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Vivek Ramaswamy Shakes Up Politics
The Republican presidential candidate, Vivek Ramaswamy, has agreed to debate with Santa Clara representative Ro Khanna, continuing the trend of GOP candidates engaging in debates with Democratic politicians who are not currently running for the White House but are widely believed to be considering a 2028 bid.
California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida Governor DeSantis are set to debate in Georgia on November 30, with commentary provided by Fox News commentator Sean Hannity. Newsom has repeatedly denied plans to run for the presidency in 2024, but there is speculation that he might consider it in 2028.
The understanding between Khanna, a millionaire entrepreneur, and Vivek Ramaswamy was reached on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter when Vivek Ramaswamy criticized the Republican National Committee for attempting to halt the “open debate” between him and fellow candidate Chris Christie in the September 27th debate.
Subsequently, X owner Elon Musk suggested live streaming the two debates on his platform. Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis began his campaign with a livestream alongside Musk in May.
Vivek Ramaswamy stated on October 4th that he and Christie would not be able to proceed due to NRSC regulations but that they would “make it happen with a smart Democrat who is willing.”
Khanna embraced Vivek Ramaswamy’s proposal on Wednesday, tweeting, “The University of Chicago Institute of Politics wants us both to have a civil dialogue about race, identity, and the American dream as American citizens. I accept. As a champion of free speech, are you in @VivekGRamaswamy?”
Ramaswamy mentioned that the initial debate was supposed to be between him and Independent presidential candidate Cornell West, but West withdrew his name. He agreed to the discussion with Khanna, whom he referred to as “a substantive person, with whom I disagree on several issues” and said they would be ready to “do so on any platform” on “any terms.”
Debating non-candidates for the presidency is highly unusual for presidential contenders. Khanna is not running for the presidency in 2024, but it is believed that he may consider a run in 2028. Earlier this year, Khanna announced that he would not seek the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Senator Dianne Feinstein in September.
The Khanna-Ramaswamy debate will be unique due to their identities as Indian-American Americans and may highlight the evolving landscape of Indian-American political perspectives.
Former President Donald Trump, the Republican frontrunner, has so far declined to participate in any 2024 campaign debates.
Support for Ramaswamy doubled in the polls by the end of June, although he still lags behind Trump at 58% to Trump’s 33% of the vote. DeSantis holds 12.5%.
Khanna’s spokesperson told the Chronicle that there are no concrete plans for the debate.
Though they represent a liberal district in Congress, Khanna often engages with Republicans and critics on X and frequently appears as a guest on Fox News. He sees the debate as an opportunity to challenge Ramaswamy on issues such as climate, income inequality, and building an economy for all. “…A healthy democracy relies on open political dialogue.”