Who is Mike Gravel?

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Who is Mike Gravel?

Coby Washo, Staff Writer

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The number of Democrats running for president in 2020 is already well into the double digits, and is sure to continue to rise. In the field of candidates, there are the frontrunners like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and possibly Joe Biden if he decides to announce, but perhaps the most interesting candidate is former U.S. Senator Mike Gravel. Senator Gravel served in the U.S. Senate from 1969 to 1981 for the state of Alaska until he was defeated in the Democratic primary for his seat in 1980 (Gravel later conceded that he had alienated “almost every constituency in Alaska”). Gravel also ran for the Democratic Vice Presidential Nomination in 1972, and for President in 2008. Gravel is probably best known however for reading the Pentagon Papers into congressional record, which documented U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, most notably its bombing of Cambodia and Laos, and coastal raids of North Vietnam, neither of which were reported by the press.

In 2008, Gravel garnered some attention for his comments that all of the U.S. soldiers in Vietnam died in vain and for a bizarre announcement video in which Gravel stares silently into the camera for about a minute and throws a rock into a lake. 12 years later, at age 88, Senator Gravel is now running for president again. This time however, he doesn’t want to win or for you to even vote for him. Instead, he simply wants to make it to the debate stage, where he would be expected to talk about issues in a way that no other candidate will. He needs 65,000 individual donations to his campaign in order to do so.

The ultimate goal of his campaign is to push the other candidates further to the left, mostly on foreign policy, as Gravel himself is a staunch critic of U.S. imperialism and intervention. When Senator Gravel inevitably has to drop out of the race, he will then endorse the most progressive candidate in the race (he is personally leaning towards endorsing Bernie Sanders or Representative Tulsi Gabbard).

How Gravel got involved in running for president is in and of itself very interesting as well. Gravel was contacted by 17 year old David Oks, who had recently heard about Gravel from the leftist podcast Chapo Trap House. Oks, who is finishing his senior year of high school, is now Gravel’s campaign manager. So far during his campaign, Gravel and his team have remade the infamous 2008 “rock video” and denied an invitation to Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show,  responding with a statement titled “F#@k Tucker Carlson.” Gravel is about 1/4th of the way to qualifying for the debates with 16,590 individual donations.

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