Saturday, February 25, 2023

Marianne 2024

Image: Molly Matalon
(The New York Times)

Various media outlets are confirming that author and activist Marianne Williamson will be making a second U.S. presidential bid, challenging current president (and fellow Democrat) Joe Biden in a 2024 presidential primary.

Reports The Hill:

Marianne Williamson, a prominent progressive who ran for president in 2020, confirmed in an interview published Thursday that she will run again for the Democratic nomination for president in 2024. That would put her in a Democratic primary against President Biden, who has not announced his own plans but is widely expected to run for reelection next year.

“I wouldn’t be running for president if I didn’t believe I could contribute to harnessing the collective sensibility that I feel is our greatest hope at this time,” Williamson told the Medill News Service, which is run by Northwestern University, in an exclusive interview.

No other Democrats have officially waded into the race yet, making Williamson the first.

As with her 2020 presidential candidacy, I will be supporting Marianne’s 2024 ran. This is because I agree with philosopher and social critic Cornel West when he says that Marianne is “one of the few in the higher echelons of public life and public conversation who understand the intimate relation between the spiritual and the social, the personal and the political, and the existential and the economic.”

Continues West: “It’s very rare that people have this synoptic vision, [one that ensures that] spirituality, morality, and integrity sit at the center and at the beginning of any serious discussion about the relation of a self and a society.”

This “synoptic vision” is greatly needed in today’s fractured world, and it was on full display throughout the course of Marianne’s year-long 2020 presidential campaign during which she never wavered in changing the conversation from symptoms to root causes in a way that the political and media establishments routinely avoid. She also talked about the need to fundamentally disrupt the political and economic status quo and to initiate a “season of moral repair.” Her “politics of love” was informed by both her love for democracy and her decades-long work with and for people in crisis, especially spiritual or meaning-making crisis.

Through her work, Marianne has seen, up close and personal, the effects of bad public policy, policy that stems in large part from the undue influence of money on our political system.

“Until we address [money in politics] and the unjust economic paradigm [that it perpetuates], she said in a December 2019 interview, “then there’s going to be [a] level of despair [in people's lives and in society]. People are traumatized; poverty is traumatizing, hunger is traumatizing, lack of opportunity is traumatizing, lack of hope is traumatizing.”

Following is a compilation of statements from Marianne about her 2024 presidential bid. Also included are three video segments.

The first is a 12-minute Secular Talk segment from last year in which Marianne responds to host Kyle Kulinski’s plea that she run for president in 2024.

The second video (of 13-minutes duration) is of Marianne’s February 21, 2023 appearance on The Young Turks, where she spoke with Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur about “the possibility of a potential primary challenge to President Biden.”

In the third video (of 6-minutes duration), Francesca Fiorentini and Mike Figueredo of Unbossed discuss Marianne’s intention to run again for president. (Ignore the “2020 Elections” text initially on the screen.)

It’s anticipated that Marianne will officially launch her 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday, March 4.


If ever there was a time to stand for something bigger than ourselves, it’s now. We need a season of repair, an era of new beginnings, and a commitment to fundamental change. [All of this] will have to include inner as well as outer changes, or, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “quantitative shifts in our circumstances as well as qualitative changes in our souls.”

Years ago I used to go to Al Anon meetings, where I learned that there are times in life where we’re simply “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And I would hear people say, “Get into the solution.” That, it seems to me, is where we are as a country. It’s so tempting to wallow in cynicism, desperation, anger, and hopelessness right now – but that is exactly what we must reject. We have a choice to make; to either be taken down by the undertow of current events, or make a commitment to ourselves that in whatever way possible we’ll be agents of change.

Sometimes we don’t exactly know how we’re going to do something but there’s a power in knowing that we’re committed to doing it. That’s how we need to see transforming the world right now. We don’t even need to know exactly how we’re going to do it. We just need to be receptive enough, and available enough – and in our better hours, courageous enough – to consistently show up for the task. The path unfolds when we are willing to walk it.

Marianne Williamson
Excerpted from “On Recreating the World:
Musings On Inner and Outer Change

July 28, 2022

Biden’s going to run on a message that the economy is getting stronger. I think that speaks to the disconnect between the analysis of party elites versus the struggle of everyday Americans. We’re being asked to limit our political imaginations – to just accept the low unemployment and low inflation rate, that that is sort of the best that we can get.

But that is a hollow victory. The majority of Americans are still struggling to survive. . . . My strategy would be to tell the truth as I understand it. Did Donald Trump in 2016 have a strategy? I don’t think he had a strategy. He hit a nerve.

. . . The problem is that those in power do not have the solutions and those with solutions do not have the power. It’s almost heartbreaking to see all the people in this town [Washington, DC], who work for NGOs who work for humanitarian organizations, who are talking about green energy, regenerative agriculture, climate change, carbon sequestration, peace building – the most they can get is a returned phone call. That is not the way to run a government.

Marianne Williamson
Quoted in Lauren Egan and Eli Stokols' article,
Marianne Williamson Is Entering the Chat
February 17, 2023

As president I would always seek to avoid the use of military force, yet I would not shy away from it if I felt it necessary. . . . I view the U.S. military much like a surgeon. If we need a surgeon then America must have the best, but any reasonable person tries to avoid surgery if possible. The best way to solve conflicts is to prevent them from occurring to begin with. If I had had the choice, I would have made very different foreign policy decisions related to Russia over the last 40 years. That does not change the fact, however, that Vladimir Putin’s actions today are a threat to which the Western world must now respond.

Marianne Williamson
Excerpted from “The Tragic Conundrum of Ukraine:
What the U.S. Should and Should Not Do

February 22, 2023

I was amused at reading an article recently that referred to me as “inexperienced.” One thing I am not, my friends, is inexperienced. I have simply had another kind of experience than all those people who, you know, listen to corporate lobbyists all day and try to figure out how to master the machine that has run this country into the ground. What they are qualified to do is to perpetuate a system; what I am qualified to do is to transform it. In my heart I feel I’ve had exactly the kinds of experiences one needs to have had in order to make sense of these times.

Whether we like it or not, change is in the air in America. It will be wise and responsibly directed change, or it will be chaotic and extremely destructive change. Those, to me, are our only two choices for what lies ahead. President Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable.” These are revolutionary times. We are either going to have a peaceful revolution or a violent one. We will either begin in earnest the work of national repair, or lose a truly immeasurable treasure. In Lincoln’s words, “We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth.”

We do not need more protectors of the status quo; we need a more enlightened kind of change-maker. I have long felt that those who are students and practitioners of spiritual and psychological wisdom are the last people who should be sitting out the great political and economic questions of our day. Why? Because if you have a clue how to change one heart, then you’re the one with a clue what would change the world.

Marianne Williamson
Excerpted from “Justice, Justice Thy Shall Pursue
February 25, 2023

It amuses me when someone calls a candidacy like mine a “vanity project.” Never was there a greater affront to one’s vanity than running for president, I assure you. And a 'grift,' that’s a good one too. I’d like to know what the grift is. Yet neither of those pithy insults can match the derision I’ve already seen and that I know lies up ahead. To even consider walking into that fire again, I figure there are only two options possible: either I’m a genuinely delusional woman, or something is calling me from deep within my soul and I can’t ignore it. I’ll leave it up to others to decide which of those they estimate to be true; I can only look to my own heart to determine which is true for me. I have no illusions or naive assumptions, having walked this path before. But I look at politics like I look at writing books and giving lectures. Is there something that needs to be said? And do I think I can say it well? I have been guided throughout my career by the words of author Arnold Patent: “If you genuinely have something you need to say, then there’s someone out there who genuinely needs to hear it.”

Marianne Williamson
Excerpted from “Justice, Justice Thy Shall Pursue
February 25, 2023

Above: Marianne Williamson speaks at a rally in Santa Monica, California in 2019. (Photo: Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images)

Related Off-site Links:
Marianne Williamson Confirms She Will Run for President in 2024 – Caroline Vakil (The Hill, February 23, 2023).
Biden Draws First Democratic Challenger for 2024 as Marianne Williamson Confirms Plans to Launch Bid – Paul Steinhauser and Andrea Vacchiano (Fox News, February 23, 2023).

UPDATES: Marianne Williamson Says She Will Run for President Again – Maggie Astor (The New York Times, February 26, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Says She'll Run for President Again, in Long Shot Challenge to Biden – Tal Axelrod (ABC News, February 26, 2023).
Marianne Williamson Is the Only Democrat Running for President – For Now – Madison Pauley (Mother Jones, February 26, 2023).
Democrat Marianne Williamson to Visit New Hampshire After Anticipated Presidential Campaign Announcement – KC Downey (WMUR 9, February 27, 2023).
Marianne Williamson to Run for President Again to “Help Repair America”The Guardian (February 28, 2023).
Nikki Haley and Marianne Williamson Announce Their Run for U.S. Presidency – Debra Blackwell (NewsBreak, February 28, 2023).
Democrats Are Open to Ditching Biden in 2024. But That Won’t Help Marianne Williamson – Nathaniel Rakich (FiveThirtyEight, March 2, 2023).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Marianne Williamson: “We Must Challenge the Entire System”
Progressive Perspectives on the U.S. Midterm Election Results
Marianne Williamson on the Current Condition of the U.S.
An Essential Read Ahead of the Midterms
Marianne Williamson’s Politics of Love: The Rich Roll Interview
Celebrating Tuesday’s Progressive Wins in the Midst of the Ongoing “War for the Future of the Democratic Party”
Now Here’s a Voice I’d Like to Hear Regularly on the Sunday Morning Talk Shows
A Deeper Perspective on What’s Really Attacking American Democracy
Marianne Williamson on the Tenth Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street
Cultivating Peace
“Two of the Most Dedicated and Enlightened Heroes of Present Day America”
Progressive Perspectives on the 2020 U.S. Election Results
“As Much the Sounding of An Alarm As a Time for Self-Congratulations”
We Cannot Allow a Biden Win to Mean a Return to “Brunch Liberalism”
Marianne Williamson on America’s “Cults of Madness”
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – September 4, 2020
“We Have an Emergency On Our Hands”: Marianne Williamson On the “Freefall” of American Democracy
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – June 2, 2020

For The Wild Reed’s coverage of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 presidential campaign, see the following chronologically-ordered posts:
Talkin’ ’Bout An Evolution: Marianne Williamson’s Presidential Bid
Why Marianne Williamson Is a Serious and Credible Presidential Candidate
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – April 24, 2019
Marianne Williamson: Reaching for Higher Ground
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
Sometimes You Just Have to Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
Marianne Williamson Plans on Sharing Some “Big Truths” on Tonight's Debate Stage
Friar André Maria: Quote of the Day – June 28, 2019
Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson: “We’re Living at a Critical Moment in Our Democracy”
Caitlin Johnstone: “Status Quo Politicians Are Infinitely ‘Weirder’ Than Marianne Williamson”
Marianne Williamson On What It Will Take to Defeat Donald Trump
“This Woman Is Going to Win the Nomination”: Matt Taibbi on Marianne Williamson in Iowa
Something to Think About (and Embody!)
The Relevance and Vitality of Marianne Williamson’s 2020 Presidential Campaign
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 4, 2019
Michael Goldstein: Quote of the Day – November 11, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
Marianne Williamson and the Power of Politicized Love
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – December 14, 2019
Marianne Williamson: “I Am Not Suspending My Candidacy”
Marianne Williamson on New Day with Christi Paul – 01/04/20
“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”
A Thank You Letter to Marianne Williamson
“I Learned So Much From the Experience”: Marianne Williamson on Her Presidential Bid
Deep Gratitude

Opening image: Marianne Williamson, photographed by Molly Matalon for The New York Times.


Percy said...

It's clearly a personal brand-fluffing run. If she enters a New Hampshire primary that does not comply with the rules of the party, she will lose whatever credibility she might have claimed as as progressive.

Michael J. Bayly said...

Why is it "clearly a brand-fluffing run," Percy? And what exactly is Marianne Williamson's "brand"?

As for New Hampshire, Williamson has said the following about the changes the Democratic Party has made to the primary calendar.

"How can the Democratic Party present itself as a champion of democracy and do something as undemocratic as overtly engineering the primary schedule to make sure that their chosen candidate would win it? That is spitting in the face of democracy." (Source)

Being pro-democracy is a progressive stance. So resisting such "undemocratic engineering" enhances Williamson's "credibility," as you say, as a progressive.



Percy said...

It keeps her name and brand in the media mix. What office of public trust has she held and discharged? This is a relevant question. There is only one person who was nominated for the presidency who never before held an office of public trust and that person was Donnie Two Times. (Wendell Willkie held a commission of lieutenant in the US Army during World War I, otherwise he's the runner-up in that category.) Why hasn't Marianne run for mayor of a city to put her politics into practical practice? This leap towards repetitive presidential runs is a form of grandiosity, just a kinder gentler version of Donnie Two Times'.

Her criticisms of the changes in the Democratic primary schedule were precisely what caught my ire. Biden would easily win NH over almost any more progressive Democrat: NH is so not the land of progressive Democrats. The stranglehold of NH at the head of the primary schedules has been the bane of non-White Democrats for a long time. Given the extreme Whiteness of the NH electorate, it was going to take a White incumbent President to finally challenge that stranglehold, and I am glad Biden seized that opportunity to promote a different, mid-sized, state that has an electorate that looks much more like today's Democratic Party.

The only real losers in this change of primary schedule are New Hampshire and Boston media outlets (since Boston media covers a great deal of NH's most popular terrain) for whom the NH primary has been a quadrennial cash bucket. I live in these markets: I can tell you there is nothing magical about NH meriting its place at the head of the primary calendar. Insisting on it remaining at the head because it's been that way for 100 years is not . . . progressive, is it? So, if Ms Williamson wants to exploit grievance in NH to refresh her brand, you will be hard-pressed to make a credible argument that she is being progressive in doing that

Michael J. Bayly said...

Percy, I disagree with your assessment of Marianne Williamson’s presidential aspirations as “a form of grandiosity.” She addresses your concern about her lack of “experience” in the fourth quote of this post. I’m satisfied with her response, as are many others.

As to the issue of the DNC’s changing of the rules re. the Democratic primary schedule, could this not be a ploy on the part of the party’s corporatist establishment to look as though it cares about diversity when in fact it’s main focus remains ensuring the selection of a centrist candidate?

Biden has portrayed his preferred reshuffling of the Democratic Party’s presidential primary calendar as an attempt to foreground voters of color, yet in December 2022 the progressive advocacy group RootsAction characterized the president’s move as “an inappropriate, self-serving intervention dressed up in noble rhetoric.”

The group goes on to say: “If Biden’s proposal to supplant the New Hampshire primary as first-in-the-nation were truly about diversity and not about improving his own prospects for renomination, he would be promoting a state other than South Carolina to be first. . . . Joe Biden should climb down from attempting to manipulate the Democratic primary schedule for his own narrow political purposes.”

Other progressive voices have also cried foul of what they perceive to be the real motivation behind the change in rules, arguing that if Biden really wanted to elevate voters of color and the working class, he would have gone with a “battle-ground” state to start the primary process – Nevada, Georgia or Michigan.

As the progressive group More Perfect Union notes: “South Carolina is not a battleground state: Donald Trump carried it by double digits in 2020. It is way more ideologically and culturally conservative than the Democratic Party and the rest of the nation. It’s also one of the fiercest anti-union, anti-labor states in the country. In fact, South Carolina is already first in the nation with the terrible distinction of being the lowest-density union state in America. If Democrats are serious about winning the working-class vote, South Carolina isn’t the state to get it done.”

Are these progressive voices and groups, like Williamson in your estimation, “exploiting grievance in NH” so as to “refresh [their] brand”? Or are they seeking, as I trust Williamson is doing, to address a deeper issue at play here?



Percy said...

Regarding her experience: again, why not have run for mayor of her city (I know she lives in the LA area, but not if she lives in the corporate bounds of LA or one of its fancier municipal suburbs/exurbs) - non-boutique cities are in crisis, and she would have an opportunity to demonstrate the *application* of her vision in such a place. The fact that she appears never have considered that idea is an indication of her grandiosity, a word I chose specifically for her.

Battleground states have to do with *interparty* contests, not *intramural* party contests, so the objection does not stand. South Carolina's size (unlike GA or MI) allows a measure of personal level politics that people complaining about losing NH bleat about. Nevada is a strange state: Vegas + Mormons + immigrants. Not a lot of Black people. So I am not persuaded in the least by those arguments.

I am not a Biden partisan: I was a Warren supporter in the last round. But I do see Williamson's run for president under present circumstances has all the flavor of grandiosity and personal brand refreshing in the way celebrities do these days, not anything of credible substance for that presidential race. She's chosen it, she's free to do so. She's just not *entitled* to be free of criticism for her choice. Those who imagine she is are reinforcing her privilege.