In a move to rekindle patriotism among younger Americans, entrepreneur and 2024 Republican presidential primary candidate Vivek Ramaswamy announced a commitment of $250,000 towards a scholarship fund. Amidst dwindling civic pride, sagging military recruitment, and fewer declarations of American pride, this initiative comes at a critical juncture.
In honor of our son's 1st birthday today, Apoorva & I are committing $250,000 to fund a new scholarship to foster national pride among young Americans. Only 16% of Gen Z says they're proud to be American. 60% of teens on TikTok would rather give up their right to vote than their… pic.twitter.com/HHtG5tvPp3
— Vivek Ramaswamy (@VivekGRamaswamy) July 5, 2023
Ramaswamy, who recently secured third place in a presidential poll, unveiled the scholarship on Twitter, expressing concern over the declining patriotic sentiment among the nation’s youth. “Only 16% of Gen Z says they’re proud to be American. Our military suffered a 25% recruitment deficit last year,” he revealed. He further cited that “60% of teens on TikTok would rather relinquish their right to vote than lose their social media account.”
The scholarship will offer $25,000 to ten high school students, who will be chosen based on a two-minute video they submit elucidating their understanding of American identity. A panel of judges will assess these submissions, with the funds intended for postsecondary education, business ventures, or pursuits in law enforcement or the military.
Incubate Debate, a non-profit that advocates for free speech and promotes respectful student debates, will oversee the scholarship program’s administration. Ramaswamy justified this private initiative stating, “Actions speak louder than words & I believe in putting our money where our mouth is.”
The erosion of patriotism is especially prevalent among the younger generations, with marked divergence along partisan lines. Recent Gallup statistics show that only 42% of Republicans and a mere 12% of Democrats, both aged between 18-34, profess extreme pride in their country.
As co-founder of Strive Asset Management, Ramaswamy has seen a surge in support, garnering 10% backing from registered likely Republican voters according to Echelon Insights, securing a third position behind former President Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. However, Real Clear Politics averages paint a different picture, showing him tied with ex-New Jersey Governor Chris Christie at 2.4%, lagging behind other key Republican figures.
Ramaswamy is leveraging his 2024 campaign to resuscitate a national American identity, asserting that “a strong sense of shared values and purpose is essential for progress.”