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Oks and Williams call Gravel a few times a week to approve any additions to the slate.Because Gravel isn’t really trying to be president, he can also afford to openly support reparations, the decriminalization of sex work and the end of “Israeli apartheid” — policies considered urgent on the far left but largely ignored or rejected by the Democratic Party.ach Montellaro, a Politico reporter, reads the Federal Election Commission website like a tabloid. The former Alaska senator, once well known for helping disseminate the Pentagon Papers, was 77 then. Although it was late, the former senator answered and said that yes, he was running — but he was running to lose. rules, which now allowed candidates to qualify by persuading just 65,000 people to donate.He not only trawls the big, dry database in which presidential candidates register to run; he also reads several smaller aftermarket ones that reformat the filings from the first. His run, when it’s remembered at all, is recounted as a kind of Dada diversion that began with a silent art-house film of the candidate throwing a rock into a lake and peaked in the primary debates, with Gravel pointing fingers, castigating war hawks, roasting Joe Biden, embarrassing himself and asking future President Obama, “Barack, who do you want to nuke? Recalling a prank from 2016, involving a fake filing for the candidate “Deez Nuts,” Montellaro deleted his first tweet and published a correction: “It appears we’re all being trolled by a couple of high school kids.”A few minutes later, @Mike Gravel tweeted back: “Zach, you aren’t being ‘trolled.’ ”By then it was just past midnight in Washington. Two 18-year-old kids from New York, David Oks and Henry Williams, had talked him into trying to qualify for the Democratic primary debate by gaming the updated D. Of those who crossed this threshold, only the top 20 would actually appear on the stage, which meant that Gravel would also need to edge out other low-ranked contenders like Eric Swalwell and Marianne Williamson. He remembered Gravel from the 2008 Democratic primary. On the night of March 19, he was up late when one such tweet, from @CATarget Bot, crossed his feed: “NEW FEC F1 #POTUS Mike Gravel for President Exploratory Committee.”At first, Montellaro wasn’t sure if the filing was real.When I asked one #Gravelanche supporter what he thought of the candidate Kamala Harris, a former attorney general of California, he suggested that she “would be a good secret-police chief.” When I asked him what he thought of older voters, he said: “Older people are going to be dead in 10 years, so they just want their tax money and [expletive] to buy kangaroo-skin dildos.”The left-wing humor podcast “Chapo Trap House” — formed from a klatch of leftist Twitter personalities — is so closely tied to this sensibility that its name is now used as a near-synonym.
Beyond the comic incongruity of an old man’s tweeting like a teenager, fans seemed to revel in the overarching strangeness of a candidate’s commenting directly on an issue, or a candidate’s replying to any tweet at all.Leftists were just as traumatized by the 2016 election as centrist Democrats were, but each group came away from the experience with different lessons.From the perspective of left-wing Twitter, Hillary Clinton was a uniquely awful candidate whose failures stemmed as much from her policies (bland centrism) as from her style. This resulted in constant, folksy gaffes, some of which have become comedic touchstones on lefty Twitter — “Pokémon Go to the polls!I’d estimate he won more than half the time, but he struggled to shrink his grand vision into sound bites. In the moments when I was winning the war, I learned that Gravel has led an interesting life, rife with the sort of inspired anecdotes that most politicians would package and brand.When I worried that this might limit its appeal, he told me to read his book chapters again. Born in Massachusetts to French Canadian immigrants, Gravel didn’t learn English until he was 7.
Gravel has been working on this plan for 30 years and has thought through every facet of its existence, from its source of authority (James Madison’s comments in the Constitutional Convention of 1787) to its legislative procedures (too involved for a parenthetical). The alternative is minority rule by the elites of society.”Gravel is single-minded about the Legislature of the People.