Election 2020

Mike Gravel Ends His Unorthodox Twitter Campaign for the Presidency

The 89-year-old former senator turned heads with his unique campaign strategy.

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Mike Gravel, the quirky 89-year-old former senator from Alaska, is shuttering his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Gravel served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981, and he ran for president once before, making unsuccessful bids for the Democratic and then the Libertarian nominations in 2008. Although he never appeared on a debate stage this time around, Gravel garnered attention for his eccentric campaign strategy: His operation is spearheaded by two teenagers, and the former senator did not leave his house in pursuit of his White House ambitions.

"No party's gonna carry me other than these kids," he told Reason in June, referring to David Oks and Henry Williams, the two teens at the heart of his campaign. "But I'm gonna have a patio campaign. I'm gonna sit on my patio, and see what happens."

He was ready and willing to make a debate appearance, though. Gravel hit the 65,000-donor threshold for the July matchup, but he did not meet the 1 percent polling requirement. While candidates were only required to hit one mark to qualify, only 20 slots were available, with 21 presidential hopefuls checking off at least one box. The Democratic National Convention prioritizes polling results over donors, making Gravel the one candidate to be excluded.

Gravel told Reason that he wants to see federal marijuana legalization enshrined via constitutional amendment. He also said he wants to eradicate private health insurance in service of a single-payer system. And Gravel—who famously read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record in 1971 and who fiercely criticized the Iraq war during his previous presidential run—positioned himself as a committed foe of the military-industrial complex, calling among other things for ending the drone war, pursuing normal relations with North Korea, closing all military bases abroad, ending all aid to Saudi Arabia, and pulling out of the fights in Yemen and Afghanistan.

Though the former senator is retiring from the race, he—and his online teens—are not letting the sun set on his career. They plan to create the Gravel Institute, a think tank that will write policy papers on "ending the American empire," "reforming our Democracy," and "direct action by elected officials to end injustice and suffering."

"We need to keep up Mike's fight until the wars are over, until no one is too poor to live, until the people's voice is heard," the teens tweeted.

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  1. “We need to keep up Mike’s fight until the wars are over, until no one is too poor to live, until the people’s voice is heard,”
    Sounds like what Jesus’ disciples might have said two thousand years ago. And they are still trying, without much success it appears even with omnipotence on their side.

  2. Never heard of the guy. Sounds like a bit of a nut. If teens like him it means I don’t.

    1. I had but didn’t know he was still alive much less running for President. I don’t think he turned many heads.

    2. He was big way back when he filibustered against (but lost) renewing the draft for two years in 1971 and read the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record thus ensuring that it could no longer be kept secret

      Unlike you, I actually like the idea of teens running a Prez campaign. But they gotta pick a candidate who’s a bit younger than dead – and it ain’t gonna work in the DeRps.

      1. “Unlike you, I actually like the idea of teens running a Prez campaign.”

        Pretty much all we need to know about you.

    3. He is a nut, which explains why he was Elizabeth Nolan Brown’s favorite. Game recognize game.

      1. Anyone that wants to ends America’s perpetual & IMMORAL & ILLEGAL Wars, coups, etc & dismantle our military bases around the world, is NOT A NUT AT ALL!!!

    4. Clearly an old nutcase. How did he ever run as a Libertarian wanting government takeover of healthcare. And a constitutional amendment for marijuana is just plain stupid and will never happen.
      Sad to think he was in office for all those years.

  3. Get off my lawn!!

  4. Never was much to recommend him. Atypical statist, but still knew better than everybody else what was best for them.

    And a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana? Not only is that a statist attitude — all that is not authorized is forbidden –but it flies in the face of alcohol prohibition.

    Reason has mentioned him a few times. I don’t think he deserved even this much coverage.

    1. Comments like this mean so much because they come from cranks who are fanboys of a president that just nominated another drug warrior-in-chief.

      Carry on, clingers.

      1. Excellent analysis, Art. When I voted for Hillary Clinton, I did so with the expectation she would finally end the failed War on Drugs. Anyone arrested for drug offenses in the past 2.5 years should blame Putin for cheating Clinton out of the Presidency.

        #StillWithHer

        1. Did you also think H. Rotten Klingon would end all those other nasty IMMORAL & ILLEGAL wars her & Obummy started in Syria & Libya?…Y’know the wars that killed & maimed & displaced hundreds of thousands of innocent people & destroyed Libya, a stable nation, while ILLEGALLY assassinating their leader, all based upon H. Rotten Klingon’s lies that there was a humanitarian disaster there?…Did you also think she would end the USA’s support for Saudi Arabia’s proxy war with Iran in Yemen that her & Obummy signed off on?…Y’know the war that has brutally & heartlessly executed, thus, severely impacting innocent men, women & children in Yemen creating a monumental humanitarian crisis?

      2. “Comments like this mean so much because they come from cranks who are fanboys of a president that just nominated another drug warrior-in-chief.”

        And comments like this come from bigoted assholes who can’t read.
        Carry on, shitstain.

    2. “Congress shall make no law criminalizing the possession of certain substances” kinda has a nice ring to it. Shouldn’t be necessary, but here we are.
      Gravel isn’t that interesting, but it’s fun to have some old weirdos around in politics.

  5. Not this dipshit guy again.

    Gravel told Reason in June that he wants to see federal marijuana legalization enshrined via constitutional amendment. He also said he wants to eradicate private health insurance in service of a single-payer system.

    Drugs are already legal as they were before the Controlled Substances Act unconstitutionally banned products without that enumerated power in the US Constitution.

    1. As for creating another government healthcare system- fuck this guy with a rusty spoon and die already.

      1. goddamn dude. Its Friday. Save that level of violence for Monday

        1. How is it violence?

          He’s an old piece of shit who will die of old age soon and he likes to get fucked with rusty spoons.

          1. the Jekyll side of you is entertaining.

        2. “goddamn dude. Its Friday. Save that level of violence for Monday”

          So slavers are exempt from criticism because it’s Friday?
          Fuck off, slaver.

  6. Given modern technology it’s possible Gravel died years ago and those enterprising teens were just running a fun prank.

    1. Campaign at Bernie’s.

    2. Given that he thought the ‘legalization’ of anything at all required an amendment, it’s obvious that while he may yet be alive, his mental capabilities were Hihnian.

  7. Your occasional reminder that this “campaign” was basically just elder abuse anyway.

  8. Great idea to campaign from home. 99 percent of the billions raised for election campaigns is wasted. TV ads don’t change peoples’ minds. Consultants just cash the checks. Put out a few solid videos on YouTube, have a good campaign website, and a good resume. Except then the media would ignore you and people would think you’re a long shot.

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