Who is Marianne Williamson?
Current job: Bestselling book author, spiritual lecturer
Family: Williamson was briefly married and has one daughter, India Emmanuelle.
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Political party: Democratic
Previous jobs: Lecturer on matters of spirituality; meals-on-wheels Project Angel Food founder; AIDS awareness activist; author of numerous bestselling books, frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
Who is Marianne Williamson’s direct competition for the nomination?
After weeks of polling prior to the first Democratic debate, we were not near the sample size of Marianne Williamson’s name recognition where we’d be confident interpreting her performance and drawing conclusions about a viable candidacy.
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Marianne Williamson’s political positions?
- On healthcare:
- Williamson has supported a universal healthcare proposal based on the Medicare-for-all model.
- Her plan calls for sweeping changes within the agricultural, environmental, and chemical industry to address the root cause of “chronic disease and obesity.”
- On immigration:
- Williamson vehemently opposes the construction of a new barrier on the southern border and describes it as “expensive” and “impractical.”
- She supports a “full path to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants with no serious criminal backgrounds.
- Under Williamson’s plan, the number of detainees under the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s control will be reduced, and family detention centers will be closed.
- “Today, too many immigrants come to America and are not made to feel welcome,” Williamson’s campaign says on its website. “This increases their fear, which leads them to behave in ways that then increases ours. Walls in our hearts are the most dangerous walls, and that is where we must bring them down.”
- On climate change:
- Williamson argues “in no uncertain terms” that global warming is a “clear and present danger.”
- She pledges that the US will re-enter into the Paris Climate Accords and will push the envelope even further: “The current Paris Accords don’t go far enough.”
- Williamson supports the Green New Deal and says other states must “mirror” the steps that California has taken to lower its dependence on fossil fuels.
- On campaign finance:
- Williamson raised $3 million as of June 30, according to FEC filings. Although she trails behind many of the other Democratic candidates, she raised more money than Rep. Seth Moulton and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
- Like the other 2020 Democratic contenders, Williamson occasionally asks for donations through her social media accounts.
- During her failed congressional run in California in 2014, she described her campaign as a grassroots effort.
- Williamson alleged that some candidates were being disingenuous with their campaign finances: “Candidates saying they won’t take corporate PAC money is pretty hilarious in the cases where they’re entering the campaign with so much corporate money already in their coffers,” she tweeted in February. “Heck, they don’t need any more!”
- On abortion:
- Williamson describes abortion as a moral issue and says she is “one-hundred percent pro-choice.”
- Attempts to curb Roe v. Wade’s protections will be “vigorously” resisted by her administration, which will also “protect the right of every woman to make her own decisions.”
- “As your president, I would seek to protect the right of every woman to make her own decisions, in her own way, regarding her reproductive choices,” Williamson’s campaign says. “The choice whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is difficult enough without having the government weighing in on the decision.”
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Williamson supports marriage equality and the protection of LGBTQ citizens under the federal Civil Rights Act.
- She has supported transgender service members serving in the US military.
- “Ironic – as well as cruel – that Trump won’t let transgender people serve in the military; courage is one of their greatest traits,” Williamson tweeted in July 2017.
- On education:
- Williamson supports universal preschool for all children.
- She encourages the US to explore ways to provide free college tuition; however, if no reasonable plan is found, she supports offsetting it with a payroll tax for the tuition recipient or by their public service.
- Williamson supports lowering student loan fees and interest to a “nominal, if not zero, percentage rate.”
- “We need a whole-person educational system that addresses the heart and soul as well as the intellect,” her campaign website says.
- On guns:
- Williamson has called for a ban on assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, in addition to controversial accessories, such as bump-stocks and high-capacity magazines.
- She supports a stricter process in obtaining firearms, including universal background checks and mandatory waiting periods for gun sales.
- Williamson has called for increased training for gun owners “along the same lines as licenses to drive a car.”
- “This, to me, is common sense, ” Williamson said. “A car is not intended as an instrument of death, and yet because death is possible, we train drivers extensively. A gun is an instrument of death, yet we do not train gun owners.”
- On criminal-justice reform:
- Williamson plans to increase the number of prison programs that provide skills to help prisoners reintegrate into society.
- She floated the idea of having the Justice Department investigate for-profit prisons for questionable business practices.
- Williamson proposes a new “Department of Domestic Peace-Building,” a federal entity that helps prevent violence and crime.
- “Ameliorating human despair is not just a sacred obligation of right living; it is the most powerful technique as well for the healing of our societies,” her campaign says.
- On trade:
- Williamson views herself as a capitalist and disagrees with federal bailouts for large banks: “Things that don’t work, shouldn’t survive.”
- For Williamson, economic success is dependent on other social factors.
- “If America wants to create the most vibrant economy possible, let’s release our citizens from anxiety [and] stress created by economic uncertainty,” she tweeted in March.
- “Our country should not be run like a business, it should be run like a family,” she also tweeted in December. “Profit maximization for huge multinational corporations is not the way to create a vibrant economy for the future; providing the best education, healthcare & culture for children is the way to do that.”
- On foreign policy:
- Williamson scrutinizes the US’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. She describes US weapon sales to the country as “completely immoral.”
- Williamson agrees with US intelligence officials and says Russia had meddled in the 2016 US presidential election.
- Trump’s decision to leave the Iran Deal was a mistake, according to Williamson.
- Under her administration, a portion of the defense budget will be allocated toward a 10-20 year plan to turn the “wartime economy into a peacetime economy.”
- “Right now we do more to prepare for war than to wage peace; this will change or more catastrophe lies ahead,” Williamson tweeted earlier in March.
- On taxes:
- Williamson proposes increasing the minimum wage and adjusting it to the inflation rate.
- She wants to roll back Trump’s tax cuts for corporations and keep tax cuts for the middle-class.
- A federally-funded deposited “gift” for newborn children will be enacted under her administration. Friends and family members will be allowed to contribute to the fund, which the government will match on a sliding scale based on the family’s wealth.
- Williamson says the US has a fundamental problem with race, which she says has been exacerbated by inadequate attempts to address it. She proposes making amends for slavery with a reparations plan – costing between $200 billion to $500 billion – that would fund educational and economic projects.
- At the second Democratic primary debate, she said that her reparations proposal reflects “a debt that is owed.” She later added: “I believe that anything less than $100 billion is an insult, and $200 to $500 billion is politically feasible today because so many Americans realize there is an injustice that continues to form a toxicity underneath the surface, an emotional turbulence that only reparations will heal.”
What are Marianne Williamson’s political successes?
- Williamson’s presidential campaign is her second political campaign since her failed 2014 congressional bid in California. She ended up in fourth place after spending nearly $2 million.
- In July, she qualified for the first Democratic debate in Miami and the upcoming second debate in Detroit.
Williamson attracted scrutiny for posting a tweet in September suggesting that Hurricane Dorian could be deterred using “the power of mind.”
“The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas…may all be in our prayers now. Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea; it is a creative use of the power of the mind. Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm,” the tweet said.
Williamson later deleted the tweet and replaced it with one offering prayers for “people of the Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.”
“May the peace of God be upon them and their hearts be comforted as they endure the storm,” she continued.
How much money has Marianne Williamson raised?
Like her fellow candidates, Williamson frequently asks for donations through her social media accounts. Williamson attracted enough donors (at least 65,000 unique donors and at least 200 from 20 different states) and polled higher than 1% from three qualifying polls to qualify for the first two Democratic debates.
Williamson raised a little over $3 million as of June 30, according to FEC filings. She has $550,000 cash on hand.
A few weeks before she announced her candidacy, she said her campaign was going to be “supported the way every campaign should be supported, by the will of the people.”
“The money is just an expression of the energy behind it,” she said to to The Des Moines Register.
Her campaign has raised over 70% of its money from donors giving $200 or less.
How is Marianne Williamson viewed by voters compared to the competition?
INSIDER has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Williamson was generally considered to be one of the more centrist candidates in the field. Williamson was the least experienced candidates in the field by far when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Williamson emerged towards the middle of the pack.
Could Marianne Williamson beat President Trump?
Referring back to INSIDER’s recurring poll, Marianne Williamson is not getting anywhere near enough name recognition to get the needed sample size to draw conclusions about how she’d perform in a general election against Donald Trump. Generally, that is not a good sign.
How do Democratic voters feel about Marianne Williamson’s qualifications?
INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include her growing up middle class (+36%) and past as an activist (+28%).
Attributes considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters center on her little time in government (-22%).
Read more of our stories on Marianne Williamson and the Democratic candidates:
- Marianne Williamson, a best-selling author and Oprah confidante, announces she’s running for president in 2020
- Democratic candidates are fighting to get enough attention and money to make the first debate stage – here’s everyone who’s qualified so far
- Meet Marianne Williamson, the motivational speaker and Oprah Winfrey pal who confused pretty much everyone at the Democratic debates
- How to pronounce the names of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates
- Trump is already brainstorming nicknames for the large 2020 field of Democrats
- The 17 most outlandish tweets by Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, ranked