“The knives are out!” said US Republican Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy in a short YouTube clip while on the campaign trail. “They see me rising in the polls, and the attacks are coming from all sides now.”

Vivek Ramaswamy has had a whirlwind past two weeks. The primary’s bold and charismatic rising star has seen his profile skyrocket after last week’s GOP debate in Wisconsin. However, with increased attention comes scrutiny, and Ramaswamy has had to defend his policy stances and quotes in a slew of interviews.

Since writing his books “Woke Inc.” and “Nation Of Victims,” Ramaswamy has portrayed himself as a proponent of color-blind meritocracy. He argues that American politics has been “too focused on our genetic differences, and we have not focused on what unites us all as Americans.” As noble as it sounds, it’s evident that Vivek leans towards right-wing issues in his focus.

In Ramaswamy’s eyes, the “cults of wokism and climatism” are replacing values like “patriotism and faith in God.”  However, he does shy away from addressing right-wing cults, including White Nationalism and a fervent belief in the Great Replacement theory.

During an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet The Press, Ramaswamy was pressed on the white nationalist movement responsible for yet another mass shooting in Jacksonville, Florida. This attack left three African-Americans dead, a hate-motivated act by a shooter who adorned his assault rifle with a swastika. Vivek rightfully condemned the shooting as a “heinous crime” but failed to link it to the broader online movement with global reach. He also engaged in whataboutism, criticizing the media for not giving enough attention to a prior shooting at a Christian school by a transgender attacker.

Comparing the transgender shooter to the broader White nationalist movement is a false equivalency. The trans movement lacks the scale and scope of the White nationalists and is often victimized by such attacks.

While Ramaswamy’s call for reduced emphasis on skin color and background is valid, his failure to address racism on the right may be the biggest obstacle to his candidacy.

An example of the challenges Ramaswamy faces as a brown man of Indian origin is a recent tweet from conservative firebrand Ann Coulter. She commented, ‘Nikki and Vivek are involved in some Hindu business, it seems. Not our fight.’ This tweet referred to Ramaswamy’s exchange with former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley over the Ukraine war.

Insinuating that two born and bred Indian-Americans are involved in something foreign reflects blatant ignorance. Ramaswamy will undoubtedly encounter more hurdles within his own party due to his race. Failing to acknowledge and address this hatred could be one of many reasons why the phrase ‘Republican nominee for president, Vivek Ramaswamy,’ may never be uttered.

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