Marianne Williamson has exited the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, she announced on Friday.
In a statement on her website, the author and “spiritual adviser” said she didn’t want her campaign to diminish the success of progressive candidates leading the polls in early states.
“I stayed in the race to take advantage of every possible effort to share our message,” she said. “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.”
In an early sign of what was to come, Williamson reportedly laid off her entire campaign staff at the start of the new year due to dwindling campaign cash. The self-help author also failed to qualify for any subsequent primary debates after appearing in the first two.
“To the remaining Democratic candidates, I wish you all my best on the road ahead. It was an honor being among you,” Williamson said Friday. “Whichever one of you wins the nomination, I will be there with all my energy and in full support.”
Williamson launched her presidential bid in January 2019 as a way “to engage voters in a more meaningful conversation about America, about our history, about how each of us fit into it, and how to create a sustainable future.”
“Our national challenges are deep, but our political conversation is shallow,” she said during her campaign announcement. “My campaign is for people who want to dig deeper into the questions we face as a nation and deeper into finding the answers.’’
Williamson pitched voters on six policy pillars “for a season of moral repair”: financial policy that opposed trickle-down economics; creating a U.S. Department of Children and Youth; mass mobilization to reverse climate change; creating a U.S. Department of Peace; investing in African American communities as reparations for slavery; and a “Whole Health Plan.”
Apart from an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2014, Williamson spent the bulk of her career in the self-help and personal growth space. She’s written 12 books, four of which were New York Times bestsellers, including the 1992 work “A Return To Love.”
Williamson has been called Oprah Winfrey’s “spiritual adviser” and appeared numerous times on the media mogul’s show.
But she has also been vocal on a number of political issues over the years. She was an early AIDS activist and in the late 1980s founded both the Center for Living, which offered counseling to HIV-positive patients, and Project Angel Food, a charity that delivered meals to people living with HIV and AIDS.
In recent years, Williamson has repeatedly spoken out against the Trump administration and what she deems the “spiritual and moral rot” in Washington.
As a Democratic candidate, Williamson drew criticism for calling mandatory vaccinations “draconian” and “Orwellian” amid the worst measles outbreak the U.S. has seen in decades.
She subsequently denied fostering vaccine skepticism and instead highlighted her distrust of pharmaceutical companies.
Ryan Grenoble contributed reporting.