Indian American Republican presidential aspirant says the nation is at a â€œ1776 momentâ€ without a proven leader in place to navigate it
Vivek Ramaswamy, Indian American Republican aspirant for the 2024 presidential race differentiates himself from other candidates in a crowded Republican field saying embracing American nationalist identity will be his campaignâ€™s north star.
â€œI think of myself as more of the unapologetic nationalist in this race,â€ Ramaswamy was quoted as saying during his opening remarks for an on-the-record conversation with editors and reporters of Politico on Monday.
READ: Vivek Ramaswamy wants to raise the voting age to 25 (May 12, 2023)
Ramaswamy, 37, predicted that it will take a landslide election, like Ronald Reganâ€™s victory in 1984, to unite the country. He added that embracing American nationalist identity will be his campaignâ€™s north star.
â€œI think we need to move and graduate beyond where I feel like weâ€™ve been mired for the last 10 to 20 years celebrating and sometimes fighting and obsessing either way over our skin-deep diversity and differences,â€ he said.
â€œCall me a non-white nationalist, if you want,â€ he said though later he tried to walk back the non-white descriptor a touch by saying it was â€œtongue in cheekâ€ â€” but said it is an optimistic view.
â€œWhy do I call myself an American nationalist? I am proud of that. I will not apologize for it. And I want to revive that.â€
He told Politico the nation is at a â€œ1776 momentâ€ in which the United States must collectively decide if it will â€œembrace the radicalism of the ideals that actually unite usâ€ or allow that window to close.
He hinted that the nation is much closer to peril without a proven leader in place to help navigate the country through this dark period.
He praised Americaâ€™s ideals of rule of law and self-governance. But when reminded the country was also built on the practice of slavery, he said, â€œIs America hypocritical? Yes.â€
Ramaswamy asked why China or Iran or Pakistan are never called to task for being hypocritical nations.
â€œI will be â€¦ among the first to admit our hypocrisy,â€ he said. â€œI think itâ€™s our best evidence of the fact that we are a nation founded on ideals. And most nations are founded on ethnicity, monarch, language, religion â€” not America.â€
When asked about embracing such a word when the Republican Party is already seen by many as embracing white nationalism, he admitted this posture may initially alienate some voters.
â€œDo I have a consciousness that in the short run, thatâ€™s going to make some people uncomfortable? Absolutely.â€
He said that Americans must learn to recalibrate and get â€œcomfortable with that discomfort, so we can be stronger on the other side of it.â€
Read: Vivek Ramaswamy enters Republican race for White HouseÂ (February 22, 2023)
Ramaswamy, whose book titles include â€œWoke Inc,â€ and â€œNation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence,â€ and fellow Indian American former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley are part of a growing diverse Republican field.
Ramswamy took credit for the â€œintellectual workâ€ of the anti-woke strain â€”a catch-all phrase to describe culture war battles over diversity, equity and inclusion in the party.
However, he said, â€œItâ€™s never a mantle Iâ€™ve particularly embraced but been described as a candidate in the potential emerging anti-woke lane â€” thatâ€™s too small.â€
Ramaswamy largely stayed away from criticizing former President Donald Trump, though he alluded to him as being passÃ©. Trump, Ramaswamy said, leans too much into a â€œretrospective grievanceâ€ that played once well with the electorate, but no longer does today.
Read: Vivek Ramaswamy exploring 2024 presidential runÂ (February 14, 2023)