2020: Mike Gravel Rips ‘Centrist Nobodies,’ ‘Zombie Candidates’ for Not Dropping Out

Mike Gravel AP

Former Alaska Senator and anti-war activist Mike Gravel (D) over the weekend ripped “centrist nobodies”—like former Rep. John Delaney (D-MD), former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH)—and “narcissists” like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) for refusing to drop out of the presidential contest even though they are “zombie candidates” with no chance of winning.

Gravel entered the presidential contest late with the goal of getting on the debate stage to press the candidates on foreign policy issues. He has indicated that he will drop out after next week’s debates and donate his campaign funds to charities in Flint, Michigan. Though he ultimately met the 65,000 donor threshold to qualify for next week’s debate, he lost the tiebreaker to candidates who received 1% in various DNC-sanctioned polls because the DNC only allowed 20 candidates to debate over two days.

Gravel’s campaign and those who wanted to see Gravel challenge candidates on various foreign policy and military industrial complex issues were disappointed that the DNC put a preference on the qualifying polls, many of which did not even include Gravel. They noted that many Democrats who qualified—like Delaney, Hickenlooper, Ryan, de Blasio, Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Montana Governor Steve Bullock—did not reach the donor threshold like Gravel.

Gravel campaign manager David Oks ripped mainstream media journalists for continuing to profile these “zombie candidates” who have a “zero chance of winning.”

“Journalists would be lying to themselves if they don’t recognize these three as anything but zombie candidates with zero grassroots support, zero excitement, zero chance of winning, who are desperately hanging on to their debate spots just to raise their speaking fees and national profiles for after they drop out immediately after the July debate,” Oks said in a statement. “Why not just do the American people a favor and save them the rerun of a circus show of a performance they put up in June, drop out while there is still dignity, and vacate their spots for Sen. Gravel, a candidate with an accomplished record, refreshing and meaningful things to say, and genuine grassroots support?”

The Gravel campaign pointed out that Ryan “famously confused the Taliban with Al-Qaeda while advocating for a discredited, hawkish foreign policy vision during the June debate, while Delaney and Hickenlooper were widely mocked for their repeated failed attempts to smear the party’s ascendant progressive agenda.”

Gravel’s campaign had said that if Gravel gets a chance to get on the debate stage, he “will demand that America withdraw troops from its bases abroad; end (and prevent future) forever wars; ban foreign arms sales; normalize relations with the Koreas; join the International Criminal Court; and send Henry Kissinger to the Hague. Audiences can also expect him to speak on decriminalizing drugs, giving amnesty to whistleblowers, and supporting sex workers.”

“The debates are about the future of the party, and none of these three comes even close to representing it,” Oks said. “No one wants them there, plain and simple. It’s time for them to face reality and drop out.”

Gravel recently ran an ad in Iowa and on MSNBC that challenged former Vice President Joe Biden’s record, and he would have been a thorn in Biden’s side had he made the debate stage. The ad mocked Biden’s “progressive record” by ripping him for supporting for the Iraq War, opposing busing, supporting the Crime Bill, not being pro-abortion enough, and backing entrenched corporatists and establishment financial institutions.

“I served with Biden in the Senate – he’s dead wrong on many issues that have serious human consequences. His ideology is just off the rail,” Gravel said.


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