SIOUX CITY -- Fresh off an appearance at the Democratic debate Thursday night in Miami, presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson brought her spiritual campaign to Sioux City on Saturday afternoon.
"We have to unleash the spirit of the American people," Williamson told a crowd of about 25 gathered at Evolve Yoga, 411 Pearl St.
Williamson, 66, an author of 13 books (several of them bestsellers in the self-help category), a lecturer and progressive activist, has been trying to sell herself to primary voters as the candidate to beat President Trump in the 2020 election.
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Williamson made a highly publicized move to a condo in Des Moines earlier this month as a way of showing her commitment to the state and the political process. She has scheduled several campaign events in Cedar Rapids and Baldwin, Iowa, on Sunday, followed by another Cedar Rapids event July 14.
During Williamson's visit to the yoga studio, she called the Trump administration an "opportunistic infection" in the United States, which she said is suffering from a "societally weakened immune system."
A Democratic victory in 2020 could be short-lived, she warned the crowd, if the election is won solely with voters mobilized against Trump, but for the wrong sort of candidate and policies.
"(Even if) we win in 2020, the forces that he represents will be back in 2022," she said.
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Like other Democratic candidates, Williamson spoke at length about the dangers of money in politics and of a bloated military budget, with comparatively scant resources devoted to diplomacy.
"Dark money (in politics) -- this is the cancer underlying all other cancers," she said.
Williamson's vision for America includes, among other things, reparations for slavery -- she invoked General William T. Sherman's Civil War-era promise of "40 acres and a mule" for freed slaves, which never materialized. She has also proposed a new "Department of Peace" and a "Department of Children and Youth," cabinet-level positions charged with "waging peace" and advocating for young people, respectively.
"(Politicians) used to talk about 'peace and prosperity,'" she said. "Never really hear that phrase anymore, 'peace and prosperity.'"
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In a tweet early Saturday morning, Williamson responded to criticism that she has no policy plans (she said during the debate that plans alone cannot defeat Trump) with a link to her campaign's platform, including her ideas for climate change, crime prevention and criminal justice, education, food, gun safety, healthcare, immigration, LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights and Native American justice, and several others.
A self-described fan of J.D. Scholten, the Democratic candidate who lost Iowa's 4th district House race to Steve King in 2018, Williamson couldn't help but take a swipe at the long-serving conservative congressman.
"I think Steve King's days as an elected official are numbered, I feel very confident," she said.