Vivek Ramaswamy On His Hindu Faith: Can He Win A Christian Audience?

What’s happening: Republican presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy’s Hindu faith would make him a historic choice for president or vice president. Some mainstream media outlets have questioned whether Republican voters will support a non-Christian voice at the helm. But his rise isn’t as out-of-left-field as it seems.

Vivek’s angle: The tech entrepreneur has made the case in early primary states and around the country that his religious views make him uniquely able to understand the importance of religious liberty and organized religion. “I’m a person of faith. Evangelical Christians across the state [Iowa] are also people of faith,” he told NBC. Ramaswamy attended a Catholic school as a child and often speaks of important “Judeo-Christian values” underpinning his beliefs.

Why it matters: The strong standing of a practicing Hindu — he’s even a vegetarian — in the polls, let alone his nomination, could signal a shift in leadership for a largely white, Christian Republican Party. Ramaswamy’s rise represents a threat to a Democratic strategy of criticizing conservatives as a homogenous group and defending the left as the party for “people of color” and non-Christians.

  • But remember: Republicans have traditionally been willing to add unconventional candidates to the ballot who share their views: the first female vice presidential candidate to the ticket with Sarah Palin in 2008; the nomination of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in 2012; and the election of Donald Trump in 2016, who didn’t exactly share the lifestyle of Christian voters but championed their ideas.

Zoom out: Republican ideas are increasingly popular among other faiths that share conservative values. For example, a series of local Muslim communities from Maryland to Michigan have risen against LGBT themes in classrooms. Muslims now increasingly align with conservatives in their principles against the promotion of transgenderism and homosexuality to children.

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