Who needs Trump? Vivek Ramaswamy was a fine stand-in at the Republican debate.

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If the first Republican presidential primary debate showed us anything, it’s that 2024 is going to be a long, long campaign.

Especially if Vivek Ramaswamy sticks around.

The 38-year-old tech entrepreneur spent the evening interrupting, ridiculing and shouting over the more seasoned candidates, at least when he wasn’t demanding more time from the moderators.

He wrapped his performance in an over-caffeinated swagger and supercilious tone that clearly got on his competitors’ nerves.

If Wednesday night’s debate were a TV show, it would be called “Everybody Hates Vivek.”

Ramaswamy, Haley stand out at debate: Debate offers refreshing alternative. Without Trump, Republicans focus on serious issues

Ramaswamy was the most grating candidate

This is the first time most voters have been exposed to Ramaswamy and likely found him as grating as his fellow candidates did. It was hard to tell if he wanted my vote or was trying to sell me a ’96 Buick.

Opening with a flurry of canned lines, he complained “everyone else has these canned lines.” Former Vice President Mike Pence quipped, “Is that one of yours?”

Republican presidential candidates (L-R), former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Vivek Ramaswamy, and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley are introduced during the first debate of the GOP primary season hosted by FOX News at the Fiserv Forum on Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The 8 presidential hopefuls squared off in the first Republican debate as former U.S. President Donald Trump, currently facing indictments in four locations, declined to participate in the event.

Later, Ramaswamy insisted he was “the only person on the stage who isn’t bought and paid for.”

“No, hold on, hold on. Enough,” Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie responded. “I’ve had enough already tonight of a guy who sounds like ChatGPT.”

It only took 15 minutes before everyone was dumping on the tech bro.

Introducing himself, Ramaswamy asked, "Who the heck is this skinny guy with a funny last name? What the heck is he doing in the middle of this debate stage?" Christie noted that line was plagiarized from Barack Obama.

“I’m afraid we’re dealing with the same type of amateur tendencies tonight,” Christie added.

Biotech billionaire has no business running for president

It’s no wonder Ramaswamy focused on his competition instead of himself. He has no business running for the White House.

He has said that he voted for a libertarian presidential candidate in 2004 and then didn’t vote in a presidential election again until 2020.

Of course he chose Donald Trump, a man he has spent most of his campaign defending, though not outright endorsing. At least not yet.

Who won debate? Not DeSantis: Ron DeSantis needed to be someone else at the Republican debate. Sadly, he was himself.

In his campaign, Ramaswamy called race-based admissions “a cancer on our national soul,” yet he accepted a Soros Fellowship for children of immigrants to help pay for Yale Law School.

He’s so embarrassed by this fact, he reportedly paid to have the fellowship scrubbed from his Wikipedia page.

After graduation, the candidate made his biotech fortune, investing in a business founded by his friend Martin Shkreli. Before long, Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud.

Ramaswamy’s weakest answer on Wednesday night was during the foreign policy segment, where he insisted the United States abandon Ukraine.

The normally mild-mannered Nikki Haley, former ambassador to the United Nations, took him to the woodshed.

The crowd cheered the tongue-lashing, which she finished with, “You have no foreign policy experience, and it shows.”

Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speak during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speak during a Republican presidential primary debate hosted by FOX News Channel Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2023, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Vivek as VP? Is Ramaswamy looking for a Trump appointment?

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary of Vivek’s fizzle was Ron DeSantis, who’s running neck-and-neck with the neophyte. The governor let the others pile on, while he stuck to his record in Florida and what he would do in the Oval Office.

Ramaswamy is this primary’s Democratic Pete Buttigieg, if the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, downed a case of Red Bulls before stepping on the debate stage.

Both are TED Talks in human form: smarmy apple polishers who only got good grades by studying to the test.

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It’s likely Ramaswamy will end his campaign the same way, stepping aside for the eventual winner. No one knows this better than Vivek himself, who has spent the primary praising Trump more than Trump does.

If somehow, against the odds and the law courts, the former president is sent back to the White House, the young upstart will be richly rewarded.

Hopefully, he’ll enjoy the next four years as secretary of Transportation.

Jon Gabriel, a Mesa resident, is editor-in-chief of Ricochet.com and a contributor to The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, where this column first ran. Find him on X, formerly Twitter: @exjon.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Ramaswamy's debate performance proves he shouldn't be running