Glenn Greenwald: Debate Debrief with Vivek Ramaswamy

Glenn Greenwald


Aug 25, 2023 at 7:17pm
Debate Debrief with Vivek Ramaswamy
Video Transcript

Vivek Ramaswamy

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Glenn Greenwald: So first of all, thank you for joining us. We know you’re deluged after your performance last night and we appreciate your taking the time to talk to us. I want to delve a little bit into some of the topics that got raised, but not very in-depth, which is the nature of the format. First of all, the pundit expectation, the consensus was that everything was going to focus on Governor DeSantis. Everyone was going to go on stage and talk to DeSantis, given his status, apparently, as the obvious alternative to Donald Trump. That most definitely did not happen. He was essentially ignored. Instead, the focus of the attacks almost entirely was on you. I know the obvious answer is it’s because ‘I’m rising in the poll,’ ‘I’m considered a threat’ but beyond that, was there something else going on that caused there to be so much hostility and focus on you from the other candidates?


Glenn Greenwald: Right. So that’s the pundit analysis, the kind of horse race analysis to see the validity to that as well. Let me share with you my hypothesis and see whether or not you agree which is there were some very sharp ideological divisions on that stage, typically involving you on the one side and all of these other candidates on the other, because all of these other candidates have a long history in the Republican Party, predating Donald Trump, going back to George Bush, the kind of Reagan economics, Bush-Cheney foreign policy against which Donald Trump successfully ran. You were the only candidate essentially espousing this kind of new form of Republicanism. I sense there was a lot of hostility for real from these other candidates. Maybe it’s in part because of resentment that you haven’t been around for very long, and they have, but I’m wondering whether it’s actually ideological in the sense that they want to wrench the Republican Party back from the new kind of “America first” populist ideology that the Republican voters are now simply insisting on.   

Vivek Ramaswamy: Yeah, I mean, I call the ideology absolutely “America first” nationalist ideology, and this is going to be good for our party because it is a deep ideological division within the Republican Party and it’s not even limited to the Republican Party. Like, Glenn, I mean, I’m coming in from the outside. I rarely talk about Republicans and Democrats.  

Glenn Greenwald: Because you haven’t been a Republican all that long, as you’ve talked.  

Vivek Ramaswamy: About. Yeah, I voted Libertarian in the first election I ever voted in. I find partisan distinctions rather boring because I don’t think they capture the essence of real social, political, and cultural divides in this country and even across much of the modern West. I think the real divide is between the managerial class and the citizen, between those who are skeptical of the citizenry to determine and self-determine how they sort out questions from climate change to racial injustice. There’s one worldview that says the people can’t quite be trusted. It has to be a small group of elites, really, in the back of palace halls, that was done for most of old world European history and then the 1776 version of this, the post-1776, the American version said, No, we the People, sought out those differences through free speech and open debate in the public square where every citizen’s voice and vote counts equally in a constitutional republic. That’s a fundamentally different view. So historically, the Republican and Democratic Party, and the establishment wing of both, which is to say the dominant wing, at least as it relates to funding and most candidates who are propped up by it, are debating within the confines of the first view. We have one set of people that say, “Oh, well, we need higher taxes” and one people say, “We have lower taxes,” but we both agree that the people can’t actually be trusted with the most important questions. My view is that the real thing we need to fight for today is the 1776 ideals, the rules of the road in the first place, it’s whatever the answer is, we the People get to determine it – not a federal administrative police state, not an ESG movement of a woke industrial cartel, but in the public and private sector, not multinational international institutions that impose that will on the sovereignty of sovereign nations. No, we the People, the citizens of nations, in the United States of America, the citizens of this nation determine that through our constitutional republic. And so that’s what surfaced itself last night on the debate stage of the Republican Party but that even is too small of a description for what’s really going on which is far deeper. And there’s a version of this that at least should exist and I think does exist within the Democrat Party as well. That’s not as much my concern right now but this is deep. It’s deep.

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