It’s been said before, I’ll say it again: Joe Biden sucks. Consistently putting his foot in his mouth with racist language he deems progressive, predatory remarks toward women and publicly defending his dear friend/war profiteer Dick Cheney, Biden is, frankly, a terrible candidate.
But, don’t just take it from me. Take it from the former Democratic senator and Presidential hopeful from Alaska, Mike Gravel:
You might be wondering: who is Mike Gravel, and why is he dunking on Biden?
Welcome, dear reader, to the story of The Gravelanche, a fable that could only exist in 2019.
Let’s start with some context. About a month ago, the Democratic National Convention updated their rules, including a particularly fascinating change to how a candidate could make it to the mainstage primary debate. As it stands, a candidate needs to pass a threshold of 65,000 donors in order to qualify; among the candidates that pass that amount, only the 20 with the most donations make the stage. It’s still a broken system, one that implicitly favors candidates with the largest start-up capital—your Biden’s, Elizabeth Warren’s, Bernie Sanders’ and so on.
But what if that system could be broken even more? That’s the thought process behind the two 18-year-old New Yorkers, David Oks and Henry Williams, that got in touch with Mike Gravel. Oks and Williams had a modest goal: using the new rules of the DNC, get Gravel on stage to push the Democratic conversation further left, beyond Bernie, beyond Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, into the socialist sphere that many—this writer included—wish the American political discourse made more room for.
Gravel ran in the 2008 Democratic primary. He had a modest following, though his biggest claim to fame was his role in spreading the Pentagon Papers. Now 89, Gravel finds himself in a peculiar position: again, he’s a Presidential candidate. But he’s also a rising social media sensation, just shy of 100,000 followers on Twitter, thanks to the scathing takes like the one at the top of this article.
Here’s the thing, though: he’s not running his social media. Neither do most (if any) political candidates, but neither do they employ two teenagers deeply embroiled in the verbiage and language of far-left Twitter. Enjoying the humor of this corner of Twitter ,but frustrated with the inability of it to actually mobilize political change, Oks and Williams sought to change that.
In a new profile in The New York Times, Williams bemoans Trump’s presidency but seems awestruck by the social media campaign his staff ran. Almost reverentially, Williams says, “Trump was the first postmodern politician.” Weaponizing the same style of social media campaign, Williams then modifies that: “I like to think Gravel is the second.”
With tweets and Instagram posts that are both incisive and hysterical, the Gravel Teens have slowly been building a name for the campaign. Indeed, they dunk on Biden, but they’re also ruthless towards Trump, other candidates and the concepts that define America: the military-industrial complex, imperialism, questions of race, class and gender, among many more.
As of this writing, Gravel’s campaign has accumulated about 40,000 donors, largely from folks donating less than five dollars. The deadline to pass 65,000 donations is June 12.
Avalanches, you might recall, start slow, mounting slow speed as they acquire more debris, more snow, before becoming all-out forces of nature. You can find more information about The Gravelanche here.