by CAPT. SETH KESHEL
Vivek Ramaswamy is a name that has come out of left field on the political right. I had the chance to meet him, briefly, at the Georgia Republican Party convention in June. To his credit, he made himself available, free of a suppressive security entourage designed to keep everyone away. He was a keynote speaker at the convention later that afternoon, and while he hit all the high points about America First, he made it clear in no uncertain terms that his campaign for the presidency was not a political stunt, but a sincere endeavor.
Make no mistake – I have endorsed President Donald J. Trump for the Presidency of the United States in 2024. Why have I decided to write this opinion piece now? Because I am frequently asked these two questions:
1) What do you think of Vivek Ramaswamy?
2) What are we going to do after Trump?
I have delayed answering the first question for many months, even since we first began hearing significant rumblings about the man in early 2023, when he announced his campaign. Here are my three main takeaways about the man, the candidate, his future in the America First movement, and what his presence today tells us about the political world of tomorrow.
I. Ramaswamy is Brilliant – A Force for Mostly Good
I know what you may be thinking – Ramaswamy has criticized J6ers, promoted big pharma, and has ties to the World Economic Forum. Lay those aside for a moment – whether sincerely or deceptively, Ramaswamy is playing cleanup for Trump and exposing this cycle’s fakers and posers on the debate stage without Trump himself having to subject himself to two-hour long shitshows with the media lobbing proverbial bombs at him and setting up spike shots for Chris Christie, Nikki Haley, and Ron DeSantis. Ramaswamy’s debate attacks on the Republican Party leadership, which only knows how to lose, as well as his brutalizing of his debate foes, are not only vicious, but well-warranted. Only Tulsi Gabbard has hit harder at debates in recent years. If you are inclined to disagree with my overarching point here, ask yourself who has spent virtually no time excoriating Ramaswamy on any platform.
II. Ramaswamy is Playing Poker for a Cabinet Position
I don’t see Ramaswamy as a likely choice for Trump’s running mate in 2024 for multiple reasons. First and foremost, I think Trump has high odds to choose a woman as a running mate. I had originally expected Kari Lake to be the woman for the job, but with her ongoing race for U.S. Senate, Kristi Noem is a real possibility, though she offers little geographic value being Governor of a deep red state, bordering other deep red states and Minnesota, which has rigged itself into Democrat oblivion by law.
The most recent tell that I am correct here is that he shuttered his Ohio campaign offices. The Buckeye State holds its Republican primary on March 19, 2024. While reallocating resources is understandable, shutting down operations and deploying 40 operatives to the two crucial early battlegrounds, Iowa and New Hampshire, is a much more permanent move that tells me he is not expecting to remain a candidate for president on March 19, which is exactly two weeks after the decisive Super Tuesday series of primaries. Trump will have long stitched up the nomination, and Ramaswamy is clearing the deck of anti-Trumpers, making a name for himself, and is very possibly a solid bet to finish second, a shocking supposition given DeSantis’s clout on the political right just one year ago.
III. Ramaswamy Has Limited National Appeal
A proper understanding of the Trump coalition is needed to make an accurate assessment of Ramaswamy’s national viability. This is not to say he can’t or won’t be popular, or that people can’t look past some of his previously asserted positions that support anti-populist, anti-America First positions. This is to say that few political figures on the American right possess the gravitas to form a truly impressive national coalition that encompasses not only the fiscal and evangelical right, but the populist working class found in Florida, the Southwest, Industrial Midwest, and Upper Midwest.
While Donald Trump may be a billionaire, his Noo Yawk working-class feel and involvement in construction, hotels, properties, and urban restoration have given him serious working-class rapport and has established him in a league of his own – separate from the born with a silver spoon in his mouth class of Republican professional politicians, like Mitt Romney, who are ironically less wealthy than Trump himself.
Trump’s positions on trade favoring American sovereignty provide substance to his verbiage, whereas right now, Ramaswamy, despite his own wealth and mostly approved platform stances, is still a biotechnology and big pharma tycoon who will not resonate throughout the industrial heart of Pennsylvania, the lakeside shores of Michigan, and the deep woods of Wisconsin as the 45thPresident does.
I take a big picture approach to everything I do, and for every assessment I make. I expect local voices to clarify things the more local they get, and to provide assessments for that segment of the proverbial battlespace. Despite positions that put Ramaswamy at odds with much of the America First faction, the lack of ire coming from Trump himself suggests he is doing the work he is supposed to be doing right now and in doing so, is exposing the feckless Republican Party leadership and candidates who are in the field, down by 40 or more points, seeking to divide the party ahead of a must-win election. In the long term, if he keeps it up, Ramaswamy will provide great ambassadorship for an anti-left, largely anti-globalist national platform and provide a prominent voice for young and non-white fed-up citizens to learn from.
For now – Ramaswamy is doing necessary work, even if he doesn’t intend to.