Mike Gravel drops out of 2020 race and endorses Bernie Sanders - Vox


Mike Gravel drops out of 2020 race. He never wanted to be president anyway.

The former Alaska senator simply ran to get other candidates to talk about American imperialism.

By Catherine Kimcatherine.kim@voxmedia.com
Aug 6, 2019, 10:15am EDT

Mike Gravel in 2007. Jamie Rose/Getty Images

Former Alaska Senator and anti-war activist Mike Gravel, who announced in April he was running for president in order to get the other 20-something candidates to reckon with American imperialism, has officially declared the end of his run.

There had already been murmurs surrounding Gravel’s dropout last month, when the candidate announced on Twitter that it was looking to donate left-over funds because “the campaign is nearing its conclusion.” But on Tuesday, it became official. In a video on his Twitter, Gravel announced that he was endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, because his democratic socialism would “benefit all Americans.”

Mike Gravel


"I am proud and honored to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidency of the United States."

7:00 AM - Aug 6, 2019
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To be fair, Gravel never intended on becoming president.

Before the official launch of his campaign, his spokesperson told Fox News that the candidate’s only goal was to make the debate stage to critique American imperialism on a national platform. He then planned to drop out and endorse the most progressive candidate.

Gravel, however, never made the debate stage. He didn’t meet the 65,000 unique donors threshold until after the June debates, and failed to poll above one percent in more than three DNC-recognized polls for both the June and July debates. Although candidates only have to meet the donor threshold or the polling threshold to qualify, the DNC had announced it would prioritize those who met both requirements for the top 20-candidate lineup. And, as Vox’s Dylan Scott writes, that posed a big problem for Gravel:

Despite those pointed barbs and bemused media coverage of the unusual origins of his campaign, Gravel has struggled to gain mainstream acceptance that he is, in fact, a real candidate for president.

Prominent polling outfits often leave him out of their 2020 surveys — and considering those polls help candidates qualify for the primary debates under the rules set up by the Democratic National Committee, that became a serious problem. Gravel’s campaign was left urging his fans to lobby polling firms to include him.

Gravel’s campaign all but accused the DNC of blacklisting the senator. In this Medium post, aide Kate Tyler said the campaign called Democratic headquarters more than 200 times to get information about the party’s debate qualifications.

Gravel, the 89-year-old anti-imperialist, had garnered national attention for his odd campaign that was basically run by two teenagers. These same two teenagers — David Oks and Henry Williams— had convinced the former senator to run for president in the first place, despite his failed bid in 2008.

Together, the Gravel campaign built a savvy social media presence that connected with younger voters perhapsbetter than any other candidate.