This exchange between an 18-year-old Vivek Ramaswamy and Democratic Presidential candidate Al Sharpton, captured at an MSNBC town hall in 2004, is like a scene from a Marvel movie depicting a supervillain's origin story.
In the clip, young Ramaswamy, overflowing with the obnoxious self-confidence he exhibited during last week's GOP debate, is shown standing in the audience, speaking into a microphone. With his attention directed at Rev. Al Sharpton, sitting on a stage, he asks, "Of all the Democratic candidates out there, why should I vote for the one with the least political experience?"
Without missing a beat, Sharpton says, "Well, you shouldn't, because I have the most political experience." Sharpton's comeback earns raucous laughter and applause from the audience. When the camera returns to Ramaswamy, we see his face contorted into a fixed grimace of repressed anger and humiliation.
Ramaswamy was only pretending that he was going to vote that year. He's voted twice in his life, once in 2008, and again in 2012. Now he is running as the GOP candidate with the least political experience. After he loses the primary in 2024, will he vote for Trump, or sit it out, as usual?
Vivek Ramaswamy: "Reverend Sharpton. Hello, I'm Vivek. And I want to ask you, last week on the show we had Senator Kerry. And the week before we had Senator Edwards. And my question for you is, of all the Democratic candidates out there, why should I vote for the one with the least political experience?"
"Well, you shouldn't because I have the most political experience. (raucous laughter and applause from audience). I got involved in the political movement when I was 12 years old. And I've been involved in social policy for the last 30 years. So don't confuse people that have a job with political experience. Whoever the head of some local bureaucracy has a job in Cambridge, that doesn't mean that they have political experience. And it doesn't mean they have the experience to run the United States government. So I think that we confuse title holders with political experience, as we have have seen with the present occupant in the White House. George Bush was a governor and clearly has shown he doesn't have political experience (laughter)."