If there is one candidate that Ron DeSantis should really focus on, it is not Donald Trump but Vivek Ramaswamy. Indeed, according to a recent poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris, Vivek Ramaswamy is tied with Ron DeSantis for second place in the Republican presidential primary, behind only Donald Trump.
Ramaswamy and DeSantis both received 12% while Trump received 48% of the vote, according to Kaplan Strategies. Ramaswamy’s early rise represents the most significant movement in the still nascent race for the GOP presidential nomination, according to Politico.
Source: Kaplan Strategies
It is undeniable that Ramaswamy has come out of nowhere to become a surprisingly interesting candidate for the GOP electorate. Now, he is rising in several polls—putting him neck-and-neck with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as runner-up in the Republican primaries. Ramaswamy told the New York Post: “To be honest, I am pleased but not that surprised. We’re seeing a broader activation of momentum.”
If Ramaswamy is not surprised by his meteoric rise in the polls, the meteoric decline of DeSantis is also not surprising. In fact, it was a matter of time before Ramaswamy catches up to DeSantis. DeSantis has made some strategic mistakes that are costing him the primaries right now. As was explained in a previous article, DeSantis is not feeding the Republican voters what they want.
Ramaswamy’s strength comes almost entirely from polls conducted over the internet, according to politico analysis. Indeed, in internet surveys over the past month—the vast majority of which are conducted among panels of people who sign up ahead of time to complete polls, often for financial incentives—Ramaswamy earns an average of 7.8%, a clear third behind Trump and DeSantis.
It is interesting to notice that unlike other candidates who have invested significant financial resources to gain traction—like Scott and Doug Burgum—Ramaswamy has done it almost entirely on the back of the earned media, according to Politico. According to AdImpact, Ramaswamy, who is mostly self-funding his campaign, has spent $1.8 million on TV and digital advertising, far less than the other contenders, some of whom have already cracked $20 million on ads when combined with supportive super PACs.
Ramaswamy is very similar to Donald Trump in some ways. Besides the fact that he is an American of Indian descent, he is extremely wealthy like Donald Trump, and both candidates never held political office prior to running for president. The self-made millionaire persona remains an appealing factor in the Republican base because it epitomizes individual achievement and self-reliance, unlike DeSantis who built his entire professional career in politics.
His anti-woke positions as a minority make him a special case. Moreover, where Vivek tries to truly differentiate himself from Trump is to show that he is the epitome of the American Dream, a man born from a minority group who has climbed the upper echelons of the American social order.
Madison Kirshner, a voter from Pittsburgh who is backing Trump, said at the conservative group Turning Point Action’s conference in late July, said: “I think that Vivek has a really good shot—he is an underdog, but he is highly intelligent. I like listening to him speak. I think that he has a very good shot and would be in a great position for Trump’s VP.”
It is obvious that Vivek has a clear chance to make a significant impact in this Republican primaries. The first Republican debate will be the opportunity for him to perhaps outpace DeSantis and cement himself as the clear runner-up of these GOP primaries.