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Mike Gravel on the issues, in under 500 words

In this image, Mike Gravel speaks from behind a podium.
Former Sen. Gravel speaking in 2007 during his last presidential campaign. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Weeks after launching a 2020 campaign designed to fail, former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) announced that he wants more than a one-off ticket to the Democratic primary debate stage: He wants to win. The long-shot octogenarian candidate — who also took a run at the White House in 2008 — is known for aiding the public release of the Pentagon Papers and for holding a hard anti-war stance. His stated goal has been to push the debate further to the left.

Key facts about Mike Gravel

  • Age: 88 ... Gravel would be 90 years old — if elected — when he takes office.
  • Born: Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Undergraduate: Columbia University
  • Date candidacy announced: April 8
  • Previous roles: Alaska representative and Alaska Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator

Gravel's stance on key issues

  • Foreign policy: In "A Political Odyssey," Gravel shared his non-interventionist opinion on foreign policy. He doesn't believe sanctions work, specifically in Iran. Gravel also supports cutting military spending by 50%. He wants to end support for Saudi Arabia and foreign arm sales and opposes the Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
  • Big businesses: Gravel wants big businesses to be broken up, and leaders of corporations to be held directly responsible for the actions of their organizations.
  • Health care: Gravel calls health care is a human right, and thinks the U.S. should develop a universal health-care plan.
  • Climate change: Gravel supports the Green New Deal, and has a progressive climate platform that includes eliminating all single-use plastic products.
  • Immigration: Gravel labels the Trump administration's immigration policy as "monstrous." He supports open borders for non-criminals and abolishing ICE.
  • Electoral college: Gravel wants it abolished.

Key criticisms of Mike Gravel

  • Notoriety: Gravel's campaign is, by and large, not being taken seriously. In part, that is because he said his intention for running was to make it onto the debate stage, rather than win the nomination. However, Gravel seems to be taking his own candidacy more seriously as time passes.
  • Age: Gravel is the oldest person seeking the presidency, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is 77, and Joe Biden, who is 76.
  • Campaign strategy: Gravel isn't planning to travel for his campaign.

1 fun thing about Mike Gravel

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