Sort of like a scene out of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” in which two young salesmen pretend their dead boss is alive by putting sunglasses on him and throwing his arms around their shoulders, the unconventional and long-shot 2020 campaign of former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel is almost completely powered by a couple of anti-war New York teenagers who want Gravel to speak on the debate stage.
The 89-year-old was convinced to run by two 18-year-olds seeking to push foreign policy debate to the left. And they soon took control of his Twitter account and began to post brutal assaults on the other Democratic candidates.
Gravel, who unsuccessfully ran for president as a Democrat in 2008, did not make the cut for the first Democratic Debates on Wednesday and Thursday, but he is aiming to debate in July. His campaign needed to reach at least 65,000 donors.
His campaign website calls for 50% cuts on military spending, a social wealth fund and a publicly run and financed healthcare system. He also has called for abolishing the Senate and the Electoral College, the decriminalization and regulation of all drugs and opening U.S. borders to immigrants. He supports the Green New Deal and the elimination of single-use plastics.
He has said he does not intend to pursue the presidency beyond the debate stage. His campaign managers, 18-year-old Henry Williams and David Oks, maintain that Gravel is a political vessel for their policy opinions.
Gravel, who represented Alaska for more than a decade in the 1970s and 1980s, recreated a famous campaign ad from his 2008 run this year. Titled “Rock 2.0,” the YouTube video shows Gravel staring at a camera unflinchingly while news clips of his Democratic rivals play. He then stands up and throws a large rock into a river.
About Mike Gravel
▪ Current or most recent position: Former Alaska senator (1969-1981)
▪ Occupation: Real estate
▪ Education: Assumption College and Columbia University
▪ Age: 89
▪ Residence: California
▪ Family: Wife Whitney Gravel, children: Lynne Mosier and Martin Gravel
▪ Campaign website: https://www.mikegravel.org/issues/
▪ Small donors: N/A
▪ Big donors: N/A
▪ Quoteable: Gravel has speculated that the 9/11 terror attacks may have been an “inside job.”
▪ On the issues: Gravel 2020 platform