April 19 (UPI) -- Spiritual lecturer and best-selling author Marianne Williamson is seeking to earn the Democratic nomination for president in 2020 by promising to disrupt the modern political system.
Williamson first announced her bid for the White House in January, saying that America is in a broken state and in need of "political visionary" more than a "political mechanic."
"I do not see American politics today as a conduit for a deep and meaningful transformative experience, either for our citizens or for our country," she states on her campaign website. "Our government is now little more than a system of legalized bribery, and our traditional political establishment at its best is a container for an obsolete conversation about democracy and values and people."
In an op-ed for CNN, Williamson wrote that the United States is becoming an aristocracy.
"While I have spent my career empowering people and turning them into leaders, Washington has been disempowering people and turning them into followers," she wrote. "The stress and anxiety that has become so endemic in American society, due to chronic economic and social despair, has fostered a population disconnected from civic engagement. Today, this chronic disempowerment represents a threat to our democracy."
She laid out plans to "transform the American political consciousness and encourage powerful citizen involvement to heal society" and her early views on how her belief in healing can affect politics in her 1997 book Healing the Soul of America.
"For years, I thought I only had to heal myself and the world would take care of itself," she wrote. "Clearly we must work on healing our own neuroses in order to become effective healers. But then, having worked on our own issues a while, another question begs for an answer: How healed can we ultimately become while the social systems in which we live and move and have our earthly being remain sick?"
Williamson previously ran an unsuccessful campaign for the 33rd congressional district of California as an Independent in 2014.
Since launching her presidential campaign, Williamson has supported social programs such as Medicare for all, preschool for all children and exploring ways to provide free college tuition or offsetting tuition with a payroll tax.
She has also endorsed the Green New Deal and vowed to re-enter and expand the Paris Climate Accords.
"The current Paris Accords don't go far enough. They may help stem off the worst of the worst consequences, but what we need to be aiming for is to restore health," her website states. "We must put our full efforts behind continuing a global push to come into alignment on more robust goals and make the agreements enforceable, which they are currently not."
Williamson supports the Equality Act, which would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and other areas and described herself as "100 percent pro-choice," stating that attempts to curb Roe v. Wade protections for abortion rights will be "vigorously" resisted.
Williamson, 66, was born in Houston, where her father worked as an immigration lawyer and her mother was a homemaker. She was married briefly and has one daughter, India Emmaline.
She attended public schools in Houston and spent two years at Pomona College in California before independently studying comparative religion and philosophy, which led her to a series of books called A Course in Miracles.
In the 1980s, she worked to found Project Angel Food, a program that delivered food to home-bound people with AIDS in the Los Angles area.
Around the same time, Williamson began delivering lectures about A Course in Miracles. In 1992, she published her first book, A RETURN TO LOVE: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles.
The book gained the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who featured the book on her television show, eventually leading it to become the fifth-largest selling book in the country the year it was released.
Williamson appeared on Winfrey's show multiple times throughout the years and went on to publish 11 other books, four of which became New York Times bestsellers.