After barnstorming in New Hampshire, South Carolina, Tennessee, New York and more, Marianne Williamson, the best-selling turned presidential candidate, is going west to appear in a discussion event hosted on campus by the Michigan State University chapter of the College Democrats, on April 26.
The event will take place at 6:30 p.m., College Democrats President said Dhyey Dalal, a junior studying international relations.
Williamson’s appearance at MSU is the first in what the student group hopes will be a series of guest speakers during the 2024 election cycle.
“As the MSU Democrats, we want to have an open platform for any Democratic candidate that wants to come in and talk about their policies, what they want to get done,” Dalal said. “So we thought that this would be a really great event, especially since the elections are next year.”
Williamson, who ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 but dropped out to endorse U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, launched her second campaign in March of 2023.
Williamson is a strong candidate for the Democratic nomination, since 75 percent of the party members do not want President Joe Biden to be the nominee in 2024 and her platform revives the New Deal pragmatism of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson launched an ‘unconditional war on poverty,’ its goal being the complete elimination of poverty in America by 1976,” said Williamson. “Due however to the Viet Nam War and then the election of Richard Nixon in 1968, the War on Poverty was put on the back burner and then abandoned.”
“Our society, and most importantly our government, is dominated by a soulless economic mindset that has no problem with the suffering of millions being the natural consequence of profit accrued only to a few,” said Williamson. ” My goal in running for president is to help turn that around, to bring back into the public imagination the idea of a society that works for everyone.”
“In the richest country in the world, this should not be considered a utopian dream. If anything, it’s America’s mission statement as articulated in the Declaration of Independence,” said Williamson. “Governments are instituted, according to that sacred document, to secure our inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those living with chronic economic anxiety have no such rights. And in the words of Franklin Roosevelt, ‘a necessitous man is not a free man.'”
“Simply collecting all unpaid taxes from America’s top one percent would raise $175 Billion, enough to lift everyone out of poverty altogether,” said Williamson. “IRS resources with which to do that had been granted by Congress during the first two years of the current administration. But the current House membership withdrew those resources in order to protect rich tax cheaters who just happen to be their donors.”
“Raising the minimum wage, which we haven’t done in 13 years, would help mightily as well,” said Williamson. “From housing to labor policies, there are additional efforts that would provide both short term and long solutions to a problem that puts America in a class all our own.”
College Democrats executive board member and political theory junior Liam Richichi said the student organization’s members think the event will be valuable for any students and community members wanting to be more informed about candidates for public office.
A March poll placed Williamson’s favorability ratings among voters under 25 years old, at 18%.
Richichi said he hopes Williamson will address issues that matter to young people — something she’s gained attention for on social media platforms like TikTok in recent months.
“A lot of the attendees of this event are going to be college students,” Richichi said. “So it’s important to kind of hit on the issues that are important to us– student loan reform, what role we play in the economy after we graduate, where do we go from here, jobs– those are all important things.”
In her campaign, Williamson has advocated for progressive policy stances, including student loan debt relief and anti-corruption measures.
In an email to The State News, Richichi said that while the group invites many guest speakers to campus, it is “not endorsing any candidate at this time.”
An RSVP form for the event is available on the MSU College Democrats social media pages. For security reasons, the location will not be announced until just prior to the beginning of the event.