website describing a plan to go after "toxic" government agencies such as the IRS, Department of Education, and FBI. His climate policy, or really lack thereof, is an element to what he promises will aid the United States in attaining greater than a five percent GDP growth rate. Put plainly, he commits to an America that will "Drill, frack & burn coal…." Somewhat contradictory, he simultaneously wants to make political expression a civil right while banning "addictive" social media (a platform for political expression) for those under sixteen.

Despite his idiosyncratic positions, polling indicates a significant number of Republican voters are taking to Ramaswamy. Ei Yokley of the Morning Consult points to post-debate polling, which puts the businessman at 11%, up a point from the referenced pre-debate numbers. Although, it is important to remember that these are early numbers, and a lot can change between now and when voters start filling out ballots.

Vivek Ramaswamy certainly knows how to rake in dollars, but how he can perform among the Republican party's voters, especially with the strong personality that led him to proclaim President Trump as the greatest of the century during the first debate, remains to be seen. The aforementioned poll with Ramaswamy at 11% also had Trump at 58%, so while this nomination might go to the former president, Mr. Ramaswamy has sure made a name for himself with his performance so far.