Marianne Williamson sees if New Age can win votes in New Hampshire

Marianne Williamson’s presidential longshot flew down the aisle of the two-century-old granite church and came to an elegant stop to bow to dozens of supporters who chanted her name.

The author, the most prominent Democrat to appear in New Hampshire’s first presidential primary on Tuesday, spent most of her adult life in Los Angeles before moving east in 2018.

Williamson, who never held elected office but was once dubbed Spiritual guru Oprah Winfrey, has almost zero chance of denying President Biden his renomination. Polls suggest many New Hampshire voters may write in Biden, who will not appear on the ballot after the Democratic Party decided to revoke the state’s first-in-the-nation status and make South Carolina the first official primary.

When asked what she plans to do after Tuesday's primary, Marianne Williamson said she will follow her heart.

A crowd of presidential candidate Marianne Williamson gathered at a Unitarian church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Saturday. The long-shot candidate has next to no chance of winning the state’s votes, but she may be the best-known candidate on the Democratic ticket because President Biden won’t be on it. When asked what she plans to do after Tuesday’s primary, Marianne Williamson said she will follow her heart.

(Faith Pinho/Los Angeles Times)

But Williamson’s quixotic second run for the White House (she also ran in 2020) is a test of another question: Exactly how many of these supposedly flinty New Hampshire women will vote for a woman who has been stereotyped as a «woo woo» Californian?

The Texan’s ties to California go back decades. In 1970 she moved to California attending Pomona College where she studied theater and philosophy and protested the Vietnam War before dropping out a few years later. After bouncing around the nation and being sidelined Entertainment Weekly She moved to LA in 1983 and shared an apartment with actress Laura Dern.

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Williamson, 71, has become a spiritual leader and written more than a dozen books, including one Winfrey promoted saying, «No book has ever moved me more than this one.» Her books have been bought by the millions and she was adored by celebrities at the 1991 wedding of Elizabeth Taylor and Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

Williamson was also actively involved in charities that helped people with HIV or living in poverty.

She came to believe that the two-party system disenfranchises the average voter by favoring the interests of wealthy elites.

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, center, is thrilled by the crowd.

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, center, is cheered by the crowd after finishing her speech at The Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth on Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. «The most important things you do in life are not because there’s guaranteed success on some external level, but because you feel in your heart that it’s the right thing to do,» Williamson, 71, said during an interview in New York.

(Jose Juarez/Associated Press)

«Most Americans are demonstrably a little left of center,» Williamson said in an interview with The Times last year. “The problem is that we have a political system that is more committed to the short-term profits of their corporate donors than to the will of their own voters. Their idea of ​​an acceptable candidate is someone who will keep the system as it is. We need someone from the president to disrupt this system.»

Williamson’s message resonates with a diverse group, but especially with people who believe that changing the system begins with changing oneself. Her followers include fans of her books, disillusioned Democrats and some former Bernie Sanders supporters.

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But not many New Hampshire voters.

When she arrived at South Church Unitarian Universalist in Portsmouth this weekend, the pews were filled with almost as many volunteers as voters.

Orson Maazel drove from rural Virginia to volunteer for the campaign. Wearing a «Disrupt the Corump» hoodie, he said he was drawn to Williamson because she’s an outsider who doesn’t take money from corporations.

«I agree with her that we don’t just need the people who got us into the climate mess we’re in and the economic mess we’re in to get us out of the system,» Maazel, 35, said. «We need someone out there that nobody buys and who has really good character.»

Williamson brought tears to the eyes of Nicole Dillon, 47, who lives in Massachusetts. Dillon, who didn’t know Williamson much before the event, said she likes the candidate’s messages about advocating for women and children, ending the war on drugs and fighting climate change.

Dillon watched intently as, about 20 minutes into Williamson’s stump speech, a man approached the podium, took the candidate by the hand and quietly thanked her. The 50 or so people sitting in the pews watched in uneasy silence until several security guards approached the man to escort him off the stage.

«Can you sit with me now?» Williamson said quietly to the man.

He turned, noticed the crowd in the pews, and with a surprised expression allowed the security guard to usher him down the aisle, apologizing for the disturbance.

“I just tripped over his birthday,” the guard said, shrugging and laughing as he ushered the man out. «He draws all kinds!»

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«He was drawn to her truth and her light,» Dillon said. “She was so tender and motherly to him. She is very maternal; he will gather us all in his basket and take care of us.»

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson answers a question from University of Michigan senior Mahi Vyas.

Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, second from right, answers a question from University of Michigan senior Mahi Vyas, 20, at The Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth, Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

(Jose Juarez/Associated Press)

But neither Dillon nor Maazel can vote in the New Hampshire primary.

Only 2% of registered Democratic voters in New Hampshire said they planned to vote for Williamson, compared to 64% who planned to write in on Biden’s behalf, according to a recent Suffolk University poll.

“It has a perspective that really resonates with a certain percentage of the population. The question is, will it ever be enough to catch on nationally? said Ray Buckley, chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic Party. “I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think she’s a good person. He’s in it for the right reasons. She just doesn’t seem to connect with enough voters to be successful.»

Perhaps the inability to connect with voters stems in part from her unusual political presence. Williamson peppered his talk with $20 words, book titles and quotes. Her answers to voters’ questions often referred to books she had read and sometimes to an esoteric history lesson.

She has repeatedly expressed frustration at the Democratic National Committee’s rejection of her campaign. In several states — including North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee — Biden will be the only Democratic candidate on the ballot.

If something were to happen to the president that would prevent him from running for a second term, «I guess their idea would be to install (California Gov.) Gavin Newsom…» she said before trailing off. «I don’t know. I don’t know any more than the next one.»

Tables near the entrance with «Marianne Williamson for President» signs, buttons and stickers were still full at the end of the night.

#Marianne #Williamson #sees #Age #win #votes #Hampshire

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