Spiritual guide and self-help author Marianne Williamson officially ended her presidential run on Friday, citing feeble support leading into the caucus and primary season.
“I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message,” Williamson wrote in a message to her supporters. “With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now. The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.”
Williamson spent much of the primary season as the designated sideshow, her New Age background and Goop-adjacent ethos supplying sardonic sneers while her more seasoned competitors garnered the seriousness she woefully lacked. Her reputation as a vaccination skeptic, a label she vehemently denied but repeatedly found herself occupying, didn’t help: At a New Hampshire campaign event in June 2019, she compared mandatory vaccinations to anti-abortion legislation, saying, “The U.S. government doesn’t tell any citizen, in my book, what they have to do with their body or their child.”
She apologized the next day for coming across as anti-vaccine, but further muddled her stance during an appearance on The View. She vowed that, as president, she would ensure transparency in response to Big Pharma so that “the American people see what’s going on with these vaccines.” That nebulous language about the apparent unknown dangers of vaccines paired seamlessly with her other controversial views on health, including mental illness. In August, she butted heads with CNN’s Anderson Cooper about antidepressants and her overarching concern that medication is being peddled to treat what she calls the “normal spectrum of human despair.”
But while her woo-woo demeanor, her cabal of celebrity friends, and her strange beef dominated much of the conversation, Williamson was at her most competent when she spoke of racial inequality. She is a longtime advocate of economic reparations for descendants of slaves and critic of environmental racism. The latter was a highlight of the July 2019 Democratic debates in Detroit: Williamson spoke of the Flint water crisis, noting that the ongoing disaster wouldn’t have occurred in Michigan’s affluent areas. After receiving a round of applause for her frankness, she continued: “We need to say it like it is, it’s bigger than Flint. It’s all over this country. It’s particularly people of color. It’s particularly people who do not have the money to fight back, and if the Democrats don’t start saying it, why would those people feel they’re there for us, and if those people don’t feel it, they won’t vote for us and Donald Trump will win.”
While Williamson qualified for the first two Democratic Debates in the summer of 2019, low poll numbers disqualified her from future performances. While she was the most searched candidate after her July debate performance, not enough people took her seriously as a candidate, and Dave Navarro’s endorsement alone wasn’t enough to keep her afloat. By January 2, Williamson laid off her entire campaign staff. And now, Williamson is likely heading to the astral plane, with love and gratitude.