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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Ramaswamy/Robinson?: Historic Meeting Offers Possible Preview of GOP’s Future

'When you are the only person in a room who believes what you do, you have an obligation to say it...'

(Ben Sellers, Headline USA) Two of the GOP’s rising stars had a historic first meeting Saturday at the North Carolina Republican convention.

Speaker Vivek Ramaswamy said it was the first time he and North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, currently the GOP gubernatorial candidate, had become personally acquainted—although he had long been aware of Robinson, who has himself been a keynote speaker at several high-profile national events.

Both men have become particular targets of left-wing wrath due to the perception that their conservative politics are inconsistent with their minority identities, exploding the leftist trope that the GOP represents a party of racism.

“The party is expanding exponentially,” noted Robinson in his brief remarks.

“Despite what the mainstream news media says, this is not just a party of old, rich white guys. This is a party of true inclusion and true freedom in all examples,” he appeared to say over thunderous applause.

Following shortly after Ramaswamy’s introduction by Republican National Committee co-chair Michael Whatley, in which he referred to the businessman and former presidential candidate (whom Trump has hinted might be the Homeland Security secretary in a future administration) as an emissary for the youth vote, there was a palpable sense that the GOP’s post-Trump future was revealing itself.

The 38-year-old entrepreneur said the key to securing the youth vote—and a broader voting base in general—was to offer up a greater sense of purpose.

He pointed to recent Soros-backed violence on college campuses, where activists had been caught mispronouncing the word intifada while protesting Israel’s military strike on Hamas.

“It’s not that young people are against us actually,” he argued. “It’s that they’re lost—hungry for direction.”

Ramaswamy laid out a bold vision that offered his complete support for the Trump agenda and candidacy while also seeming to look even beyond that toward the need to reclaim a sense of national identity that transcended campaign politics.

His speech came two days after former President Donald Trump roiled the Left with a rally in the Bronx that drew thousands, including a large swath of traditionally Democratic black and Hispanic voters.

Self-aware of what he and Robinson represented to Republicans as part of Trump’s bold efforts to expand its demographic and truly embrace the GOP’s “big tent” legacy, Ramaswamy emphasized that the end objective was not simply to win the votes of minorities but to win their hearts and minds by articulating a shared sense of collective identity that stood in stark contrast to the identity politics of the Left.

“Diversity can be a beautiful thing if there is something that unites us across that diversity,” he said.

“But without that—think about it—what are we?” he continued. “A bunch of different looking two-legged higher mammals with a bunch of different shades of melonin, walking some geographic space that we call a country, doing what our iPhones tell us to do on a given day?”

The real purpose for the lives of individuals and families lay in seeing themselves as part of something bigger, as the Trump campaign has succeeded in doing with its “America First” mantra, Ramaswamy argued.

However, “to put America first we’ve got to rediscover what America is,” he added. “That’s the moment we live in, and you know how we’re going to do it—it’s going to be by all of us—not just me, not just Mark Robinson, not just Donald Trump, but all of us starting to speak the truth in the open again.”

Ramaswamy’s call for candor did not happen in a vacuum entirely. The night before his speech at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro, he had been heckled at the Libertarian national convention in Washington, D.C.

Trump, himself, was due to appear at the Libertarian convention that same night, and indeed he too was to be met with a mix of cheers and jeers from the audience—a point that leftist media predictably spun into their own narrative.

Ostensibly, Trump’s purpose was to make his appeal to the party diehards that they should nominate him rather than throwing away their votes on a third-party candidate likely to secure around 3% of the total. He cited a Friday op-ed piece from Deroy Murdock (whose weekly syndicated column runs most Saturdays on Headline USA) making a libertarian case for his candidacy.

Some suggested that going into hostile territory, particularly knowing the reception that Ramaswamy had received, was an ill-advised strategy on Trump’s part.

Yet, others lauded the former president’s daring gambit, noting that beyond the b-roll of booing Chase Oliver supporters, the overarching perception of Trump as a uniter—a president for all of the people—would prevail, and perhaps shave off a few votes from libertarian fence-sitters who were not in the audience.

As Ramaswamy observed, one of the most unhealthy trends in society was the aversion to civil disagreement and debate in favor of censorship and cancel culture.

“There is a culture of fear that has spread across this country like an epidemic—fear of losing your job, fear of your kids getting a bad grade in school, fear of becoming an outcast in your own community—and that culture of fear has totally replaced the culture of free speech in America,” Ramaswamy said.

“If you ask me, ‘What is the best measure of the health of American democracy?’ … It isn’t the number of green pieces of paper in our bank account,” he continued. “It isn’t the number of ballots we cast every November. It is the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public. And right now we’re doing poorly.”

The key to solving America’s identity crisis and securing a better future, he said, was for more people to have the courage and conviction to speak, even at the risk of getting booed by a hostile audience.

“When you are the only person in a room who believes what you do, you have an obligation to say it,” Ramaswamy said.

“Say it with a spine. Say it with conviction. Say it with respect. But part of respect is that you respect your neighbor enough to tell him what you actually think,” he added. “That is what we actually stand for as conservatives, as Americans. We stand for truth, and we do not apologize for it.”

Ben Sellers is the editor of Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/realbensellers.

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