Welcome to our recurring series “Who The Fuck Are All These Fucks?” in which we profile, in brief, each of the 2020 candidates for president. This series is not meant to be exhaustive, and you’re encouraged to look into each candidate on your own.
For the first time, let me welcome you to the nightmare that is the 2020 Presidential Election from the comfort of Owl Line. It’s been a long time coming to this point where we’ve basically been bullied into making this a regular feature of the site so… thanks.
NAME: Marianne Williamson
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERS: 4
ELECTIONS WON: 0
Marianne Williamson was born in Houston, Texas, and dropped out of college before graduating to become a cabaret singer in New York City. This might sound like a harsh judgement, but you can tell a lot about Williamson from this sentence.
Like Andrew Yang, John Delaney, and countless other candidates in this primary, Williamson isn’t considered a serious contender for President of the United States. First of all, like it or not, Williamson has to overcome a lot of sexism and doubt about her qualifications and that’s even before you get to the part where she used to own a “coffee shop-bookstore to spread the word” and that the word is a kind of spiritualism.
In 1997, Williamson released her first book, A Return to Love. The following year, she released Healing the Soul of America. Williamson’s books are interesting reads and you’re forgiven if you’re tempted by quotes like this:
“In the twenty-first century, spirituality, visionary consciousness, and the ability to build and mend human relationships will be more important for the fate and safety of this nation than our capacity to forcefully subdue and enemy.”Marianne Williamson, Healing the Soul of America
Sure, it’s a little… extra. But Williamson’s point is compelling: in this modern era, shouldn’t we be more focused on who we are and what we can accomplish than we are on military exploits? She took this point to her first major campaign for public office, running for Congress in 2014 on a platform that included civil liberties, economic justice, combating climate change, and promoting universal health care. Even as recently as 2014, that would have been a pretty progressive platform even though it now mostly reads like the Democratic Party platform.
That might explain why she ran as an independent in that race and is now a registered Democrat. The party truly has moved, ever so slowly, to the left over the past few years – and that movement has come in no small part because of a party increasingly willing to talk about ideas that were once completely ignored.
“This conversation of a politics of conscience, a politics of the heart, is much bigger than any one woman winning a congressional seat. And if that woman loses, the conversation goes on. My losing the congressional seat is small; what’s big is the larger conversation .”Marianne Williamson, Oprah’s Supersoul
Williamson’s campaign, then, shouldn’t be weighed on its likelihoods. She’s almost definitely certainly absolutely not going to win the nomination, after all. But after losing the 2014 congressional race, she told Oprah Winfrey, ”
This conversation of a politics of conscience, a politics of the heart, is much bigger than any one woman winning a congressional seat. And if that woman loses, the conversation goes on. My losing the congressional seat is small; what’s big is the larger conversation.”
Much of this series has been dedicated to the candidates’ chances of winning and what they’re really in the race for. Some are probably running for the vice presidency, others are probably hoping for another prominent appointment or to boost their fundraising for their own local race. But it’s pretty clear that Williamson is truly in it to spread her ideas. That’s kind of refreshing in the year 2019.