During his time in the presidential race, Mike Gravel ran on a fringe platform that was anti-war and vocal in its distaste for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former Vice President Joe Biden. His campaign wasn’t aiming to win the nomination but instead wanted to take Gravel to the debate stage to push his political views, which he felt weren’t getting enough attention in mainstream politics.
Although the former Alaskan Senator didn’t make the debate stage and is no longer in the 2020 Democratic presidential race, he still hasn’t given up on politics and isn’t shy about his distaste for the DNC. In a recent tweet Gravel addressed a comment by DNC Chair Tom Perez on Donald Trump, in which he likened him to a hurricane.
“This is ‘Hurricane Donald,’ and it’s a category 5 storm, and in the eye of the storm is our democracy,” Perez is quoted as saying by Washington Post reporter Jeff Stein.
Gravel didn’t hesitate to express his thoughts on Perez’s comment.
“This is the guy the Democrats put in charge of defeating Donald Trump,” he tweeted. “We’re f***ed.”
In addition to Biden, Gravel has been critical of other Democratic candidates, including Pete Buttigieg.
“The appeal of Buttigieg and other centrists: a slightly kinder face on the same policies that have been condoning Israeli aggression and apartheid for decades,” he tweeted.
The 89-year-old also attended the first round of Democratic debates and called Beto O’Rourke a “shill” to the delight of his fans.
We called Beto a shill pic.twitter.com/1LULYPprti
— Mike Gravel (@MikeGravel) June 27, 2019
Per ABC News, Gravel’s campaign was run by teens David Oks and Henry Williams. Although Gravel had no intention of running for president, the pair of teens convinced him to take a stand and push his political views on a larger platform.
“These kids came to me and asked me if I would run, and I told them, ‘Now, do you have any idea how old I am?’ And they said, ‘Well, that doesn’t matter. What we’re interested in is exposing the issues.'”
Great article on Mike Gravel's campaign from a local news outlet (he now lives in Seaside, CA). It was great to get to talk to him at length today. He's still very sharp at 89. (Podcast coming tomorrow) https://t.co/g6hFN6VUhv
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) May 15, 2019
Jacobin Magazine reports that it was the teens’ support of the creation and operation of a Legislature of the People — an important issue for Gravel — that ultimately made him go along with their plan.
Gravel’s campaign might be over, but he isn’t done with politics. He is working with Oks and Williams to transition his movement into the progressive think tank, the Gravel Institute. He has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president and Tulsi Gabbard for vice president.