What the Left Can Hope to Gain From a Marianne Williamson Presidential Bid
She won't win, but she can help.
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Last week, Marianne Williamson announced her candidacy for the 2024 Democratic Presidential nomination, giving Biden his first official primary challenger. Talk of whether or not the 80-year-old Biden will seek reelection has been a constant since he assumed office, considering he is the second oldest living President behind Jimmy Carter (98).
If Biden does decide to seek reelection, it is unlikely any mainstream Democrats will risk their standing in the party by challenging him, leaving Williamson as the sole contender.
What a Williamson Presidency would look like is a moot question, as she has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the nomination. But what her candidacy could yield, and whether or not it would benefit the Left is a separate question, one worth our consideration. To provide an answer to how Leftists should view Marianne Williamson’s 2024 Presidential bid, I must reluctantly wade into the murky waters of electoralism.
Electoralism is broadly defined as the process of a slow and gradual transition from minority rule to democracy. Typically, it refers to a dictatorship or oligarchy slowly shifting decision-making power from themselves to their subjects, gradually paving the way to majority rule. As you can probably guess, cases in which dictatorships have actually relinquished power are few and far between.
In the American context, electoralism refers to the question of whether or not we should participate in the Federal electoral process, which many Leftists — myself included — see as illegitimate. The Left tends to be split on this issue, with some holding their nose and voting for Democrats, while others abstain from the duopoly altogether.
Personally, my approach to electoralism is as follows: Voting won’t save us, but it will help us.
The people will never be allowed to vote away the gross inequalities of Capitalism, for the simple reason those very inequalities enable Capitalists to control the government. For example, Black people didn’t win voting rights through voting, but through extrajudicial means such as marches, lunch counter sit-ins, strikes, and yes — occasional violence.
But what is also true is that while Federal elections are undemocratic, they provide a national stage and a very loud microphone to address the public. And as we’ve unfortunately learned from the political career of a not-to-be-named game show host, that platform can be used to propagate ideas and promote policies otherwise excluded by corporate-owned politicians and media.
A Self-Help Candidacy
When it comes to Marianne Williamson, I don’t see a plausible path to the Presidency. A sitting American president has never been successfully primaried, and I highly doubt this self-help guru will be the first to do it. (I should also note Williamson has a wacky and sometimes problematic past, which you can learn all about from this podcast episode.)
But what I do see in Williamson is someone who could stand on a debate stage across from Biden and state values and policies common to the Socialist project. Williamson is no Socialist (IDK what to label her), but her candidacy announcement video echoed what Leftists have been saying about the United States for years.
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