Vivek Ramaswamy delivers closing message in Northwest Iowa

Vivek Ramaswamy at a campaign event in Rock Rapids on Saturday, Jan. 13. Screenshot.

By Nikoel Hytrek

January 13, 2024

Despite windchills almost 50 below zero and a blizzard warning, Vivek Ramaswamy continued his pre-caucus tour through Northwest Iowa on Saturday with confidence and a dark message about America’s present.

The Ohio businessman is running to be the Republican nominee for president.

Multiple times Saturday, Ramaswamy said on social media that the turnouts at his events were the “best evidence of a big surprise coming on Monday, Jan. 15.”

However, the latest polling shows Ramaswamy polling at 6.8% in the race, which is behind Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and former President Donald Trump.

In Rock Rapids, the Lyon County seat, Ramaswamy said those numbers are lies because few of his supporters are polled and that’s why his winning the caucus is going to “shock the world.” Ramaswamy has been making his case with younger voters, many of whom don’t participate in traditional polling.

Ramaswamy said his message resonates with Iowans because it’s about reuniting the country and advocating for what he calls American excellence.

“That’s what this country was founded on, and today our inner animal spirit, it has been domesticated, it has been whipped into submission by this new culture that penalizes excellence and celebrates victimhood,” he said. “When we rallied behind the cry to make America great again, we didn’t just hunger for a single man, we hungered for the unapologetic pursuit of excellence.”

Many times, his comments came back to the idea of American principles being destroyed and his promise to rebuild them.

While answering an audience question about the two-party system, Ramaswamy promised he wasn’t a real Republican but simply using the party as a “vessel” to advance his agenda. That agenda is to revive people’s national pride and advocate America First policies, such as not getting into foreign wars and restricting the reach and power of agencies in the executive branch that do day-to-day administrative work.

Ramaswamy also said he agreed with voters that the electoral system is rigged, but the way to fix it is to work inside the system, and not stop at structural changes.

“The deeper problem is we have become a nation of sheep, actually,” he said. “It’s not about the system all alone it’s about us.”

He said Americans lack a sense of purpose and meaning because the principles of “faith, patriotism, hard work, family” that used to ground us have disappeared.

“And that leaves a moral vacuum in our heart and when you have a vacuum that runs that deep, that’s when the poison fills the void,” Ramaswamy said. “So it’s up to us, a nation of sheep is what breeds the government of wolves; two-party system or not.”

He repeated his calls to implement civics tests for all high schoolers as a way to revive national pride.

“That’s a good thing for this country for us to know something about this country, to care about this country, revive national pride in this country at a moment we’re missing it,” he said. “That’s half my job is your next president, not just the policy but reviving our national character and our sense of pride in this nation.”

The way to revive that pride, he said, is wrapped up in the “hard truths” he campaigns on which include things like promoting capitalism, immigration restrictions, and fossil fuels and rejecting the existence of nontraditional families and transgender and nonbinary people.

“If you want to save this country, for God’s sake if you want to save Trump, the best way is to vote for me, and that’s what I’m asking for on January 15,” he said. “Let’s do this and seize our own 1776 moment.”

  • Nikoel Hytrek

    Nikoel Hytrek is Iowa Starting Line’s longest-serving reporter. She covers LGBTQ issues, abortion rights and all topics of interest to Iowans. Her biggest goal is to help connect the dots between policy and people’s real lives. If you have story ideas or tips, send them over to [email protected].



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