Millennial GOP Presidential Candidate Vivek Ramaswamy Proposes Amendment to Raise Voting Age at Iowa Campaign Rally

URBANDALE, Iowa — Making the case for America-first principles, Ohio entrepreneur and anti-woke crusader Vivek Ramaswamy told a campaign rally in suburban Des Moines Thursday evening that, as president, he would seek a constitutional amendment raising the voting age to 25.

Ramaswamy, the first millennial Republican candidate to seek the White House, has been known to shake things up on the campaign trail. His young citizen service plan is no exception.

The proposed amendment would allow 18- to 24-year-olds to vote under a couple of conditions: That they serve their country in the military or as a first responder for at least six months, or they “pass the same civics test that we make an immigrant pass to actually become a voting citizen this country.” The large crowd of Iowa voters — packed between carpet samples, gas ranges and washers and dryers at Royal Flooring’s Urbandale showroom — erupted in applause at the civics test requirement.

“We are a representative, constitutional republic. That means it comes with civic duties,” Ramaswamy said.

The political outsider drove home his main campaign themes, themes he’s been honing on nonstop campaign trips to first presidential nominating states since he announced his run for the White House in mid-February. Ramaswamy this week is on a five-day, multi-city bus tour through Iowa, his fourth trip to the Hawkeye State since launching his campaign. He’s been just as familiar to New Hampshire and South Carolina voters.

Ramaswamy, a second-generation Indian-American, at times sounds more like an old Baptist revivalist than a candidate for president. He preaches about the soul of America, that the Land of the Free has lost its identity through the left’s identity politics of wokeism and America bashing. He turns words and phrases like “revival” and the “New American Dream.”

In a Republican primary chase dominated by Donald Trump, Ramaswamy did not drop the former president’s name once. But has repeatedly said he wants to push Trump’s America First agenda even farther than Trump did — even beyond politics.

“I’m not talking about Democrats or Republicans anymore. I’m done with that,” he told a campaign rally filled with Dallas County Republicans. “I’m talking about, are you pro-American — Do you believe in the idols that set this nation in motion, and are you willing to make a sacrifice for them? Or are you fundamentally anti-American? Do you wish to apologize for the existence of a nation founded on these ideas.”

By “these ideas’ Ramaswamy means a return to real free speech and the foundations of faith, family, federalism. And, he says, a real commitment to reducing the size and heavy hand of government. He reiterated his call for eliminating the U.S. Department of Education, replacing the FBI, and limiting what calls the “fourth branch of government” — the administrative state. That includes restricting government bureaucrats to eight years in their government jobs, similar to the maximum term of the president. How that might impact the continuity of government, Ramaswamy didn’t say, but his point is that unelected bureaucrats have run America in place of the people Americans have elected.

“I believe in this radical idea that our Founding Fathers had, that the people who we elect to run the government ought to be the ones who actually run the government,” he said to a burst of applause.

Ramaswamy has made a big splash in the opening months of the campaign, grabbing headlines in some of the nation’s largest news outlets and taking his anti-woke crusade into the belly of the beast. Last month, he sparred with CNN show host and Democratic Party apologist Don Lemon about race in America. Lemon, who already was in hot water for disparaging remarks he had made about GOP presidential candidate and former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, took more heat after he seemed to ridicule Ramaswamy’s ethnic heritage. Lemon was soon thereafter a former CNN employee.

He was welcomed to the rally stage by one of the more popular politicians in the country, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. The Republican said Iowans, who will be the first voters in the nation to select the GOP standard bearer, are asking tough questions. They want to make that the Republican candidates passing through Iowa on their quest for the White House “have truly the moral convictions to do the right thing.” Ramaswamy says that’s the kind of campaign he’s running.

Reynolds isn’t endorsing anyone. But she had high praise for Ramaswamy.

“We’re so fortunate tonight to have the opportunity to welcome to the freedom-loving state of Iowa a man who has shaken things up and he’s asking for no one’s permission to do it. And that is Vivek Ramaswamy,” the governor said.

Between his constant sojourns through the nation’s northeast, coastal south and the Heartland, Ramaswamy has seen his poll numbers climb. The 37-year-old candidate has moved into the top 5 among a crowded field of Republican candidates — top four in two recent polls. In those surveys, he’s polling only behind Trump (the frontrunner with a massive lead), Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to announce his presidential campaign this month, and former Vice President Mike Pence.

Sherrie Mandsager of Clive is a Ramaswamy grandmommy. The 76-year-old grandmother of seven showed up at Thursday’s rally in a Vivek t-shirt. She said she’s impressed.

“No. 1, he’s smart, and he has energy,” the former teacher said. “I’m a patriot. I think he is. I want to bring back patriotism and get rid of wokeism.”

While Ramaswamy has been written off by many pundits as a long-shot candidate, Mandsager said the political outsider “can do it.”


“Like this,” she said, pointing to the crowd of enthusiastic Republicans surrounding her. “It’s getting out and talking to the people and then we spread the word.”

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M.D. Kittle is the National Political Editor for The Star News Network.



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