A History Lesson with a Self-Help Guru
DES MOINES, Iowa — On September 30, Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson started her speech to a packed hall at Drake University by walking out prematurely and subsequently lurking in the corner while her staffers insisted that she, “still backstage,” was excited to speak to us.
After her premature introduction, Williamson walked on stage to a roaring crowd of students and community members. Waving to a sea of navy and pink signs that read “Marianne 2020,” Williamson launched into a speech that differed starkly from past stump speeches presented at Drake by candidates such as Tom Steyer, John Delaney, and Andrew Yang that words struggle to do it justice.
Williamson’s performance featured frequent hand gestures coupled with a raspy voice and resembled a poorly organized history lesson. She attempted to explain topics from the American Revolution to slavery, World War II, and Bush’s trickle-down economics. She juxtaposed encouraging the crowd to not be afraid of overthrowing a government that fails to protect them with encouraging the crowd to peacefully demand change on the amount of defense spending. Williamson’s oscillations between issues and lessons from history left audience members confused about the content of her speech and what exactly Williamson would prioritize in the White House.
Zo Treibitz, a freshman at Drake, struggled to follow all of Williamson’s explanations. She said, “I was a little confused as a Jew how she managed to relate our high holiday of Yom Kippur to an AA meeting. I wasn’t sure how to feel about it.”
At the end of the night, Williamson opened up the floor to questions. Her second question came from a Republican who asked whether Williamson would shut down all the pork and beef farms in the State of Iowa when those farms make up a majority of Iowa’s economy. Williamson responded that she would not shut them down but would hire experts from Iowa to make decisions because states should have the opportunity to decide their own fate.
This question made it clear that Williamson, despite her knowledge of “the way things have been,” does not have a policy background or concrete policy plans. When in the candidate arena with the likes of Elizabeth Warren who claims to have a plan for everything, Williamson’s policy plans fall glaringly short.
The lack of cheering and clapping during a stump speech is a big sign of that, too.