Mike Gravel, the iconoclastic former senator from Alaska, has endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary. The octogenarian Gravel, who , shares many values with the septuagenarian Sanders, including a strong aversion to American interventionism.
“I am proud and honored to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the presidency of the United States,” Gravel said in a video posted to Twitter Tuesday morning. Gravel’s social media presence was managed by two teenagers from New York, David Oks and Henry Williams.
“Bernie has a program that benefits all Americans, not just the one percent,” Gravel said in the video. “We have a simple choice. We can have the democratic socialism of Bernie Sanders to benefit all Americans, or we can have Republican socialism, which benefits the one percent and leads us to a constant state of war.”
“The DNC kept us off the stage tonight even though we qualified, but the #Gravelanche is not over. We’re gonna keep going. As the campaign ends, we’re going to help build institutions on the left which can grow power, shape policy, and create strong activists for the long haul,” said a tweet posted to Gravel’s Twitter account on Wednesday.
Gravel had technically received contributions from enough unique donors to qualify for the second Democratic debate at the end of July, but did not make it to the stage because the number of candidates permitted to appear at the debate was capped at 20. The DNC used its tiebreaker rules, which gave preference to candidates who met the polling threshold over those who qualified via donors, leaving Gravel out.
The Gravel campaign is donating its funds to charity and forming the Gravel Institute, a “leftist think tank.” This institute will release policy papers with a focus on “ending the American empire,” “reforming our Democracy,” “direct action by elected officials to end injustice and suffering.”