Former Alaska senator launches meme-filled 2020 primary campaign

Meet Mike Gravel.

Mar 20, 2019, 1:06 pm*

Tech

David Covucci 

David Covucci

what is the gravel gang mike gravel

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC-BY-SA)

You can be forgiven for not knowing who Mike Gravel is, even though he spent all last night earning the affection of left-leaning Twitter. Gravel is the former Democratic senator from Alaska who garnered a tenth of a percent in the New Hampshire presidential primaries in 2008 before bowing out and ran on an anti-imperialist platform.

And yet, #GravelGang is suddenly a thing online.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108212291600814091

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108231782900604930

Mike Gravel, it appears, is back. A populist progressive, Gavel has lobbied for direct democracy, universal healthcare, and withdrawal from entanglements abroad. He may have minimal name recognition, but he blew up Twitter by announcing he was running for the Democratic nomination, attacking just about every 2020 candidate for their inadequate stances on policies he’s held for a long time.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108218402223607808

And his tweets are gaining popularity. Gravel went after Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) for Booker’s performance in the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, highlighting his own activism on the Senate floor.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108226341005086720

And he attacked Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for her support of the death penalty. Gravel’s also not terrible at pushing his ideas memetically, especially given that he’s 88.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108234681856786432

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108240874469773312

He also flagged former Vice President Joe Biden’s support of the Iraq War.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108291419159085062

And he worked in a solid dig at Amy Klobuchar.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108342021528391680

There was even an explicit call for the jailing of Henry Kissinger, Dick Cheney, and Elliot Abrams, a popular plank in progressive circles (even if it’ll never happen). Gravel wants to take on the surveillance state and reverse the expansion of the imperial presidency, which became an accepted norm well before Trump.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108246308203257857

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108293516520759296

The former senator isn’t in it to win it, per se, but to make sure anti-interventionist ideals get the airtime they deserve.

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108232013742596096

https://twitter.com/MikeGravel/status/1108241768993222656

Not being in it to win it isn’t a problem in 2020, anyway.

READ MORE:

Thanks to changes to the primary process, the DNC greatly lowered the thresholds for the debate stage, meaning that someone like Gravel could end up challenging candidates on air. All he needs is 65,000 people to donate to his campaign.

And if the past year has been any indication, even a small group of people stridently supporting a position can have a huge impact on the platforms of other candidates.

UPDATE 1:03pm CT, March 20: According to a Politico reporter, the campaign is the brainchild of a couple of shitposting teens.

Splinter spoke with David Oks, who said he was inspired after Gravel’s was mentioned on an episode of Chapo Trap House.

“My friends and I were encouraging him to consider running for president with the idea being that he would not try to contest any primaries, he would just try to get into the Democratic debates.”

Share this article
*First Published: Mar 20, 2019, 10:17 am