democratic debates

Marianne Williamson’s Weirdest, Most Wonderful Debate Moments

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Moderators didn’t get around to Marianne Williamson until about 30 minutes into Thursday’s Democratic debate. But they quickly learned that anytime they called on the self-help author, she’d take the conversation in new and exciting directions. Throughout the evening, Williamson continued to serve up the sort of bizarre, love-infused asides that one yearns for when trying to decide who should lead the nation. Here are some of her best moments.

Make America Use Slogans Again

As the field discussed the nuances of policy plans on health care and immigration, the New Age guru tried to make sure viewers didn’t get distracted by all that airy stuff. “We’ve got to get deeper than these superficial fixes,” Williamson said. “If you think we’re going to beat Donald Trump just by having all these plans, you got another thing coming.”

The solution? More slogans. Williamson cited the president’s catchphrase-laden path to victory in 2016 as something to emulate: “He didn’t win by saying he had a plan, he won by simply saying ‘Make America Great Again.’”

What Really Ails the Nation

Blaming Americans’ high rates of chronic illness on the country’s for-profit health-care system? Any Democrat can do that. Williamson took a broader view, pointing to the nation’s “chemical policies, “food policies,” and environmental decay. “We don’t have a health-care system in the United States, we have a sickness-care system in the United States.” (Absent in her survey of health care was a reiteration of her recent comment calling vaccines “draconian.”)

Pivoting to the Moon

The Kardashian candidate decided Eric Swalwell’s call for Biden to “pass the torch to the generation that’s going to feel the effects of climate change” was the perfect opportunity to start talking about the space race. (All things considered, there are worse analogies for the effort and political motivation it will require to decarbonize in the next decade.)

A Call to New Zealand

When Chuck Todd asked the candidates what policy goals they’d tackle during their first year in office, Williamson offered a response that no one saw coming. “My first call is to the prime minister of New Zealand, who said that her goal is to make New Zealand the place where it’s the best place in the world for a child to grow up, and I would tell her, girlfriend, you are so wrong, because the United States of America is going to be the best place in the world for a child to grow up.”

Deciphering the Accent

One major topic of conversation among debate viewers: Williamson’s accent. She’s from Houston, but the overall effect of her delivery is old-timey rich East Coast Establishment without the dropped r’s of the Kennebunkport crowd. Several Twitter users identified it as the extinct Mid-Atlantic accent, that prewar hybrid of British and American English.

Plowing Into the Field of Love

Closing statements are often just an opportunity to get in a stump-speech excerpt. Often, but not always:

A Strong Showing Online

In the Google trend primary, Williamson certainly appeared to take the evening — even if viewers were searching to find out why she was onstage.

And one Democratic candidate who didn’t make the debate — or at least the teenage crew running his social-media accounts — was impressed by the energy on stage left.

It may not help her secure the Democratic nomination, but it seems Williamson has acquired some new fans. Post-debate, many people found themselves reveling in her old Twitter gems.

Marianne Williamson’s Weird and Wonderful Debate Moments