Author Marianne Williamson has said she doesn’t view her very outsider bid for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination as a direct challenge to Joe Biden but as “challenging a system”.
The self-help writer and speaker, who also ran a nomination challenge in 2020, said voters “have to rise up” to secure an equitable economic future for the US.
“I want to be president because this country needs to make an economic U-turn,” Williamson told ABC News on Sunday. Among her priorities, she said, were free healthcare, free college and free childcare.
“The system that effectuates and perpetuates that kind of income and opportunity inequality is not changing itself … It’s not going to change if we continue to elect the same-old, same-old,” she added.
Williamson is currently the only Democrat to challenge Biden – although the president has yet to announce his bid for re-election – after announcing her campaign in Washington DC on Saturday afternoon.
Before dropping out of the 2020 race, Williamson made a splash when, addressing then president Donald Trump in the first Democratic presidential debate with her closing argument, she said: “I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And, sir, love will win.”
Williamson, author of 14 books, describes herself as “a leader in spiritual and religiously progressive circles” for more than three decades. She established a national profile on Oprah Winfrey’s daytime talkshow, and has taken independent-minded and often controversial positions on depression and vaccine mandates.
ABC host Jonathan Karl, attributing a quote about Williamson as “the longest of long shots” to the Associated Press, asked Williamson, 70, why she thought she could win the White House.
“I would bet that the Associated Press also said that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in [in 2016],” Williamson fired back.
“The system that is now saying that I’m unserious, I’m not credible or I’m a long shot is the very system that protects and maintains this idea that only those whose careers have been entrenched within the system that drove us into a ditch should possibly be considered qualified to lead us out of that ditch,” Williamson said.
Her qualification for the job, she continued, “is not that I know how to perpetuate that system. My qualification is that I know how to disrupt it,”
While Williamson appeared to support the White House policy on Ukraine, she stopped short of endorsing a US military response if China were to attack Taiwan.
“We must make a stand for such things as human rights. At this point, we must be committed that this not spill over into a military confrontation,” she said.
And she declined to criticize Biden over his age. “I’m not going there,” she said. “I don’t think ageism has any place in our thinking” and would “do whatever I feel I can do as an American to make sure that the neo-fascist threat that is represented by some aspects of the Republican party does not win in 2024”.
The Democratic National Committee has indicated that the party doesn’t plan to hold primary debates. But Williamson maintained that Biden should debate her. “It’s called democracy,” she said. “And I’m running as well.”