GOP presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy brought attention to the crisis of fatherlessness in America during the first presidential debate, garnering praise from conservatives for highlighting a major problem facing the nation.
“The word 'privilege' gets used a lot,” Mr. Ramaswamy said during the Aug. 23 debate in Milwaukee. “Well, you know what? I did have the ultimate privilege of two parents in the house with a focus on educational achievement, and I want every kid to enjoy that. So, part of the problem is we also have a federal government that pays single women more not to have a man in the house than to have a man in the house, contributing to an epidemic of fatherlessness.”
“And I think that goes hand in glove with the education crisis as well, because we have to remember, education starts with the family, and the nuclear family is the greatest form of governance known to mankind.”
Mr. Ramaswamy’s focus on fatherlessness as a key problem in American society garnered appreciation online. “Good for Vivek for bringing up fatherlessness as a major issue,” Matt Mackowiak, chairman of the Travis County GOP, said in an Aug. 24 post on X.
“Vivek just delivered the best answer by anyone in stage tonight. The nuclear family is the best form of government on earth. It’s the answer to virtually all of our major issues,” T. J. Moe, a contributor to The Blaze media outlet, said in another X post.
According to a May 15 report by the America First Policy Institute (AFPI), there were roughly 18.3 million children in the United States who lived without a father in their homes last year, accounting for around one in four American kids.
Approximately 80 percent of single-parent homes are led by single mothers. The lack of a father or a traditional two-parent home can have serious negative effects on children.
Children from single-parent families were found to be twice as likely to suffer from mental health and behavioral issues compared to those living with married parents, the report noted.
Children with actively engaged fathers were 33 percent less likely to repeat a class and 43 percent more likely to get A grades in school.
Spotlight On Ramaswamy
In Wednesday night's debate, eight candidates fought hard to woo Republican supporters—Mr. Ramaswamy, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Absent from the debate was former President Donald Trump, who is leading all other presidential hopefuls by a wide margin in the polls. He had previously declined to participate in the event and instead released an interview with Tucker Carlson.
In the absence of President Trump, Mr. DeSantis, the No.2 candidate, was expected to be the focus of the debate. However, Mr. Ramaswamy took the spotlight from the Florida governor.
According to a Drudge Report poll on who won the first Republican debate, Mr. Ramaswamy led with 32.22 percent of votes, followed by Ms. Haley with 20.27 percent, Mr. DeSantis with 18.45 percent, and Mr. Christie with 18.14 percent.
During the debate, Mr. Ramaswamy was characterized by multiple candidates as a political novice. Mr. Pence called him a “rookie” while Ms. Haley insisted that the entrepreneur doesn’t have “foreign policy experience and it shows.”
Mr. Christie called Mr. Ramaswamy an “amateur” who sounded like “ChatGPT.”
On the stage, Mr. Ramaswamy cited a set of common ideals for Americans, including that God is real, there are only two genders, fossil fuels are a requirement for human prosperity, reverse racism is racism, capitalism lifts people up from poverty, and parents determine the education of their children.
Education, Trump Nomination, Climate Change
During the debate, Mr. Ramaswamy got loud cheers from the crowd on some of his statements while also drawing loud boos for other comments.
Mr. Ramaswamy batted for shutting down the Education Department and putting the $80 billion worth of funds in the hands of parents. “End the teachers unions at the local level to allow public schools to compete,” he said to the crowd’s applause.
When the candidates were asked whether they would still support President Trump as the GOP’s 2024 presidential candidate if he is convicted, Mr. Ramaswamy raised his hand first in a show of support.
“President Trump, I believe, was the best president of the 21st century. It’s a fact,” he said. Mr. Ramaswamy went on to criticize Mr. Christie for his negative comments against President Trump.
“Your claim that Donald Trump is motivated by vengeance and grievance would be a lot more credible if your entire campaign were not based on vengeance and grievance against one man,” he said to Mr. Christie.
Mr. Ramaswamy called the climate change agenda a “hoax.”
“The reality is, the anti-carbon agenda is the wet blanket on our economy. And so the reality is, more people are dying of bad climate change policies than they are of actual climate change.”