Election 2024

Vivek Ramaswamy: Why He's Running for President—and Against 'Woke Capitalism'

The Capitalist Punishment author explains his America First 2.0 agenda, how to fix America's identity crisis, and why he no longer calls himself a libertarian.


Today's guest is Vivek Ramaswamy, an Ohio-based biotech entrepreneur and best-selling author who is running for the Republican presidential nomination. His America First 2.0 platform combines some libertarian elements (prioritizing economic growth, opposing central bank digital currencies, shutting down whole federal agencies) with others that are anything but ("using our military to annihilate Mexican drug cartels").

He tells Zach Weissmueller and me why Donald Trump has accomplished as much as he ever will as president and why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis—who, like Ramaswamy, opposes woke corporate activities—is simply "responding to what the base wants, jumping like a circus monkey without actually having independent thoughts about what our actual principles ought to be." He discusses why he thinks Julian Assange should be pardoned and why the FBI, IRS, and other federal agencies should be shuttered. And he explains why he no longer calls himself a libertarian.

We also discuss his new book, Capitalist Punishment: How Wall Street Is Using Your Money to Create a Country You Didn't Vote For, a critical analysis of ESG rules and what he calls "lurking state actions" that he says are driving corporations to develop policies to ward off government interference.

This is a podcast version of Reason's weekly livestream, which takes place every Thursday at 1 p.m. Eastern.