By Tiana Lowe
The Washington Examiner
September 05, 2019
Self-help author Marianne Williamson is either leading or tied with two United States congressmen, the mayor of New York City, and a Democratic power-playing billionaire in the polling average for the Democratic primary. She's a stone's throw away from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and her unique donor count has surpassed another senator and a governor.
She's running a long-shot bid, one widely mocked as dead-on-arrival at the outset and a pie-in-the-sky vanity project. Yet, her persistent grassroots support tells a different story: Williamson has tapped into a void of representation in the Democratic Party.
Williamson has suffered any number of slights. Vogue left her out of a photo shoot of the female presidential candidates. She has received general hostility from cable news shows. This only highlights the cultural Left's disdain for her focus on the power of love and prayer.
But none distilled the divide more than the news cycle centered on her tweets about Hurricane Dorian, the category 5 storm hugging the southeastern seaboard and threatening millions of American homes.
"The Bahamas, Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas...may all be in our prayers now, " Williamson wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "Millions of us seeing Dorian turn away from land is not a wacky idea; it is a creative use of the power of the mind. Two minutes of prayer, visualization, meditation for those in the way of the storm."
Williamson's questionable tweets entertaining the pseudoscience of anti-vaccination aside, her call to prayer wasn't worthy of the Left's contempt or derision. Sure, prayer may not literally push the path of a hurricane, but like hundreds of millions of religious Americans, Williamson understands that prayer posits a kind of power — certainly, it is at least as powerful as cursing a storm or publicly calling (praying?) for the passage of legislation on Twitter.
Later in the day, Williamson rightly slammed her critics.
You can privately believe that prayer constitutes nothing but hocus-pocus poppycock, but Williamson is 100% correct. More than 3 out of every 4 Americans believe in a religious faith, the overwhelming majority of whom practice one of the three major monotheistic religions. Mocking people for praying in times of hardship, be it for illness or hurricanes or gun violence, may fly in the hallways of the Ivy League philosophy departments, but the Left's instinct to write off faith will leave them in the electoral dust.
It's a moral failure, but also a strategic one. Joe Biden, who has been vocal about his Catholic faith and made the politics of empathy central to his campaign, is dominating the Democratic field, in large part due to his support from black voters, who tend to be more religious than average. Demanding action on issues like climate change matters to Democratic voters, but a lot of them see through the mockery of "thoughts and prayers."
Williamson gets it. The question is whether her competitors will.