January 10, 2020 at 5:23 pm PST | by Chris Johnson
Self-help guru Marianne Williamson drops presidential bid

Marianne Williamson told the Washington Blade she honors gay love “because it’s love.” (Photo by Marcn via Facebook)

Spiritualist and self-help guru Marianne Williamson has dropped her bid for the presidency, ending the campaign of an idiosyncratic Democratic candidate who once won helped gay men dying of HIV/AIDS at the height of the epidemic.

Williamson announced she had ended her campaign Friday in a message on her website, saying she didn’t want to her candidacy to make it tougher for progressives to win.

Additionally, Williamson — who had a garnered attention on the sheer basis of the peculiarity of her candidacy — acknowledged she likely wouldn’t the support in the upcoming primary contests to challenge President Trump in the general election.

Williamson had never polled higher than 1 percent nationally, although she had enough support and donations to qualify for the first two presidential debates under the Democratic National Committee rules.

Williamson’s imminent departure from the race was expected. Media reports had indicated she had terminated the entirety of her campaign staff as of early this month due to lack of campaign contributions.

A Los Angeles-based self-help guru who’s a favorite among the Hollywood elite, Williamson had built a reputation in the 1980s for helping gay men at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

At the time, she founded the Los Angeles and Manhattan Centers for Living, which sought to provide free non-medical care to people with HIV, and Project Angel Food, which delivers food to homebound people with AIDS.

But many Democrats were frustrated with her candidacy in the 2020 election, believing her spiritual outlook was absurd and she was a sideshow hampering the party’s chance to remove Trump from the White House.

Williamson also made controversial comments suggesting she’s skeptical of vaccinations, which are widely regarded in the medical community as safe and effective, and grew testy in interviews when asked about the issue.

Additionally, Williamson was accused of telling people with HIV/AIDS in the 1980s spiritualism would cure them of the fatal disease, although she had insisted on the campaign trail she had only sought to comfort people afflicted with the deadly virus when medical help was limited.

Williamson’s vision for a “Politics of Love” drew attention at the first Democratic debate when — in a eye-brow raising moment — she said she’d beat Trump as the Democratic presidential nominee in a “field of love.”

Despite being mocked for those remarks, Williamson in an interview last year with the Washington Blade said her vision applies to LGBTQ people.

“I don’t think that there’s gender to love, I don’t think there’s sexuality to love,” Williamson said. “I think that sexuality and gender are the containers and the ways we express our love, but I think love is love. I honor gay love because it’s love. I honor love.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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