Marianne Williamson, who declared her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on March 4, has reached ten percent in national polls less than one month after her announcement, when her support level was less than half that.
According to the FiveThirtyEight A-rated Echelon Insights March Omnibus Survey of likely voters, the campaign’s surge is due to Williamson’s message resonating with voters.
Even though most Democrats hold a favorable opinion of President Joe Biden, only one in four said that they want him to run for a second term according to a Monmouth University Poll of self-identified Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters.
There is a healthy appetite for a Biden primary challenger among Democrats, and right now, Williamson is the only one.
“They keep calling our campaign a ‘long shot’ as though to bolster a narrative,” said Williamson. “We’re a long shot like Donald Trump in 2016 and Barack Obama in 2008.”
More than 4 in 10 would prefer to see the incumbent step aside in favor of another candidate but such voters, however, do not have a clear idea of who they would like to see as the party’s nominee in Biden’s stead.
Williamson is urging supporters to contribute to her fundraising and step up as volunteers to continue the soaring growth among primary voters.
“Democrats appear to be saying they like the job Biden has done, but maybe it’s time for him to move on when his term is up,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute. “However, no top tier of candidates emerges when these voters are asked to name a preferred alternative. Part of that could simply be the holding pattern that Democrats are in because Biden has signaled that he will, in fact, run.”
Williamson suggested that such arguments are pushing a narrative intended to make people fell powerless, instead of opening their eyes to the possibilities presented by the upcoming election.
“There is no real respect for democracy here, no real respect for the will of the people or the right of the people to participate fully in the process,” said Williamson. “There is only an intent to perpetuate the system as it is – a little better here, a little better there – but never to be fundamentally altered.”
Williamson is not looking to make small changes that tinker with the fringes. She wants to make revolutionary changes to a broken system that has been subjected to a slow-moving corporate coup d’etat over the past four decades.
“If a military industrial complex is followed by a prison industrial complex is followed by a food industrial complex is followed by an insurance industrial complex is followed by an agriculture industrial complex is followed by a fossil fuel industrial complex is followed by a hospital industrial complex, at what point do we the people wake up to the danger of unfettered, monopolized industrial power and reject it?,” asked Williamson.
Among those who initially supported a candidate other than Biden during the 2020 presidential primary season, 44% feel their first-choice candidate would have done a better job as president.
Another 46% feel their initial preference would have performed about the same as Biden and just 9% feel that candidate would have done a worse job than Biden.
Bernie Sanders supporters (66%) are much more likely than those who backed Warren (35%) or another candidate (26%) to feel their initial choice would have done a better job than Biden.
The poll also asked Democratic voters about their views of leaders in the party. These opinions are largely positive, with varying levels of familiarity and name recognition.
It is difficult to predict how much support Marianne Williamson will gain in the 2024 race, especially as the election is still over two years away and much can change in that time.
Her current low name recognition among voters may pose a challenge to her candidacy, but Williamson shares many traits that fueled Sanders’ meteoric rise in his 2016 race.
Additionally, the political landscape in 2024 may be different from that of previous elections, and it is unclear how voters will respond to different candidates and issues.
As for the comparison between Williamson and Biden, it is difficult to say how voters will view their records and platforms, as this will depend on a variety of factors including media coverage, campaign messaging, and voter priorities.
Williamson drew plenty of attention in the first 2020 Democratic presidential debate with her closing argument, which sounded nothing like what Americans are used to hearing on the debate stage.
Addressing then-President Donald Trump directly, Williamson said, “I’m going to harness love for political purposes. I will meet you on that field. And, sir, love will win.”
While Biden and the political establishment are certainly not loving Williamson for stepping up- to challenge the incumbent, she seems intent on taking her case to the public.
“Our campaign is not about fighting for a better world; it’s about taking a stand for one,” said Williamson. “It’s about co-creating an economy with a humanitarian bottom line, launching a season of repair and beginning a new chapter in American history.”
“There were people seeking to dismantle even the slightest speck of humanity from the way we function as a country, enabling forces of greed to run unimpeded and roughshod over people and planet,” said Williamson. “We must continue to stand for a more humane society.”
While Biden has maintained his approval ratings largely in comparison with his predecessor, the election loser that he defeated in 2020, Williamson is staking a claim for support based on her affirmative agenda for restoring the quality of life for working class Americans whose prospects have been severely diminished over the past four decades.
“Trump gets indicted; Trump doesn’t get indicted,” said Williamson. “Either way 68,000 people still die each year because they don’t have healthcare; 18 million Americans cannot afford to fulfill the prescription their doctors give them; and one in four Americans live with medical debt.”
“An economic system disconnected from compassion and ethics is a sociopathic economic system,” said Williamson.