Vivek Ramaswamy is only 37, but he sent political pundits scrambling to view his resume after declaring his long-rumored candidacy on Fox News’ highest-rated news show hosted by Tucker Carlson. In a separate oped in Wall Street Journal, whose offering of a platform showed how seriously he is being taken, Ramaswamy declared that he is “launching not only a political campaign but a cultural movement to create a new American Dream—one that is not only about money but about the unapologetic pursuit of excellence.”
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Ramaswamy is a first-generation Indian-American whose parents immigrated from Palakkad, Kerala, and embraced the American dream. His father, Ganapathy Ramaswamy, an engineer, worked for General Electric, and his mother, Geetha, was a geriatric psychiatrist in Cincinnati. His brother, Shankar Ramaswamy, is also a bio-technologist and Co-Founder and CEO of Kriya Therapeutics, a bio-tech firm and his wife, Apoorva Tewari, is an Assistant Professor and surgeon at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
Vivek Ramaswamy himself has had a spectacular academic career, graduating in biology from Harvard College and earning a law degree from Yale in 2013, during which time he was also a partner at a financial firm managing its bio-tech portfolio. His personal fortune, said to be in the region of $ 500 million, is said to be built largely around Roivant Sciences, a pharmaceutical company that he founded in 2014.
In 2021, he stepped down as CEO of Roivant to begin a political journey through the publication first of Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, followed by Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence, published in September 2022. Both books are now being scrutinised to assess his political philosophy, which is decidedly right of center.
In a NewYorker profile, media appearances, and his own writing, he has railed about wokism and the death of merit in America, pledging to scrap affirmative action — the US equivalent of reservation — and repeal civil service protection for federal employees.
“We have celebrated our diversity and our differences for so long, that we forgot all of the ways we’re really just the same as Americans, bound by a common set of ideals that set this nation into motion 250 years ago,” he told Tucker Carlson, arguing for “Those basic rules of the road: meritocracy, the idea that you get ahead in this country, not on the color of your skin, but on the content of your character.”
In other interviews, he has argued that American capitalism is far superior to the Indian caste system due to the economic opportunities it offered to the less privileged.
Ramaswamy jumps into a Republican field that is expected to be crowded with former President Donald Trump leading the field in which another Indian-American, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, also features. But Ramaswamy has the advantage — or disadvantage — of being a relatively unknown political entity although his media savviness is earning him plenty of coverage.
“A young, rich and little-known tech entrepreneur who calls ‘wokeism’ a national threat announced Tuesday night he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination,” began a story in the Washington Post, among several major media outlets that noted his bid.