Entrepreneur and anti-‘Woke’ warrior Vivek Ramaswamy mixed detailed policy proposals with provocative political symbolism during a town hall Tuesday night at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. And based on the reaction of the near-capacity crowd, it was a formula that worked well.

Ramaswamy was introduced by longtime Republican activist Kevin Smith, who mounted an unsuccessful campaign in last year’s U.S. Senate primary.

“This guy is the real deal,” Smith said. “He’s genuine. He’s authentic; he speaks from the heart. He believes in what he’s saying and can speak to the issues thoroughly in a way that connects with the average voter.”

Ramaswamy did his best to prove Smith right when he took to the stage with flowcharts for his proposed federal government reforms, accompanied by the music from country singer Jason Aldean’s “Try That In a Small Town,” a song described as racist by progressives and banned from the CMT cable channel.

The audience waits for Vivek Ramaswamy to take the stage for a town hall event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on July 20, 2023.

“You may have noticed the song, we’ll be playing at our campaign rallies going forward. And I’ll tell you why,” Ramaswamy said. “You want the best measure of America’s health? It is the percentage of people who feel free to say what they actually think in public. Right now, we live in a time where there’s a big difference between what people will say in private and what they’ll say in public. We’ve got to close that gap.”

Ramaswamy, 37, frequently mentioned his comparative youth within the GOP field. He repeatedly portrayed his youth as an advantage in getting a conservative platform pushed through Washington — Trump policies, but with the vigor and energy to enact them — while also arguing he could connect with younger voters the GOP needs.

“Speaking to you as a member of my generation, we are hungry for a cause. We are starved for purpose, meaning, and identity, at a time in our national history with the things that used to fill our void — faith, patriotism, hard work, family — these things have disappeared.”

“And as odd as this might sound, I think that actually presents us with an opportunity in our movement,” Ramaswamy added. “This is our moment as conservatives to level up to say that we’re now done running from something. This is our moment to start running to something, to our vision of what it means to be an American.”

On policy, Ramaswamy explained his plans to shut down the FBI, the federal Department of Education, and the obscure Nuclear Regulator Commission (NRC). The latter, he claimed, was responsible for keeping America from developing a modern nuclear power industry. Blocking the world’s most reliable source of clean energy puts progressives at odds with their own green agenda, Ramaswamy argued.

“China is leading the way on [nuclear power]. The culture of the NRC is hostile to nuclear power in the U.S. So I will shut it down and move its duties to other agencies.”

The candidate took questions from the crowd, which ranged from economic concerns to confronting the power of teachers unions to his plans to “drain the swamp” and the possibility of the World Health Organization taking over future pandemic responses in the U.S.

“I think it’s a bad thing,” Ramaswamy said in response to the WHO idea. “Just like we will defund the three-letter agencies domestically, we will defund the three-letter and two-letter agencies abroad. We are a sovereign nation, and we will protect our sovereignty.”

Ramaswamy closed with a pitch to GOP primary voters: “This is the choice we have in this primary: Do we want reform? Or do we want revolution? I stand on the side of revolution,” Ramaswamy said.

He received a standing ovation.

“He’s just so brilliant,” said Carla Orfice, who drove up from Woburn, Mass., to see Ramaswamy. “He doesn’t just talk; he has a plan.”

Debbie Hart of Hopkinton, N.H., said the message was “very inspiring, very ambitious, and much needed.” She particularly backed the call to shut down the Department of Education. “We definitely need that.”

Her husband John called Ramaswamy “young and smart, he talks well — and he doesn’t need a teleprompter to tell you what he thinks.”

Ramaswamy is polling in fourth place (5 percent) in the Real Clear Average of national polls. In the UNH Survey Center poll this week, he was also at 5 percent, which tied him for sixth place with former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.