Democrats Are on a 'Disastrous Path' to Midterm Loss, Marianne Williamson Warns

Author and progressive activist Marianne Williamson (who contributes opinion articles to Newsweek) has warned that the Democratic Party is risking a midterm defeat in 2022 because President Joe Biden and his allies are dragging their feet on student loan forgiveness, minimum wage reform and coronavirus relief payments.

During the election campaign, Biden vowed to work toward a $2,000 stimulus payment for all Americans, to make higher education more affordable for the middle classes and to raise the federal minimum wage. Since taking office, however, the president has signalled more moderate action than his progressive supporters had hoped for.

The new administration is pushing for $1,400 coronavirus payments and a gradual rise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The president has also said he will not sign an order to cancel $50,000 in student loans despite pressure from the left.

Williamson—who failed in a 2014 run for the House of Representatives as an independent and withdrew from the 2020 Democratic primaries to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders—said these early signs should concern Democrats hoping to retain control of Congress in 2022.

"If they're not going to do $2k a month and they're not going to do student loan debt cancellation and they're not going to do an immediate $15 minimum wage hike, how do Democrats expect to get enough people to vote for them in '22?" Williamson wrote on Twitter. "We're on a disastrous path here..."

In an earlier tweet, Williamson had expressed frustration at the behaviour of establishment Democrats. "Centrist Democrats have told progressives to sit down and shut up—that only they know how to get power and keep it," she wrote. "From their unwillingness to cancel college loan debt to no Medicare4All, boy is the opposite true. Gear up for a new Progressive Era in America. People are ready."

Biden sparked progressive anger this week when he told a town hall event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that he would not forgive $50,000 in federally held student debt per borrower. The president had been urged to do this by executive order, a power he has used extensively since taking office.

"I will not make that happen," Biden said. "I do think in this moment of economic pain and strain that we should be eliminating interest on the debts that are accumulated, No. 1. And No. 2, I'm prepared to write off the $10,000 debt, but not [$50,000]."

His remarks were criticized by prominent Democrats. Majority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren issued a joint statement decrying the "ocean of student loan debt" that is "holding back 43 million borrowers and disproportionately weighing down Black and Brown Americans."

The senators added: "It's time to act. We will keep fighting."

Joe Biden is pictured in the Oval
President Joe Biden meets with labor union leaders in the Oval Office of the White House on February 17. Progressive Democrats have criticized his stance on student loan debt. Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty Images/Getty