Marianne Williamson officially launches 2024 presidential campaign

Williamson kicked off her long-shot bid with a speech from Washington, D.C.

March 4, 2023, 3:35 PM

Marianne Williamson, the self-help author who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination in 2020, officially launched her 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday.

"The status quo, ladies and gentlemen and everyone else, will not disrupt itself," Williamson said as she announced her candidacy at Union Station in Washington, D.C. "That's our job."

"We're all here because we care about this country. But we're all here, or at least many of us are, because we are upset about this country, we're worried about this country," she said, adding, "It is our job to create a vision of justice and love that is so powerful, that it will override the forces of hatred and injustice and fear."

Williamson is the first major Democratic challenge to President Joe Biden, should he run for reelection as anticipated. But her entrance into the race isn't likely to change the minds of leading Democrats, who've said they're firmly behind Biden and don't expect a conventional primary for the nomination.

Self-help author Marianne Williamson speaks to the crowd as she launches her 2024 presidential campaign in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2023.
Jose Luis Magana/AP

Williamson appeared to address the struggles her campaign will face, telling the audience, "I have run for president before. I am not naive."

"I'm not naive about the forces which have no intention of allowing anyone into this conversation who does not align with their predetermined agenda," she said.

Williamson discussed her long-shot candidacy further in an interview with ABC's Jon Karl airing Sunday on "This Week."

"I would bet that the Associated Press also said that Hillary Clinton was a shoo-in," Williamson said.

"The system that is now saying I'm unserious, that I'm not credible or I'm a longshot 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 qualified to lead us out of that ditch," she said. "My qualification is not that I know how to perpetuate that system, my qualification is that I know how to disrupt it."

Williamson, 70, rose to prominence in the self-help world with several best-selling books and as a spiritual guru to Oprah Winfrey. She worked with several health-related organizations and founded Project Angel Food, which began as a program to deliver meals to homebound people with AIDS and later expanded to people battling any critical illness.

She said an epiphany led her to run for president in 2020. Williamson built her last campaign on an untraditional message of love and peace, telling voters she would "harness love" to defeat former President Donald Trump -- who she said was a symptom of America's deeper problems and broken political system.

Her signature 2020 proposals included reparations for slavery and the creation of a Department of Peace, and she supported progressive policies like universal health care and free college. She faced criticism when she called mandatory vaccinations "Orwellian" and for her past comments about depression.

Williamson ultimately failed to gain much momentum amid the field of two-dozen Democratic candidates and dropped out of the race before the nominating contests. She later officially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Marianne Williamson launches her 2024 campaign at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on March 4, 2023.
ABC News

"I'm so glad that President Trump did not win the last election," Williamson said Saturday. "That means we didn't go over the cliff, but I'll tell you something, we're still six inches away from the cliff."

During her campaign launch, she positioned herself to the left of Biden as she railed against an "atomizer spray of economic injustice" she said is behind much of the problems plaguing society.

"Policy after policy after policy made sure that those who already have will probably get more and those who do not will have a hard time even surviving," she said.

In response, she advocated for universal health care, free higher education, free child care and a guaranteed living wage.

"They have had their day," Williamson said of big pharmaceutical, agricultural and oil companies. "Corporate tyranny will end now."

Williamson made no mention of Biden in her speech, though she repeatedly criticized the governing system.

"People who have the solutions do not have the power," Williamson said. "Once again, let the people get in there, we'll handle it from there."