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NEW YORK—Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy made his first major splash in 2014 after founding a company that developed a drug for treating prostate cancer.
A child of immigrants from India who arrived in America with almost no money, Ramaswamy started the biotechnology firm at the age of 29 and quickly built it into a multi-billion dollar enterprise, landing him on the cover of Forbes in the process. That was his American dream.
But he left the medical field to treat “a different kind of cancer” metastasizing in America, Ramaswamy, now a GOP 2024 presidential candidate, told a full house at a campaign event hosted by the New York Metropolitan Republican Club on April 26.
“Not a biological cancer, but a cultural cancer that threatened to kill that dream that Martin Luther King had 60 years ago, that threatened to kill the dream that allowed me to achieve everything I ever had in my life,” Ramaswamy told the crowd.
“Pick your favorite ‘-ism’: woke-ism, transgenderism, climate-ism, COVID-ism, globalism—whatever it is, you think it’s an accident that these things cropped up at the same time?” he said. “It’s not. It’s a symptom of a deeper identity crisis.”
The candidate touted the ideas that would ultimately underlie his campaign platform, from instituting radical government reform to reviving a national identity to fill “the vacuum at the heart of our national soul.”
The gist of his promise is to revive the values that made his American dream possible: faith, patriotism, hard work, and family. And a necessary step in achieving this goal, he said, is dissolving the federal agencies controlled by a corporate managerial class.
“[President] Ronald Reagan led us out of our last national identity crisis in 1980. I’m running for president to do the same thing again in 2024,” Ramaswamy said in closing his speech.
A political outsider and businessman, Ramaswamy has a campaign message that strikes a similar tone to that which propelled candidate Donald Trump to victory in 2016: overhaul the Washington establishment.
“I’m going to shut down the administrative state—the unconstitutional fourth branch of government—gut it,” he told The Epoch Times after the event while on his way to downtown Manhattan for dinner.
Doing so, he added, would restore “the lifeblood of our constitutional republic” and the “economic growth in this country.”
“Because that’s one of the great obstacles that gets in the way.”
According to Ramaswamy’s 2021 book “Woke Inc.” and subsequent online posts, these agencies include the FBI, the IRS, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Education, and others.
In “Woke Inc.,” the entrepreneur writes that these agencies have been fundamentally transformed by a scheme he calls “wokenomics”: C-suit executives of corporations like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street deploy woke ideologies as a “smokescreen to distract from greed, fraud, and malfeasance.”
This scheme, he argues, goes beyond the “old” crony capitalism model in which corporations influence legislation via campaign contributions: corporations promulgate this woke ideology, which permeates government administrative agencies, who in turn “became the willing henchmen of the woke-industrial complex.”
As a result, a set of pseudo-moral principles has dominated American institutions, devastated American values, and spawned an administrative state—a federal bureaucracy largely controlled by a corporate managerial class.
That administrative state, he said, then comes back to force the market to adopt agendas most American people don’t agree with—an agenda that conforms to the “climate cult,” for example.
“That’s not the invisible hand of the market. That is the invisible fist of government,” he said during his speech.
So, vowing to treat what he describes as a “cultural cancer” and dissolve the administrative state, Ramaswamy, 37, in February threw his hat in the ring for the Republican presidential nomination.
But getting rid of the administrative state would not be a perpetual solution, he said.
“It’s going to come back,” Ramaswamy told The Epoch Times. “It’s going to take the next leader, then, to be vigilant in their own way. But that’s no excuse for not doing the best thing we can do right now.”
A successful 2024 bid—currently looking like a long shot with former President Donald Trump leading the pack—would make history as he would be the country’s youngest-ever commander-in-chief.
Countering Communist China
Ending the administrative state would be his top priority to address the greatest internal threat to the United States, he told The Epoch Times.
But at the same time, the candidate identified the greatest external threat: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He proposed during his Wednesday speech that he would forbid most U.S. businesses from expanding into the Chinese market until the CCP reforms its behavior dramatically.
“No theft, no mercantilism, no intellectual property theft,” he said.
“And I’m going to be really honest with you—that will involve some short-term sacrifice,” Ramaswamy added. “Here’s the secret—and geopolitics is not that different than in business—it’s when you are most willing to make a sacrifice that you will not have to make one.”
He also said during an event earlier in April that if he becomes the president, he will put “a gun in every Taiwanese household” to deter CCP aggression towards the self-ruled democratic island the communist regime has repeatedly threatened to invade.
“If I do those two things: shut down the administrative state and declare independence from communist China … and then add to that, maybe if I secure the border, and end the Fentanyl crisis in the process … I’ve done my part,” he told The Epoch Times. He added that declaring independence from communist China will help end the fentanyl crisis, because much of the fentanyl in America has been made with precursors from China.
When asked about his plans for getting America out of the identity crisis he warns about, Ramaswamy said that a good statesman goes beyond implementing good policies.
“I think part of the job of a U.S. president is not just to lead with the policy agenda, but to lead with national character, to be somebody who you can look your kids in the eye and say: I want you to grow up to be like him,” he told The Epoch Times.
“And I think that that’s something that Reagan did really well—I don’t think we’ve had a president since him who embodied that in quite the same way. So, I think that’s part of the job—that’s more than just the policy—but the inspiration of the next generation of Americans to allow them to see the ideals that actually make us who we are.”
But what about being attacked by the establishment? Recent events, including the historic indictment of Trump, have some commentators worried that people who oppose the left might be targeted by politically motivated prosecutions.
“I’m ready,” he replied. “You don’t prepare for this. You don’t get into this without having a spine of steel. They’re going to come for us. We’ll be as ready as we can.”
“One thing I’ve learned from the Trump experience is that they’re going to come to you,” Ramaswamy said.
“But the only thing in our control is—we can’t make it easy for them.”
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