His unifying, empathetic rhetoric obscures his Trumpist platform
What is the "sheep's clothing" here? He is running in the Republican primary, and the case against him seems to be that he has conservative policy positions.
It feels like the assumption is that people would find it strange that a "nice" or "respectful" person could be conservative. There are probably people that feel that way but they probably don't consider voting for the GOP if that is the case.
How is "Trumpism" or "MAGA" differentiated from standard GOP policies here?
Most polls seems to have him in the high single digits in either 3rd or 4th. Those are like peak Tom Steyer numbers. Trumps lead over Vivek is similar to Biden's over RFK.
I appreciate the analysis of his policy positions, and I'm sure that a Ramaswamy presidency would be very damaging to the country.
But on the other hand, I think this article incorrectly minimizes the importance of the tone politicians and leaders take. Leaders through their tone demonstrate to the country what appropriate behavior is, and show citizens whether or not they're valued.
Part of the unique problem of Trump is that he gave a large part of the country implicit permission to be vocal racists, xenophobes, and bigots; and made a lot of minorities believe that the government is against them in ways beyond policy. I don't think a Ramaswamy presidency would have those problems to the same extent.
Of course, that virulent hatred was part of the appeal of Trump, and I don't think it's possible to win over his supporters without that strain, even if you get all the policy positions right. The MAGA core doesn't really care about policy, anyway.
The belief that gender dysphoria is s mental illness is not an “extremist ideology.” It is a perfectly normal belief in Peachtree City, Georgia, which is a highly educated light red city in a purple county in a swing state. Ramaswamy is also spot on when he says adult transsexuals should be treated with empathy and respect. It’s possible to be civil and decent to mentally ill people while honoring ancient truths about biology and human nature! This article does more to show that Maya lives in a liberal bubble than that Ramaswamy is “toxic.”
"Both candidates are pro-life but don’t support a federal abortion ban. They both plan to ban gender-affirming care for minors. On education, they both vehemently oppose affirmative action. Trump promised to “cut federal funding for any school or program pushing Critical Race Theory or gender ideology on our children,” while Ramaswamy agrees America should “end unlawful DEI indoctrination.” They both support congressional term limits."
Most of those positions are supported by most voters. Even the ones that aren't supported by most are not particularly extreme. Mainstream opinions aren't extreme just because a Republican supports them.
I vehemently disagree with what appears to be the unspoken premise of this piece: that the problem with Trump is his policies. I too disagree with 90% of those, but that’s not *the* issue with Trump. The issue first and foremost is that he is actively hostile to democracy and tried to steal the elections. Secondly that he appears to engage in consistent criminal conduct that seriously endangers national security. And overall that he seems *genuinely* unhinged. And now we can add to the list the fact that for the first time in history we have a presidential candidate indicted on many multiple and separate serious crimes, mostly involving his conduct in office! *That’s* what we mean when we say that Trump “isn’t normal”. Also, rhetoric isn’t just dressing to policy. It matters. Divisive rhetoric and incitement can and does lead to violence. It can and does damage social trust and weakens the social fabric. Having unifying, respectful rhetoric is a critical role for the president.
So for all these reasons, while I won’t support any Republican due to an ideological abyss between me and them, it does seem to me that most if not all alternatives to Trump over there would be hugely preferable. More importantly however since trump seems extremely likely to be the nominee, I think it’s crucial that we don’t inadvertently help “normalize” him. With Trump it’s not and never has been about the issues. Let’s not forget that.
It isn't a surprise that someone running in the Republican primary is proposing standard-issue Republican policies. Ramaswamy's improved tone versus Trump is a welcome change and I hope Tim Scott or Nikki Haley adopt it also.
I think the best areas for defeating Republicans continue to be superior Democratic economic and redistribution policies. Give the Republicans credit for one thing though -- their primary has credible candidates who are not all white men.
As a parent of young children, I think it’s important the President not be an asshole who is rewarded as such by his voters. Kids (and adults) need to see that respectful disagreement and compromise is key to a functional polity. We all know that the policy program espoused on the campaign trail tends to run headfirst into reality once they take office.
I agree with others that candidates modeling civil discourse regardless of their views has positive value. People need to debate someone like Ramaswamy logically and his method leaves the possibility of doing so wide open. As others have noted, for the most part his positions don't seem different from Paul Ryan's. I wasn't a big fan of Ryan's. It's bad that Ramaswamy doesn't take the rule of law more seriously. His indulgence of 1/6 rioters deserves harsh criticism. But also have to say that some of the quotes used as evidence of his shrewd evil here were standard liberal positions until recently: civil rights laws have made things better for Black Americans (this has the benefit of obviously being true) and free speech should be protected. Loose rhetoric about how nothing has changed for African Americans over the years, or even "gender is a spectrum" is lazy and doesn't help progressive politics. I think progressives actually would benefit by refining their thinking through debate, something they do too little today, and Ramaswamy provides the opportunity.
I'm sceptical that "MAGA policies" is a useful or coherent category. MAGA/Trumpianism seems to be defined primarily by rhetoric, more than by policy. What unites these policies as distinctively "MAGA"? It seems more like a hodgepodge of GOP policies, some more moderate than what we might counterfactually expect from Republicans (e.g. pro-life, but oppose a federal ban on abortion).
The rhetorical implication seems to be: MAGA/Trumpianism = extreme and bad. But all that actually seems to be shown is that Ramswamy supports many generic Republican policies (as would be expected).
This article was extremely frustrating. He has policy positions and is willing to explain and defend him respectfully. The question is whether he’ll work with the other side to pursue compromise. Given his willingness to engage, I would assume yes. That is definitionally liberal.
Illiberalism is not policy positions I disagree with.
Maya, come on, restricting "affirming gender care" to minors isn't extremist, it's consistent with the policies of basically all of Western Europe's public health policy.
I thought I subscribed to this substack to escape the usual "THE OTHER SIDE IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT!!!" hyperbole.
I definitely agree that Ramaswamy isn't someone who I'd want to be Pres, but there is something to be said about changing the tone of the GOP. Tump's "cruelty is the point" form of politics, which has been heartily adopted hy DeSantis and others, has been very bad for the country and the GOP turning away from it would be a good thing.
For whatever it’s worth, he clarified his 9/11 comments as thinking the Saudis knew more than they claimed at the time.
Honestly this article kinda made me want to vote for him. I hope he gains more traction- he’d be a considerable upgrade to Trump. He seems like a pretty good dude.
Like other commenters here, I place more importance than the author does on simply "having a President who is not a complete asshole". That's the "sheep's clothing" part.
As for the "wolf" part, well a lot of his policies are standard GOP policies, yes? Unless you think any conservative is a "wolf" by definition.
Also like others here, I agree that Trump's assholery is a key part of his appeal, and a non-asshole Trump probably can't win.
I read articles like this from the perspective of learning what young elites like Maya think. I know she doesn’t have interesting takes on conservatives. This is the same young person who said one good reason for affirmative action is so there are blacks at Harvard so if a discussion of policing comes up the experts are in the room. In her circles saying this is apparently a compliment?
She says predicable things like Rama and DeSantis are to the right of Trump (unimaginable in her world) and they’re scary, oh and of course they lack compassion or are faking it.
Bari Weiss did good, mature interview with Rama. I do think he has some concerning views. For example, around foreign policy. And I am not convinced dismantling things is best but would agree we have a large administrative bureaucracy that does a lot of dumb things. Matt seems to agree in areas like local government planning departments.
He also appears to be quite bright and a true believer in the American experiment. Those are good things. There is zero chance Joe Biden would engage openly and in long form the way Rama has done over the last few months.
The boilerplate bias against conservatives is pretty boring. Maybe Matt had the intern write this story as a way to disrespect Rama? If so, that’s unfortunate because he is the candidate on the right most openly engaging in discussions around ideas.