White House challenge to Biden: Marianne Williamson enters presidential race

Williamson has become the first Democrat to officially enter the 2024 race even before President Joe Biden

By
AFP
US Democratic Presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson speaks during the Democratic National Committees summer meeting in San Francisco, California. — AFP/File
US Democratic Presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson speaks during the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in San Francisco, California. — AFP/File

WASHINGTON: Marianne Williamson, a self-help author, activist and spiritual advisor, announced Saturday that she is a candidate for the US presidency in 2024, four years after an earlier run for the office drew little support.

Now 70, the iconoclastic author has become the first Democrat to officially enter the 2024 race — even before President Joe Biden — calling on her fellow Americans to reject cynicism and "conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline."

Other Democrats have held off announcing their candidacies pending a decision from Biden, who at 80 has said he has "the intention" to run again but has yet to formally enter the race.

In her televised announcement, Williamson summarised her candidate positions, denouncing mass incarceration, economic inequity and racial injustice and calling for "an emergency-level transition from a dirty economy to a clean economy."

"Government of the people by the people and for the people is perishing," she said, referring to an Abraham Lincoln quote. "This government is now a government of the corporations by the corporations and for the corporations."

After her 1992 book "A Return to Love" became a best-seller, Williamson was a frequent guest of talk-show superstar Oprah Winfrey, offering advice on personal development while raising her own profile.

Then four years ago, the unconventional Williamson took on Biden and some 20 other Democratic candidates for the presidency.

During televised debates, she drew attention with her denunciations of the "dark psychic force" that she said Donald Trump represented.

She repeated that sentiment Saturday, with an added caution. "I'm so glad that President Trump did not win the last election. That means we didn't go over the cliff. But I'll tell you something, we're still six inches away from it."

Before her first run, Williamson vowed that as president she would establish a federal Department of Peace, push for reparations for slavery and "harness love for political purposes."

But Williamson — at one point among the most Googled Democratic candidates — never managed to rise above low single digits in opinion polls.

She finally dropped out of the race and endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist.