California Nation

5 things to know about the newest Democrat to qualify for 2020 debate, Marianne Williamson

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson calls the federal government “little more than a system of legalized bribery.” She addressed about 100 attendees at the Center for Spiritual Living in San Jose on April 28.
Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson calls the federal government “little more than a system of legalized bribery.” She addressed about 100 attendees at the Center for Spiritual Living in San Jose on April 28.

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Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson qualified for a spot on the debate stage Thursday morning, according to her campaign.

Williamson, an author and spiritual leader who has frequently campaigned in California says she wants to restore peace and love in the country. She is running on a platform centered on reunifying the country. Here are five things you need to know about Williamson as she campaigns in the Golden State:

1. Williamson wants to start a ‘Department of Peace Creation’

During an April 28 campaign stop at a non-denomination church in San Jose, she told a crowd of 100 people that the U.S. government is now “little more than a system of legalized bribery.” As president, Williamson said she’d push for systemic reforms to the way government operates.

She told The Sacramento Bee before the event that an item at the top of her priority list is creating a Department of Peace Creation because “we need to wage peace as robustly as we now prepare for war.”

Her other major priorities would include getting a bill through Congress to establish public funding for federal campaigns, launching a cabinet-level Department of Youth to deal with chronic stress and anxiety.

The signature theme of her campaign is promoting love.

“The path of love is the path of real transformation and taking a serious moral inventory,” she said.

2. She’s spent a lot of her life in California

Most of Williamson’s adult life has been spent in California, though she was born in Texas.

She spent two years at Pomona College in Claremont and founded a program in the 1980s in Los Angeles called “Project Angel Food,” which offered a meals-on-wheels style service to AIDS victims stuck in their home.

Williamson was briefly married, and she gave birth to her daughter, India, in California when she was 28 years old.

Today, she considers Los Angeles her base.

In 2014, Williamson placed fourth in a seat that was eventually won by Democratic congressman Ted Lieu. She was in a crowd of 16 candidates. On her website, she writes that she considers the election “an all’s-well-that-ends-well experience in my life.”

Citing President Barack Obama’s 30-point loss for an Illinois congressional seat in 2000, Williamson insisted her 2014 race does not foreshadow the results of her 2020 bid for president.

“Losing a congressional race is like the political equivalent of somebody’s first marriage,” she said. “It says nothing about one’s future, actually. In fact, if anything, it’s what prepares you and teaches you a lot of what you need to learn.”

3. Williamson believes Trump’s a sociopath

At a CNN town hall, Williamson was asked how she’d spread love in a general election debate with President Donald Trump if she secured the Democratic nomination. In response, she said, “How do you debate a child? How do you treat a psychopath.”

She walked back her comments to The Bee, saying it’s not her job to diagnose the president. Nevertheless, she took a shot at him.

“I should have said ‘sociopath’ ... All of us need to awaken and recognize how dangerous his behavior often is.”

4. She’s not just critical of Republicans

During her event in San Jose, Williamson routinely criticized Republican policies, accusing the GOP of buying into the idea that untethered market forces are good for the country.

But she also made heated remarks at the Democratic Party, comparing Democrats to a wife sitting in a hallway while her husband beats up their child.

“I have concerns about that other major political party, too,” she said. “Too often, that other major political party sees everything we’re talking about and wrings its hands because it’s really upset about all this. It’s like your father is beating the child and the mother is in the hall, and she’s crying about it. Stop crying and call the police!”

5. A famous quote of hers is often inaccurately attributed to Nelson Mandela

In 1992, Williamson publisher her first book, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles.” In one section, she writes, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”

Somewhere in the course of history, Williamson had her quote wrongly attributed to Nelson Mandela.

“I have no idea how it got taken out of the book by someone and misattributed to Nelson Mandela, but I’m happy it has meant a lot to a lot of people.”

Also of interest, that passage from her book appeared in the 2005 film, “Coach Carter.”

Bryan Anderson is a political reporter for The Bee. He covers the California Legislature and reports on wildfires and transportation. He also hosts The Bee’s “California Nation” podcast.