Update: On Friday, Marianne Williamson announced that she would no longer make a bid for president in the 2020 election. In a message to supporters, Williamson said, “With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now.”
This story was originally published on January 3, 2020.
Lots of people like to start off their new year with a cleanse of sorts, you know, to start fresh — some go with cleaning their home or trying to start fresh at the gym. For Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, a new year has started with a more specific kind of cleanse — firing her entire campaign staff.
On January 2, the self-help guru-turned-presidential-hopeful announced in a statement that she has laid off her whole campaign staff and will be relying on volunteers to snag her bid at political office. Yes, you read that right. But for those wondering, this doesn't mean that Marianne Williamson is throwing away her shot. She will be staying in the presidential race.
“We’ve had a wonderful team, and I am deeply grateful for their energy and talents. But as of today, we cannot afford a traditional campaign staff,” Williamson explained in her statement sent out Thursday night. She added that she’s not giving up, and that “a campaign not having a huge war chest should not be what determines its fate.”
At the height of her run for office, Williamson employed 45 campaign staff members in four different states. But, reports on Tuesday circulated, suspecting that Williamson was going to clean house and is now officially down to no paid staffers. According to sources who spoke to NBC, she made the decision based on financial issues. Williamson’s former representative from New Hampshire, Paul Hodes, as well as former campaign manager Patricia Ewing, confirmed that they are no longer working with the campaign. But of course, Williamson has backpedaled the decision already via Twitter.
The unconventional move is not such a surprise from this, well, unconventional candidate. Straying from mostly traditional campaign promises, Williamson previously stated that she’s running to bring a “moral and spiritual awakening” to the country. So far, her platform has included an Anti-Poverty Plan, which includes forgiving all student debt, and a more spiritual plan focusing on “Whole Health,” among others. Williamson has said little about concrete policy during debates, but she did make a splash in her proposal for a country-wide atonement for slavery.
Although it’s unclear how exactly she’s planning to helm the intense amount of work that needs to be done in order to run a presidential campaign, she’s determined to try. According to polls and, of course, the memes on Twitter, Williamson is one of the least liked and most mocked Democratic candidates this season. Besides being criticized for having dangerous ideas about disability and mental health, she’s also been pegged as a “woo woo” candidate for her more unusual, spiritual rhetoric.
Obviously trying to infuse her email to supporters with some positivity, Williamson said, “The point of my candidacy has been to tell the heart's truth and that does not cost money. Forging a new path for campaigns is going to be necessary, if we're ever to forge a new path for our country.” Trying to run an operation that big takes moolah, and anything she tries could only be called unpaid labor.
We know that Williamson, former roommate of actress Laura Dern, seems to live on a different plane of existence from us all, and now without a staff or money to back her campaign, one can only hope that the spirit of her presidential bid may not come back to haunt us.