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So long, Marianne: Williamson suspends long shot Democratic presidential campaign

Marianne Williamson, the self-help guru and former spiritual adviser to Oprah Winfrey, has announced that she is suspending her bid to challenge Joe Biden for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination after a disappointing start to primary season.

Ms Williamson, 71, had said she was determined to offer voters an alternative to a second term for President Biden, 81, but picked up only 5,000 votes in New Hampshire, and then just 2 per cent of the vote in South Carolina, and around 3 per cent in Nevada on Tuesday.

“I hope future candidates will take what works for them, drinking from the well of information we prepared,” she wrote as she announced the end of her campaign.

“My team and I brought to the table some great ideas, and I will take pleasure when I see them live on in campaigns and candidates yet to be created.”

Her departure leaves Minnesota congressman Dean Phillips as the only well-known candidate still in the race to challenge President Biden but with little realistic prospect of success, a situation offering a close parallel to the Republican contest, where Donald Trump is storming to the nomination with only ex-ambassador Nikki Haley left, vainly attempting to stop him.

While President Biden picked up a big win in New Hampshire without even appearing on the ballot paper thanks to a huge grassroots write-in effort and has since chalked up further wins in South Carolina and Nevada, he continues to poll poorly, raising disquiet about his ability to appeal to undecided voters come November.

Ms Williamson, unapologetically eccentric in her public pronouncements, also ran for the Democratic nomination in 2020 and made headlines by calling for a “moral uprising” against Mr Trump’s presidency, warning of the “dark psychic force” he represented and proposing the establishment of a Department of Peace within the federal government.

Less contentiously, she also supported paying financial reparations to Black Americans as atonement for centuries of slavery and discrimination.

Ms Williamson began her campaign this time around at Washington Union Station last March by declaring: “It is our job to create a vision of justice and love that is so powerful that it will override the forces of hatred and injustice and fear.”

She signed off in typically idiosyncratic fashion on Wednesday evening with a video posted to X entitled “Much to be grateful for…” that began with her offering a motivational quote: “Sunsets are proof that endings can be beautiful too.”

Ms Williamson thanked her supporters, donors and volunteers and told them: “We laid it down in ways that we should all be proud of.

“We spoke for those who could not speak for themselves in this society. We spoke for those whose lives are falling apart, at least indirectly, because of bad public policy.

“We spoke of those who are struggling because of environmental crises, because of racial crises, because of criminal crises, because of economic crises. We did what we could to shed some light in some very darkened times.”

She urged her supporters not to lose “hope” and assured them: “The arc of history is what matters.”