Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy speaks to UT students about democracy, American exceptionalism

Caroline Fallin

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy called for a more unified American identity during a speech held at the University of Texas’ Hogg Memorial Auditorium on Oct. 11. 

Students filled the entire auditorium, which has a maximum capacity of 1,000 people. Justin Dyer, director of the Civitas Institute, introduced Ramaswamy after he arrived 30 minutes later than his original scheduled time. In May, the UT System regents unanimously approved the creation of a new college to house the Institute called the School of Civic Leadership. 

The candidate opened with his thoughts on democracy in the United States. 

“What is the best measure of the health of American democracy? It is not the number of green pieces of paper in our bank account … it’s not the number of ballots we cast in November,” Ramaswamy said during his talk. “The best measure of the health of American democracy is the percentage of people who feel free to say what we actually think in public.”

Ramaswamy described a “war” between patriotic, traditional Americans and the minority who focused on identity-based issues. He said these “identity politics” were leading to less free speech and a weaker belief in American patriotism. 

“It is a war between the majority of us in the United States of America who love our country and our founding ideals … and a fringe minority who believes that your identity is based on your race, gender and sexual orientation,” Ramaswamy said. “The good news I have is that most of us in this country are on the pro-American side.”

Ramaswamy said a united patriotic front would increase America’s strength in the face of these struggles. 

“If we can revive that dream over group identity and victimhood and grievance that nobody in the world, not a nation, not a corporation, not a virus can defeat us — that is what American exceptionalism is all about,” Ramaswamy said. “We together will (work) to save our great country.”

Ramaswamy’s speech enamored the crowd, many of whom were of Desi descent like the presidential candidate. Biology freshman Abhinav Rajkumar said he felt connected to Ramaswamy because of their shared ancestry. 

“Both of us came from similar backgrounds: my parents are both immigrants from India, similar to his, (and we) are both first-generation American foreign students,” Rajkumar said. “I wanted to come out to support and just see how he is as a person.”

However, some in the crowd disagreed with Ramaswamy. Communications senior Brett Russell  said he wasn’t impressed with the candidate’s talk. 

“I thought he tried to invoke as many buzz words as possible when he gave his speech,” Russell said. “I found his brevity disappointing after showing up 30 minutes late. ”

Ramaswamy said he has no plans of losing the 2023 presidential election, stating he is not a “plan B person.” However, according to data by FiveThirtyEight, a polling station run by ABC News, Ramaswamy only ranks third in Republican primary polls at an average of 7.2% of support, with Ron DeSantis sitting in second at 12.7% and Donald Trump at an overwhelming 58.4%.

More to Discover