Marianne Williamson was born in Houston, Texas, in 1952, to an immigration lawyer and a homemaker. Williamson and her two older siblings were raised as conservative Jews, and her father’s original last name was Vishnevetsky.

Marianne Williamson Bio: Early Life, Family, Background, Education

Williamson spent two years studying theater and philosophy at Pomona College in Claremont, California, before dropping out her junior year.

Marianne Williamson Bio: Books, Career

After leaving college, Williamson moved to New York City with the intention of performing as a cabaret singer. After living in the city for six years, Williamson read the book A Course in Miracles and subsequently moved back to Houston in 1979 to start a metaphysical bookstore/coffee shop.

After living in her hometown for four more years, Williamson moved to Los Angeles in 1983 and begin giving lectures based on A Course in Miracles. Williamson later said that the book was her “path out of hell,” as she had been “mired in a series of unhappy love affairs, alcohol and drug abuse, a nervous breakdown, and endless sessions with therapists.”

She published her first book, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles, in 1992, catapulting her into stardom. A Return to Love was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 39 weeks in the ‘Advice, How To and Miscellaneous’ category.

Over the course of her career, Williamson has published 13 books, eight of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list and four of which reached the #1 spot on the list. Most of them focus on Williamson’s spiritualism, claiming that most problems can be solved by the heart and the power of love.

Williamson has been very prominent in the activist community, advocating for causes such as HIV/AIDS, women’s rights, peace-building and poverty alleviation. In the 1980s during the AIDS crisis, Williamson founded the Centers for Living which provided refuge and psychological support for those suffering from the illness. In 1989 she launched Project Angel Food which built off of the network created by the Centers for Living to deliver food to those confined to their homes by diseases such as AIDS.

Marianne Williamson Bio: Entrance Into Politics

In 2014 Williamson unsuccessfully ran for the House of Representatives in western Los Angeles County as an independent, campaigning on a wide variety of progressive causes such as universal health care, climate change, and LGBTQ issues. She came fourth out of 16 candidates, with 14,335 votes for 13.2% of the ballots cast.

“Politics comes from an ancient Latin root politeia, doesn’t mean of the government means of the people so the idea that any of us are in politics as opposed to anyone else is part of the problem,” told uPolitics Williamson when asked how she got into politics. “There’s a kind of Wizard of Oz quality that something’s going on behind that curtain that the rest of us just don’t understand. Trust me I’ve been behind the curtain that’s not the way it works. The American people need to remember that the power in this country belongs to the people. In that sense, I’ve been involved in politics since the day I was born.”

“I’ve always been extremely attuned to political issues, I’ve always been deeply politically active,” added the author. “I grew up in a generation where we read Alan Watts and Ram Dass in the morning and went to anti-war protests in the afternoon.”

Marianne Williamson Bio: Personal Life, Partner, Daughter

Williamson was briefly married at some point in the 1980s or 90s but has not disclosed the name of her previous spouse. In 1990 Williamson gave birth to a daughter, India Emma.

Marianne Williamson Bio: 2020 Campaign

On January 28, 2019, Williamson announced that she would be entering the 2020 presidential race as a Democrat. She was able to receive enough donations and rank high enough in the polls to qualify for the first and second rounds of Democratic primary debates.

When asked by uPolitics about why she had entered the presidential race, Williamson said, “We are now living at a time of crisis, deep crisis.”

“It’s an integrative approach to politics that we need today, just like we have an integrative approach to health,” replied the spiritual guru. “It’s not that you take care of your nutrition and your exercise and your lifestyle or go to the doctor, you do all of them. But the more you take care of your nutrition and your exercise and your lifestyle the less likely it is that you will end up at the doctor. It’s all of the above and that’s how we have to see politics as well.”

“The same psychological, emotional, and spiritual dynamics that prevail within one person prevails within a nation, so if you know what helps one person change you’re the one who has a clue as to what would change the world,” said Williamson about why she believed she was qualified to be the Democratic nominee. “I believe that my skillsets developed over 35 years of being very up close and personal with what people actually go through in their daily lives has given me deep insight into the damage done in peoples lives by bad public policy and it has also given me deep insight into what it takes for people to transform into a place where they are not only open to new policies but absolutely ready to make them manifest.”

2020 Stances (With links to exclusive uPolitics interviews)

Economy:

  • Williamson supports traditional progressive ecnomic policies such as repealing the 2017 Trump tax cut, closing corporate loopholes, being harder on big pharma, and instituting a 3% tax on billionaires and a 2% tax on those with over $500 million
  • The spiritual guru also believes that policies alone cannot fix the American economy and that inequality will be solved by a moral and philosophical understanding of the way in which big corporations are treating individual people

Emotion And Psychology:

  • Williamson believes that “there’s a 21st-century whole-person perspective that has permeated every single aspect of American culture except politics,” and that she alone is attempting to remedy that.
    • “Establishment thinking has no emotional or psychological insight,” she said. “Not recognizing, and therefore not factoring in these elements, it doesn’t have the perspicacity that is necessary to lead us out of the ditch that we are now in.”

Healthcare

  • Williamson believes that “healthcare should be seen as a right and not just a privilege,” but that healthcare reform should begin with the public option instead of immediately jumping to Medicare-for-all.
    • She explained her reluctance to begin with universal healthcare by saying, “I would wish to be an agent of change but not an agent of chaos. I believe that that would be disruptive in a way that could lock the brakes.”  Willaimson emphasized that she doesn’t “want to go down on that one issue by taking things more shockingly” than they need to be taken.

Immigration:

  • Williamson supports creating an easier path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, as well as smoothing the asylum process for those seeking refuge
    • Williamson emphasizes that the American people must recognize the place of desperation that immigrants are coming from. “There’s a closing of the American heart, for us not to consider what someone has to be living through in a place like Honduras,” said Williamson. “Where the violence is so great day after day that you’re willing to cross a desert with a small child in the hopes of seeking asylum.”

Climate Change:

  • Williamson advocates for changing the way that the government approaches the climate crisis, stating that “the EPA should be a magnet for world-class environmentalists,” instead of being full of former fossil fuel company executives
  • She also supports other standard progressive ideas such as renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, and shaking up the animal farming industry in order to reduce gasses produced by animals and the crops they consume.

Abortion:

  • Williamson is a staunch supporter of abortion, claiming that anti-abortion legislation is an “attack on women and an attack on the empowerment of women.”
    • She believes that the “government should have no say in a woman’s moral choices,” and that while abortion is a moral choice, “it is an issue of private morality, that is very different than public morality. The government has no right to interfere with our moral choices.”
    • Williamson supports protecting reproductive rights any way possible

Foreign Policy:

  • Williamson proposes that the United States should focus not on militarily defending its economic interests abroad but on propping up the rest of the world in order to create global wellbeing and reduce the causes of war. She lists four goals that the United States needs to help other countries pursue which will usher in a new age of world peace
    1. Expanding economic opportunities for women
    2. Expanding educational opportunities for children
    3. Reducing violence against women
    4. Reducing unnecessary human suffering wherever possible

Reforming the Electoral System:

  • Williamson supports lowering the voting age to 16, stating, “I think these kids should have much more of a say in what’s going to happen in their lives.”
  • She also backs the idea of making voter registration automatic upon one’s birthday so that once you become old enough to vote you there is nothing standing in your way.
    • In that same vein Williamson, like many others, advocates for either making election day a federal holiday or moving it to a Saturday so that those with full-time jobs can participate in the elections
  • The spiritual guru believes that “the most important thing for us to do is to be so real with politics, for a change, that people believe there’s a reason to vote because ultimately more people voting is the only antidote to some of the undemocratic processes that are eroding our democracy today.”

Gun Control:

  • Williamson supports universal background checks and closing legal loopholes that allow for dangerous individuals to get their hands on guns
  • She also asserts that bump stocks and assault rifles like the AR-15 must be banned, and the ammo for such rifles must be banned as well to truly prevent their use.
  • She opposes creating a national gun registry as many believe that law enforcement would abuse a database containing information about people of color who own guns

Criminal Justice Reform:

  • Williamson believes that the war on drugs disproportionately affects minorities who do drugs at the same rate as white people “but get sentenced twice as long.” Therefore she would decriminalize most drugs and legalize marijuana
    • She would also provide mental health counseling for law enforcement that would include racial training
  • The candidate is also a big supporter of restorative justice and helping those caught up in the justice system escape a cycle of violence
    • She advocates for providing job training for those who were incarcerated, as well as banning the box asking whether applicants have a criminal history
    • Williamson would provide tax benefits to businesses who would be willing to hire those convicted of marijuana-related crimes
  • Williamson believes that the justice system has “become so standardized, so corporatized, instead of being human,” and that America needs to bring the heart back to its criminal system.
    • She believes that the country needs to “give judges back the art of judging,” allowing them more individual leeway when deciding cases

Impeachment:

  • Williamson “absolutely” believes the president has committed impeachable offenses, but she does believe that if impeachment proceeded “the president would use it as a major political tool. ‘poor Donald,’ would be the cry.”

Income Inequality:

  • Williamson believes that trickle-down economics and the established financial system “has brought us to the largest income inequality since 1929” and has “decimated our middle class.”
  • She would fix this crisis by repealing the 2017 tax cut and replacing it with a middle-class tax cut, making college free, instituting a national $15 an hour minimum wage (supported by government subsidies), and wiping away student debt.
  • “Incremental changes on some policy levels are not going to be enough to do this,” asserted Williamson in an interview with uPolitics. “Our democracy has been taken out from under us and all core values of economic justice have been corroded.”

Education:

  • Williamson believes that the first step towards improving the lives of children in America is to establish a Department of Children and Youth to address their health. “We have children in the United States who are traumatized before they reach pre-school,” said Williamson.
  • She would also reform the education system by abolishing standardized testing, which she labels an “utter failure.”
    • Instead, the spiritual guru believes that “the art of teaching should be returned to the classroom,” and that classrooms across the country should be “a palace of learning and culture and the arts.”
  • Williamson would use federal mandates to ensure a level of educational quality across the states, as well as requiring that history be taught in schools. “If you don’t know as a child what the bill of rights is, then you don’t know as an adult to be appalled when it is under assault,” she asserted.
  • She also opposes the idea that educational funding is based upon property tax, saying that it perpetuates cycles of wealth and inequality among minority groups.

Foreign Election Interference:

  • Williamson would take major tech companies to task and remind them that national security “is an issue of patriotism” that is more important than simply “making their next billion.”

Unconventional Ideas:

  • Williamson opposes packing the Supreme Court, saying, “we’ll have just the same thing we have now in terms of proportionality.” She believes that packing the court will also reduce the importance of adding judges to the bench, which would create apathy surrounding the judicial system.
  • She also supports abolishing the electoral college as she thinks it is silly that California has the same number of senators as North Dakota
  • Williamson would grant statehood to Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, contingent upon the agreement of the locals