The 38-year-old fiery leader has been gaining ground in the polls, holding steadfast at third place, trailing only behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
With the crucial first Republican primary debate just days away and the Iowa caucus looming, Ramaswamy is striving to distinguish himself as a potent alternative to Trump within the party.
Though an unconventional candidate vis-a-vis GOP, Ramaswamy has managed to carve a distinct niche in a party traditionally dominated by evangelical Christians.
During a recent town hall in Vail, Iowa, Ramaswamy responded to a question about the possibility of being Trump’s vice president with a resounding “No.”
The incident underscored the central challenge facing the wealthy entrepreneur. Even though voters are increasingly interested in Ramaswamy, it’s former President Donald Trump who continues to be many conservatives’ favorite.
To rally the support of staunch Republican supporters, Ramaswamy is adopting an approach which revolves around speaking the “hard truths” that many fear voicing publicly, as symbolized by his campaign banner emblazoned with the word “TRUTH.”
For instance, his staunch stance against abortion, which was shaped by the Christian influences through his education at St Xavier Catholic High School.
Ramaswamy has even filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department, alleging a lack of transparency surrounding Trump’s indictment.
While the lawsuit may not yield immediate results, it positions Ramaswamy as both a Trump defender and an individual committed to transparency and accountability.
Ramaswamy’s campaign rallies are marked by his eloquence and firm grasp of policy specifics, evident in his ambitious plan to cut the federal bureaucracy by 75% during his first term, a proposal that resonated with his Iowa audience.
He also expressed intent to station military personnel along the US-Mexico border to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
The innovative mix of policies and a charismatic demeanor have garnered him support from voters seeking an alternative to Trump’s bombastic style.
Ramaswamy’s Hindu faith has also played a significant role in his campaign. In a nation where conservative Christian support is crucial, Ramaswamy has boldly interwoven his religious beliefs with his platform, asserting that his faith aligns with the “Judeo-Christian values this nation was founded on.”
He emphasized his commitment to religious liberty while acknowledging shared principles across faiths.
This approach, while gaining him support from some Christian leaders, has also stirred controversy within both the Hindu American and Indian American communities, where Democratic leanings are more prevalent.
As a second Hindu presidential candidate in US history, Ramaswamy seeks to bridge the gap between faiths while acknowledging his unique perspective.
Critics argue that he oversimplifies certain aspects of Hinduism to resonate with the Christian base, but supporters appreciate his unapologetic embrace of his heritage. Whether or not he can secure the nomination, Ramaswamy’s candidacy marks a shift in American politics, reflecting the growing political diversity within the Hindu community.
As the first Republican primary debate approaches, Ramaswamy remains determined to carve out a path distinct from Trump’s while appealing to his base.
Will Ramaswamy’s blend of hard truths, policy expertise and unabashed embrace of his Hindu faith reshape the narrative within the Republican Party? That remains to be seen. His immediate challenge is to draw attention of Trump supporters and possibly win them over.
(With inputs from AP)Watch History of White House hopefuls at the Iowa State Fair