Elephant by Naharai Perez Aguilar on Unsplash

May 9, 2023: Vivek Ramaswamy will return your call. He’ll say “yes” to almost any interview request – no matter the outlet – and will linger long after scheduled events die down, autographing a piece of fruit or letting prospective supports lay hands on his chest to cancel Satan’s plans. (Politico)

It’s the most always-on, always-available strategy of the 2024 presidential race. And it appears to be working.

Ten weeks after Ramaswamy launched his presidential run, the wealthy 37-year-old biotech entrepreneur has suddenly moved from suspected vanity campaigner to a contender polling in one recent measure on part with established Republicans like former Vice President Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and Sen. Tim Scott…

…Ramaswamy is still a longshot. But the attention he has quickly drawn is significant in a primary in which DeSantis has slid well behind Trump in primary polling while other Republican candidates scramble to make their mark…

May 10, 2023: Just 10 weeks after launching his campaign, Republican presidential hopeful and former biotech executive Vivek Ramaswamy has risen enough in some polls to match the popularity of well-known candidates such as former vice President Mike Pence and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley. He’s pulling respective crowds in early primary states, and he’s reportedly already got some fans who cry out of happiness when they talk about him. (MSNBC)

While he still poises no threat to former President Donald Trump or Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the surge of interest is still a striking development in an already-packed race. Why are people paying attention to this guy?

Two short profiles in The New York Times and Politico this week focus a great deal on Ramaswamy’s personality and always-say-yes attitude toward media interviews as a way of explaining the surge of Republican interest in him. But what these reports overlook in their narratives is that he’s also getting traction because he’s promising to be more extreme than Trump. Ramaswamy remains a total long shot, but his ability to secure attention is a function of his extremism – and the extremism of the party he’s trying to win over…

…Ramaswamy, like Buttigieg in 2020, has correctly identified the power of intense retail politics and media overexposure as a tactic for building a narrative, and, like Yang, he likely profits from being very online. But there’s an essential ingredient to why the matters are paying off: Ramaswamy is affirming the Republican base’s instincts by promising to succeed where Trump failed to deliver and perfect MAGA politics. And people are eating it up…

July 15, 2023: Republican presidential candidate and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy donated $5 million to his own campaign in the second quarter, bringing in a total of $7.7 million before Saturday’s deadline, according to his Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing. (The Hill)

The conservative entrepreneur ended the quarter with about $9 million in cash on hand. His total haul for the second quarter places him well behind the two frontrunners of the Republican primary race – former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis – but ahead of most of the remaining candidates.

However, only about $2.7 million of Ramaswamy’s second quarter haul came from donor contributions. Since launching his bid for the Republican nomination in February, Ramaswamy has load his campaign more than $15 million…

July 18, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called a potential indictment against former President Trump over his alleged role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 a “bad idea,” in an interview Tuesday. (The Hill)

Ramaswamy maintained, however, that Trump exercised “bad judgement” on Jan. 6 and said voters should hold the former president accountable at the ballot box.

“I think he should be held accountable at the ballot box, not at the behest of a federal administrative police state,” Ramaswamy said in NewsNation, when asked whether Trump should be held accountable for the day’s events. “I think it is a bad idea for this country to make a pattern out of using police power to indict a lead political opponent in the middle of an election.”

Ramaswamy, a billionaire tech entrepreneur, has attacked the administration for investigating Trump, but still backed his earlier criticism of Trump’s judgement on Jan. 6…

July 20, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy is laying out plans to shut down a number of federal government agencies if elected, starting with the FBI, Department of Education, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (NBC News)

Ramaswamy says his plan does not require rebuilding anything, but rather organizing.

“In many cases, these agencies are redundant relative to functions that are already performed elsewhere in the federal government,” Ramaswamy said in an interview with NBC News. “When you have redundancy, that’s actually a formula for corruption, as well as waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Ramaswamy’s plan would see money used to run the FBI, for example, be redistributed to the U.S. Secret Service, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

Ramaswamy says the Presidential Reorganization Act of 1977 provides “and important statutory basis” to go forward with his plan, as it allows him to submit plans to Congress about reorganizing an executive agency…

July 24, 2023: Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy is seeing his support tick up in the Republican presidential primary against former President Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris Poll survey released Monday. (The Hill)

When respondents were asked whom they would vote for if the GOP presidential primary were today, 52 precent said Trump, 12 percent said DeSantis and 10 percent said Ramaswamy.

Trump lost 7 percentage points and Ramaswamy gained 8 points compared to the most recent survey before Monday.

When respondents were asked whom they would vote for in the GOP primary if Trump decided not to run, DeSantis sat at 29 percent – a decrease of 12 points from the previous survey – while Ramaswamy stood at 19 percent, an increase of 12 points. Former Vice President Mike Pence received 13 percent…

August 3, 2023: Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said Sunday that 2024 GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s support for former President Trump represents a “complete lack of moral compass.” (The Hill)

“What I just heard was the complete lack of a moral compass,” Kaine said in an interview on ABC News’s “This Week.”

Kaine followed Ramaswamy’s interview, during which Ramaswamy repeatedly doubled down on his position that he would support the former president as the party’s chosen nominee, even if he were convicted of a crime. Trump faces more than 90 criminal charges in four separate indictments.

“If you are unwilling to say that the behavior of Donald Trump trying to overturn the peaceful transfer of power is a disqualified, if you pledged despite that to vote for him, if you pledged despite that to pardon him should you be elected, it shows that you don’t have the moral compass that you need to be the leader of the greatest nation in the world,” Kaine said.

“And, sadly, Mr. Ramaswamy is not alone in lacking the compass. I think that was displayed pretty patently by many of the GOP candidates on the debate stage,” Kaine added.

Ahead of the first primary debate late last month, all debate participants were required to sign a pledge to support the ultimate nominee. When they appeared on the stage, they were asked whether they would support Trump if he were a convicted felon but still the Republican nominee…

August 7, 2023: Vivek Ramaswamy suggested canceling Juneteenth, calling it a “useless” holiday in conversation with Iowa voters Saturday. (NBC News)

Less than two months ago, however, he posted a video on social media celebrating the day.

Breaking down his plan to institute a national voting holiday, Ramaswamy, a GOP presidential candidate, proposed making space for the new holiday by canceling an old one.

“Cancel Juneteenth or one of the other useless ones we made up,” Ramaswamy told an applauding crowd gathered at a welding company here.

Asked by NBC News to clarify whether he thought Juneteenth was a “useless” holiday, Ramaswamy said, “I basically do.”

Less than two months ago, on Juneteenth itself, he spoke differently about the celebration…

August 18, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy suggested Friday if elected in 2024 he would run the government like tech billionaire Elon Musk runs the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. (The Hill)

“What [Musk] did at Twitter is a good example of what I want to do to the administrative state,” Ramaswamy said in an interview on Fox News’s “The Ingraham Angle.” “Take out the 75 percent of dead weight cost, improve the actual experience of what it’s supposed to do.”…

August 18, 2023: Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is facing two lawsuits from former employees who say that when they worked at the company he cofounded, Strive Asset Management, they were aggressively pressured into violating securities laws, according to Bloomberg, which first reported these lawsuits Friday morning. (Forbes)

Joel Rosely – who filed a lawsuit Aug. 8 in New Jersey that names Ramaswamy, Strive Asset Management, and cofounder Anson Frericks as defendants – alleges she was fired as co-head of institutional sales because she raised concerns about an executive making aggressive sexual advances toward a lower level staffer at the firm and about securities laws violations.

Rosely also claims Ramaswamy and Frericks pressured her into using sales materials that promised customers future returns and allowing unregistered employees to make sales pitches to customers, which both constitute securities violations…

…Another lawsuit was filed in June by John Phillips, who said he was lured to Strive Asset Management from his previous JPMorgan job on false promises that the firm had good financing and that Ramaswamy, who promptly quit to run for president, was committed to the company…

August 21, 2023: Standing in a packed New Hampshire restaurant, Vivek Ramaswamy, the fresh-faced Republican shaking up the 2024 presidential race, is making a case for unifying a bitterly divided nation. The secret, he insists, is as American as apple pie: capitalism. (Forbes)

…At 38 years old, the biotech investor and “anti-woke” warrior is worth more than $950 million. His net worth was over $1 billion about a week ago, making him one of the youngest billionaires in the country, before a downturn in the market pulled him just under the billion-dollar threshold, according to Forbes’ calculations. Still, he appears to be the second-wealthiest person competing in the Republican presidential primary, behind only Donald Trump (whose net worth Forbes last pegged at $2.5 billion)…

…Then there are his political interests. In 2021, Ramaswamy stepped down as CEO of Roivant and got into politics, authoring a book called “Woke, Inc.,” which criticized corporate America’s growing focus on social justice issues and the ESG (environmental, social and governance) movement taking over Wall Street. A year later, he founded an “anti-woke” index fund provider – think BlackRock, without all the talk about saving the world – named Strive Asset Management. Investors recently valued Strive at a lofty $300 million or so, according to two individuals familiar with the financing, implying that Ramaswamy’s state is worth well over $100 million…

…Despite all his money and connections, Ramaswamy looks pretty comfortable doing a meet-and-greet politicking in New Hampshire. It helps, he says, that he doesn’t live like a tycoon. “I don’t think we have lived a lifestyle that is radically removed from the one we grew up in.”

He owned two Ohio homes worth a combined $2.5 million, less than the real estate portfolios of far-less-wealthy candidates, including Nikki Haley, Francis Suarez, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and President Joe Biden. “We don’t have a giant vacation homes,” Ramaswamy says. “We see five of our neighbor’s backyards. We have good relationships with our neighbors.”…

August 27, 2023: At the conclusion of Vivek Ramaswamy’s second campaign stop here on Saturday – his sixth event out of eight over two days in Iowa – his staff rushed him toward their campaign bus. The businessman-turned-politician was late for a flight across the state to his next event. But as reporters and camera crews crowded the bus to see him off, Ramaswamy stopped and took time for questions. (CNN)

It was hardly a new occurrence. He’d held impromptu press availabilities after nearly every event on this tour up to that point. More striking was that, nearly 72 hours after playing a starring role in Wednesday’s heated and highly combative Republican primary debate, he was still taking stock of the defining moment on his campaign thus far.

“I think it’s a major accomplishment that many people are able to pronounce my name now. That’s the true mark of a real milestone on this campaign,” Ramaswamy joked. “If we got there, anything’s possible.”…

September 1, 2023: Fox News Anchor John Roberts pressed Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy over his views defending Taiwan from China during an interview Friday. (The Hill)

Ramaswamy has isolated himself from the rest of the GOP primary field on a number of key policy issues, including not supporting continued aide for Ukraine in its war against Russia, and a radical proposal to cede territory taken by Russia in eastern Ukraine in exchange for Moscow ending its military alliance with China.

The tech entrepreneur’s views on Taiwan are another example of his unique agenda.

Roberts confronted Ramaswamy over his stance that America should only support Taiwan because it produces semiconductors…

September 8, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy says that as president, he would deport American-born children of undocumented immigrants. (NBC News)

“The family unit will be deported,” said Ramaswamy when asked by NBC News if the deportations would include American-born children, after a packed town hall here Friday.

These children, however, are U.S. citizens, regardless their parents’ immigration status. The 14th Amendment states that “all persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.”

When asked again if these children would be deported along with their families Ramaswamy doubled down.

“That is correct,” he said…

September 10, 2023: Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign hats that were made in a repressive country still found their way out on the campaign trail last week even after the Republican presidential candidate said he’d stop distributing them. (Raw Story)

According to a Raw Story source who requested anonymity to protect their job, “Truth, Vote Vivek.” hats were handed out as recently as last Wednesday at a campaign event in Iowa. And Ramaswamy posted a video on X Saturday showing him personally putting on the black baseball cap on a supporter.

Each was several days after Raw Story broke the news that Ramaswamy’s black baseball caps where manufactured in Myanmar, a country rife with human right atrocities and led by a military junta that has close ties with China – a country with which Ramaswamy is campaigning to cut dependence…

…Ramaswamy’s campaign had pledged to ditch the made-in-Myanmar caps after Raw Story asked about them.

“When this was brought to Vivek’s attention, he said we were changing. He was not aware at all of the source, and it has been changed,” Stefan Mychajliw, deputy communications director for Ramaswamy’s campaign, told Raw Story on September 8.

But that did not come to pass, and now, Mychajliw says he has “no idea” what happened to the remaining “Made in Myanmar” hats and “no knowledge” of them being distributed in Iowa last week…

September 21, 2023: Vivek Ramaswamy has sparked firestorm of criticism since launching his 2024 presidential campaign for comments that some have called racially charged. (The Hill)

Recently, the 38-year-old entrepreneur faced backlash for comparing Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a Black Democrat representing Massachusetts, to “modern grand wizards” of the Ku Klux Klan. He has said that the U.S. education system is a “modern ghetto system,” that the government pays women in inner cities to be single, and has argued with former CNN anchor Don Lemon on what it was like to live as a Black person in America.

“I think there’s a pattern here, but to be honest, I will go one step further and say that this is a cornerstone of his campaign,” said Brandon Weathersby, presidential communications director for he American Bridge PAC.

“Just because you deliver it with a smile, just because it’s a little more palatable, doesn’t mean that it’s not going to have a lot of the same negative implications Norfolk’s or literally feeling like there’s a target on your back when you go outside or when you go into certain communities, because that rhetoric has been normalized.”…

…Earlier in August, Ramaswamy promised that if he secured the GOP nomination, he would “bring along voters of diverse shades of melanin in droves,” to win the general election.

But his rhetoric on race only continues to draw criticism, with some experts saying his comments do not speak to Black voters at all…

September 27, 2023: Vivek Ramaswamy, a multimillionaire former biotech executive, has a chance to build on the attention he’s been getting in the race for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination at Wednesday night’s second debate. (Reuters)

…In recent years, Ramaswamy has become a fierce conservative. In his 2021 bestseller “Woke, Inc.,” Ramaswamy decries decisions by some big companies to base business strategy around social justice and climate change concerns, and lambasts “wokeism” as an insidious influence on hard work, capitalism, religious faith and patriotism. The book raised Ramaswamy’s profile among conservatives, and he began is rapid ascension as a right-wing star…

…Ramaswamy declared his campaign for president in February, at a time when his bid looked like a long shot. He still languishes in the single digits in most opinion polls but has been gaining on many of his rivals, most notably Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is now fighting to retain his second-place status.

Ramaswamy’s strong, pugnacious performance in the first debate last month, when he laid out an agenda even further to the right of Trump on some issues, earned him a lot of attention, as well as criticism, and boosted him in some Republican primary opinion polls.

He has been a fierce defender of Trump while seeking to appeal to Christian evangelicals, an important part of the Republican primary electorate. Although a Hindu, Ramaswamy has been telling voters that the U.S. is based on “Christian values” and “Judeo-Christian values” and has described himself as an American nationalist.

His policy positions are mostly deeply conservative. He opposes affirmative action and supports state-level bans on abortion after six weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest, and if the mother’s life is in danger. Ramaswamy wants to greatly expand the powers of the presidency and dismantle much of the federal government, including the FBI, the Department of Education, and the tax-collecting Internal Revenue Service…

September 30, 2023: Entrepreneur and 2024 GOP presidential primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy expressed his negative view of the recently passed stopgap funding bill to keep the government funded on Saturday. (The Hill)

“My first reaction is the reaction it’s been for the last several days, which is this whole debate is a farce. It’s a deflection,” Ramaswamy told reporters following his speech at the California GOP convention.

He added, “Even if the government were gonna shut down, we know what happens every time. They get the back pay, it comes back bigger every time. We need to stop the artificial debate about fake government shutdowns and start having a real debate — how to achieve a true shutdown of the administrative state.”

His answer comes a few days after a recent GOP presidential debate in which he fell in support behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, according to a Washington Post survey of people who watched the debate…

October 1, 2023: GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s campaign is asking the Republican National Committee (RNC) to cut the number of candidates for the third debate down to four. (The Hill)

Vivek 2024 CEO Ben Yoho urged the RNC to limit the next debate to the top four candidates in national polling besides former President Trump in a letter addressed to RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and Committee on Arrangements co-Chairs David Bossie and Anne Hathaway. He also asked the RNC to raise the donor threshold to 100,000 donors.

“But against the backdrop of a chaotic second debate and the reality of a frontrunner who has declined to participate, we respectfully call on the RNC to revise its approach so that Republican voters can focus on serious candidates who have a viable path to beating Joe Biden — or whomever the Democrats put up to replace him,” Yolo write in the letter obtained by The Hill.

To qualify for the Nov. 6 debate, Republican candidates will need to show two national polls that have them at 4 percent or higher, or they’ll need to receive 4 percent support in one national poll and two different early state polls.

Candidates also need to meet a donor threshold of at least 70,000 unique donors, including at least 200 from 20 or more states each.

Besides raising the threshold, the Ramaswamy campaign is asking the RNC to provide more time for candidates to respond to their rivals and to also use a single moderator “who is able to enforce debate rules and avoid candidates indiscernibly shouting over each other.”

“Time is running out. Early-state voting is rapidly approaching in January. Another unhelpful debate in November is not an option: voters deserve a real choice for who will best serve as our party’s nominee. Voters are not well-served when a cacophony of candidates with minimal chance of success talk over each other rom the edge of the stage, while overwhelming frontrunner is absent from the center of the same stage,” Yoho wrote…

November 11, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy’s national political director, Brian Swenson, is departing the campaign to work on former President Trump’s team, Ramaswamy senior advisor Tricia McLaughlin confirmed to The Hill. (The Hill)

…The development comes as Ramaswamy has been trailing Trump and several other 2024 Republican contenders, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, in early state polls.

The 38-year-old biotech entrepreneur launched his campaign in February as a little-known candidate in February as a little-known candidate, later emerging in the summer as a breakout star. But Ramaswamy struggled to keep up that momentum, including during the presidential debates as he became tangled in back-and-forths with Haley and former Vice President Pence.

November 20, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called out Democratic strategist Donna Brazile on Sunday, maintaining she “intentionally mispronounced” his name during a TV appearance. (The Hill)

The presidential candidate responded to a clip from “Real Time with Bill Maher” in which Brazil, the former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), questioned how to pronounce Ramaswamy’s name…

…Ranaswamy, who was born in the United States to Indian parents, panned the former DNC head’s remarks on the show.

“I wonder what they’d do if a white Republican intentionally mispronounced Donna’s name & then told her to return ‘home’,” Ramaswamy wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, while sharing a laughing emoji”…

December 4, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said in an interview that he’ll “overpreform expectations” in Iowa and New Hampshire primaries next month. (The Hill)

During an appearance on NewsNation’s The Hill, Ramaswamy told host Blake Burman that he believes he has a good shot of winning state primaries in Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.

Ramaswamy said that he plans one completing the “full Grassley” – visiting all 99 Iowa counties – twice in the first week of January, noting that he’s already attracted supporters who are first time caucus goers in the state.

“Many of the people come in to support us at the caucus are first time ever caucus goers, which means we’re going to shatter what the polls say, and I think there’s a surprise coming on January 15,” Ramaswamy told Burman.

When Burman asked if Ramaswamy wanted to overpreform expectations in those states, the entrepreneur turned presidential candidate reiterated his initial remarks…

December 11, 2023: A man from New Hampshire is facing federal charges after allegedly threatening to kill 2024 GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, according to an affidavit filed Saturday. (The Hill)

The threats were sent in text messages to the Ramaswamy campaign, which altered authorities.

Though the affidavit redacted the name of the candidate involved, Ramaswamy senior advisor Tricia McLaughlin, confirmed that it was about Ramaswamy.

Tyler Anderson is charged with transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure another person after he allegedly texted Ramaswamy’s campaign that he was going to kill the 38-year-old GOP millennial and attendees at a campaign event after receiving the text from Ramaswamy’s campaign inviting him to a breakfast, the affidavit said…

December 13, 2023: Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy said that he believes the Supreme Court should overturn the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. (The Hill)

Ramaswamy said at a CNN town hall in Iowa on Wednesday that the case, which the court agreed earlier on Wednesday to hear, is about the authority that regulatory agencies have without direct authorization from Congress. He argued that the FDA exceeded its authority in approving the pill in 2000.

“It’s my opinion… that the FDA exceeded its statutory authority in using an emergency approval to approve something that doesn’t fit Congress’s criteria for what actually counts as an emergency approval,” Ramaswamy said.

The court agreed to take up the case following requests from the Justice Department and Danco, which is the manufacturer of Mifeprex, the branded version of mifepristone. The case could limit the availability of the drug.

The pill is commonly used throughout the country for abortions in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, and about half of all abortions nationwide are conducted using the pill as part of a two-pill regimen, according to the Guttmacher Institute…

…”The people who we elect to run the government, they’re not even the ones who run the government right now. It’s the bureaucrats in those three-letter agencies that are pulling the strings today,” [Ramaswamy] said.

Ramaswamy added that as president, he would “shut down that fourth branch of government” and rescind “unconstitutional” federal regulations that Congress did not pass. He said mifepristone should be taken off the market until it goes through the process that other drugs without emergency approval go through…

January 15, 2024: Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy suspended his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination on Monday and endorsed former President Donald Trump after finishing a distant fourth in Iowa’s leadoff caucuses. (Associated Press)

Ramaswamy said he made the decision after determining there was no path forward for him in the race, “absent things that we don’t want to see happen to in this country.”

The 38-year-old political novice, who sought to replicate Trump’s rise as a bombastic, wealthy outsider, said he called the former president earlier Monday evening to congratulate him on his victory in Iowa. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis came in second, with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley just behind in third.

Ramaswamy told supporters gathered at a Des Moines hotel that Trump, “will have my full endorsement for the presidency.”…

January 16, 2024: Ramaswamy was never really seen as a serious contender by many of his Republican rivals, but he is a right-wing figure who successfully used the 2024 cycle to boost his profile. Though he struggled to poll higher that the low single digits, his combative debate performances and nonstop media appearances helped him gain some measure of (relative popularity,) or, at least notoriety. He’s dropped out after coming in fourth place in the Iowa caucuses, and immediately endorsed Trump. (Vox)

…In his announcement video, he staked his candidacy on combatting the “woke left” and what he referred to as “new secular religions like Covidism, climatism, and gender ideology.”

“This is psychological slaver, and that has created a new culture of fear in our country that has completely replaced our culture of free speech in American, he said in the video…

…Ultimately, Ramaswamy struggled to overcome his rivals with far greater platforms, name recognition, donor networks, and war chests — many of whom arguably pioneered his brand of politics.

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