‘2020 primary rock; finally, an 88-year-old presidential candidate that can out-insult Trump on Twitter’, Claud Cockburn, spectator.us (h/t Café Babylon denizen Greyson Smythe)
“Gravel’s announcement was an unorthodox one: he created a Twitter account late last night, alerting everyone to his intentions and linking to his website, which at that point was not live. ‘I am considering running in the 2020 Democratic primary,’ he tweeted. ‘The goal will not be to win, but to bring a critique of American imperialism to the Democratic debate stage. The website (http://mikegravel.org ) is under construction. Official announcement will be in the coming days.’
What can a little-known former senator, who is a decade older than Bernie Sanders, offer to the voters? Cockburn has been closely following Gravel’s Twitter account as he fields questions…and early signs indicate that the answer is ‘fight, and a lot of it.’
What about the front-runners, you ask? ‘i sure do hope the faucets at @JoeBiden’s house are strong, with the amount of Iraqi blood on his hands #Gravel2020 #GravelGang’.
And he’s not afraid to point out pandering hypocrisy either: ‘#KillerKamalaHarris just came around to supporting marijuana legalization, even though she smoked it herself in college. Meanwhile, I’ve served as the CEO of two marijuana companies. #GravelGang #Gravel2020’
While Gravel says he has no chance of winning and simply wants to get to the debates, he also seems eager to borrow some of Andrew Yang’s meme magic. ‘Hmm…#GravelGang. I like the sound of that,’ he tweeted at 1 a.m.
Who’s behind the #Gravelanche? One user asked the senator why his campaign seemed to be headquarterted in Westchester, N.Y. ‘The teenagers who convinced me to run live there,’ he answered. A Politico reporter spoke to Gravel himself on the phone, who said ‘It is a group of students … who have the idea I should run. … They’re working on that, they’re going to be coming out here to California to meet with me.’
From opensecrets.org/news: ‘Hoping to influence the Democratic debates, former Senator Mike Gravel seeks 65,000 donors’, a few outtakes:
“Gravel, an Army veteran, served as senator from Alaska from 1969 to 1981 where he was often described as a maverick. Gravel, a staunch opponent of the Vietnam War and progressive voice on foreign policy, gained national attention for reading the Pentagon Papers into the public record in 1971 as the New York Times Co v. U.S. Supreme Court case was being argued. After losing re-election in 1981, to the father of current Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Gravel became an advocate for direct democracy and recently served as the CEO of a marijuana company.”
“Gravel, who also ran in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary, writes on his campaign site that “we’re not asking for your vote, and we’re not planning on contesting any primaries.” Instead, Gravel wants to reach the 65,000 donor threshold and qualify for the debates to push “a critique of American militarism, plutocracy, and inaction on climate” and “say what establishment candidates won’t.”
“Gravel’s admitted focus on getting enough donors to qualify for the debates and to “expand the Overton window in the Democratic Party, pushing the dialogue leftward” appear to be part of a strategy to attract younger, online-orientated donors. His Twitter page, which started tweeting on March 19, is full of jokes along with pointed liberal criticisms of fellow Democratic primary contenders.”
From his exploratory committee’s ‘Why Mike Gravel’ page:
“Sen. Gravel is willing to leverage the national stage such a moment would give to say what establishment candidates won’t, whether on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the Saudi-led mass murder in Yemen, or the need to immediately end the War on Drugs.
Unlike every time-server and grifter in the Democratic race, Sen. Gravel has done significant things for this country. The son of immigrants, Sen. Gravel served as a first lieutenant in the Army before earning his B.S. in Economics from Columbia University. He moved to Alaska, absolutely broke, and in 12 years was elected to represent it in the U.S. Senate. In the Senate, he gained attention for his steadfast opposition to the war in Vietnam. He filibustered draft legislation during the Vietnam War, attempting to end it; read the Pentagon Papers into the public record, at tremendous risk to himself; urged the normalization of relations with China; and supported the Inuit community. After leaving the Senate in 1981, Sen. Gravel lobbied for direct democracy and against war, also serving as the CEO of a marijuana company.
By no means is Sen. Gravel perfect. He’s made votes he regrets deeply; he’s declared bankruptcy due to the cost of medical procedures; his career in public service has had its share of missteps. The New York Times‘ profile of Sen. Gravel declared him “tenacious, persevering and very stubborn…inclined to extremes and to impulsive actions.” But Sen. Gravel, like the Biblical prophet Jeremiah, cares deeply about this country, deeply enough to criticize its excesses. Sen. Gravel is a true progressive.”
“After getting in the first two debates and issuing the all-important critique of our destructive American empire, Sen. Gravel would leave the race and endorse the frontrunner among progressive Democrats. The Sen. Gravel campaign would be unlike any other: it would truly be of the people and for the people. It would do its utmost to tear the veil off the bloody machinery of the American military-industrial complex. It would bring other candidates to task for their dirty dealings and unethical actions. It would talk about just how broken American politics is, and how we can fix it. That is why you should support a Gravel 2020 campaign.
Mike’s personal website (mikegravel.com) has six entries:
CITIZENS AMENDMENT to the CONSTITUTION of the UNITED STATES
Frontiers 134: Mike Gravel, A Political Paradox
Senator who released Pentagon Papers: Republicans are ‘cowards’ if they don’t release FISA memo
China Builds Bridges and Highways While the U.S. Mouths Slogans
Here’s Mike Gravel on Twitter on which he says that his exploratory site mikegravel.org is under construction, but includes among other things:
“He led the charge in normalizing relations with China and was a leading opponent of the Vietnam War, playing a pivotal role in helping end the draft.
Since leaving the Senate, he has focused on anti-war and pro-political reform advocacy, attracting national attention for his run in 2008. During his campaign, he pre-empted other major politicians in his progressivism: he was an early supporter of abolishing capital punishment, ending the War on Drugs, and legalizing same-sex marriage. Since 2014, he has served as CEO of two companies in the legal cannabis market.
Sen. Gravel is committed to ending America’s imperial policies (especially in Venezuela and Iran), rescheduling cannabis, fundamentally reforming our politics through direct democracy, abolishing mass surveillance on American citizens, prioritizing climate change, dismantling America’s carceral state, and building a foreign policy free of undue influence by Israel and Saudi Arabia.
If he were to run, he would aim not to win, but instead to qualify for the 2020 Democratic debates in order to send a message that no other candidate, not even Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, is willing to issue. Our goal is to push the rest of the Democratic field toward policies, especially on political reform, climate change, and foreign policy, that, for the first time in decades, will truly challenge the American plutocracy and military-industrial complex.”
For any other inquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We need your help! Donate to us here. Aaaaand, the Donate here button goes nowhere (erewhon?). Guess I’ll email them and ask whassup with that? Never mind; Mike said on the Twit Machine that he hopes the glitch will be fixed in two or three days…
@MikeGravel ‘Wow! 25,000 followers in barely a day. Henry and David (we’re running this account) just want to say thanks for the huge outpouring – it’s been a shock. We spoke to the senator last night and he was elated and touched. It almost brought a tear to his eye. Thank you.’
@MikeGravel ‘Neoliberals want to maintain oligarchy with slight tweaks – like more diversity (wow, Northrop has a female CEO) – so that it’s easier to maintain in the long run. A real progressive movement must aim to dismantle oligarchy totally, uproot and destroy it. That’s Citizen Power.’
@MikeGravel “How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle?…How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets?” – Smedley Butler, “War is a Racket”
@MikeGravel “While I respect Bernie, I disagree with him strongly on this. John McCain was a war hawk who sent American youth to fight and die and never met a problem he didn’t think could be solved through invasion or intervention. The real heroes are those who fought for PEACE.”
@MikeGravel “More The idea that this country has a true democracy is absurd. Everyone knows in their heart of hearts that we’re ruled by elites, Wall Street, etc. We need serious, fundamental political reform – real, direct democracy: a Legislature of the People to decide policy.”
@MikeGravel “If you vote for the country to go to war, you should have to serve in the front lines in that war. I served in the U.S. Army, fiercely opposed the Vietnam War, helped end the draft. @JoeBiden never served and still saw fit to send this country’s kids to Iraq”
@MikeGravel “The philosophical underpinning of the neoliberal project is @FukuyamaFrancis‘ thesis that civilization had reached its final stage with modern capitalistic democracy. In effect: rule by the elites. Fukuyama was wrong. The final stage is rule not by the elites but by the PEOPLE.”
@MikeGravel “The neoliberal style in politics means delivering, in a wrapping of lofty words, absolutely nothing. It’s the style that got us into Iraq in 2003, that destroyed our economy in 2008, that failed to effectively challenge Trump in 2016. Above all, It’s the style of @HillaryClinton.”
@MikeGravel “To quote @ImmortalTech: “I’m not controversial, I’m just speakin’ the facts.” You don’t have to agree with everything I say to support the campaign. The goal is to get me in the debates to make a critique of imperialism and our broken political system, not to elect me president”
Gillibrand’s dangerous, reationary ‘war on drugs’:
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)
i thought i might remind any readers of how key and dangerous (but manifestly important) it was for mike gravel to read the pentagon papers daniel ellsberg had provided him, both in type and in his own words. i’ll embed the links later, but i’d just included them in the c99% version. lotta squawkin’ about him over yonder, even knowing that he simply wants to get into the debates to further his own agenda, mainly: anti-imperialism and direct democracy. beats me.
all of which are likely the reasons for this morning tweet: