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Is GOP Prez contender Vivek Ramaswamy out of steam? Done? Over?

There are reports that his campaign staff are already looking around for jobs in anticipation of his exit from the fray.

Is GOP Prez contender Vivek Ramaswamy out of steam? Done? Over?

Vivek Ramaswamy (IANS)

WASHINGTON: Indian American entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy’s presidential campaign may be drawing to a close after bringing national and international attention to this -- as he has said about himself -- "a skinny guy with a funny last name".

Ramaswamy failed to qualify for the Republican primary debate that takes place on Wednesday, just five days ahead of the Iowa caucuses that will kick off the Republican presidential primaries.

He stopped TV advertising some weeks before and is also skipping the primaries in Illinois, where his name is not among the candidates, who include all the other Republicans in the fray: former President Donald Trump, former Governor Nikki Haley, Governor Ron DeSantis, and former Governor Chris Christie.

There are reports that his campaign staff are already looking around for jobs in anticipation of his exit from the fray.

The 38-year-old from Ohio is at Number 4 in polls for the Republican presidential nomination, behind Trump, who is the front-runner by miles, DeSantis and Haley, but ahead of Christie.

And that is a remarkable achievement for a newcomer to politics.

But unlike another outsider to politics, Trump, who won the nomination in 2016, Ramaswamy doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to his goal.

Although he is averaging 4.4 per cent in RealClearPolitics’ aggregated average of national polls, he is also fourth in Iowa and a distant sixth in New Hampshire, the second state in the Republican primaries.

Born to immigrant parents from India, Ramaswamy made millions as a pharmaceutical entrepreneur and wrote a book slamming woke to test the waters for a plunge into politics. After jumping into the race, he sought to project himself as a candidate in mould of former President Trump.

"I’m more similar to Trump in 2015 than Trump today is to Trump in 2015," Ramaswamy said in an interview with British actor and podcast host Russell Brand. He had toed the former President’s line on most of his policies, which led to speculation that he was actually positioning himself for Trump’s running mate, which he strenuously denied.

The fast-talking Ramaswamy became a fixture on news channels, debating and arguing with hosts across the political spectrum. But he soon had more time on conservative and right-wing media channels, not out of choice probably but by compulsion because of his extreme right-wing views.

But his numbers were climbing and soon US media was brimming with who-is-Ramaswamy profiles.

Huge Gurdon, editor-in-chief of conservative publication Washington Examiner, wrote that every presidential election throws up an "interesting candidate" who is "evidently intelligent, highly unconventional, and less like any of the others than they are like each other".

And Ramaswamy had become the "interesting candidate" of the 2024 election cycle.

He went on to write that Ramaswamy is now longer that interesting candidate as he had become the "most tedious and superfluous candidate of all".

Ramaswamy was clearly the star of the first Republican debate as he forced himself into most of the conversation, which included sharp jabs from Christie, who said he sounded like the AI app ChatGPT and zinged him for pinching the "skinny guy with an odd last name" line from President Barack Obama, who had called himself a "skinny kid with a funny last name" in a speech in 2004.

Haley told Ramaswamy: "You have no foreign policy experience and it shows."

She went to call him "scum" in a subsequent debate for bringing up her daughter’s use of TikTok, which Haley wanted banned.

But the more people got to know Ramaswamy the less they grew to like him.

Gurdon summed up Ramaswamy’s situation cuttingly in the same piece as cited above: "His campaign is now exposed as a vanity project, and every day he hangs around like a bad smell stinking up the primary the more he helps diffuse Republican support for someone else who could win and go on to beat Biden in November next year."

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