Williamson and Phillips make their cases at Democratic candidate debate

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MANCHESTER, NH – On Monday, Jan. 8, Democratic Presidential Candidates Dean Phillips and Marianne Williamson took part in a Democratic debate during New England College’s College Convention at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in Manchester.

Here’s a recap of what they said.

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Marianne Williamson and Dean Phillips on Jan. 8, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Opening and Closing Statements

Phillips: He wants to turn the page and be a leader of the future, which Donald Trump and Joe Biden cannot do. However, polls currently show that Biden cannot beat Trump or Nikki Haley.

Americans are angry because of rising everyday costs, dysfunction in Washington and chaos at the southern border.

Despite this, the Democratic National Committee is making the nomination into a coronation for Biden.

He has run successful businesses, is a Gold Star son and a three-term member of Congress who has sought bipartisanship.

He also chastised Biden for not having the courage to be on the stage, taking New Hampshire voters for granted.

Williamson: Her primary task is addressing attacks on the American middle class that have taken place over the past 50 years.

She noted that she wants to go to Washington and “co-create” with voters to address the nation’s issues in helping avoid the destruction of America’s middle class.

“Let’s not be the first generation to wimp out on what it takes to get back on track,” she said.

Voter IDs and the Democratic National Committee

Phillips: It is difficult for the poor and for disabled people to obtain voter identification cards, making them a form of voter suppression.

The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are also suppressing the will of voters, with Phillips expressing frustration with the Democratic National Committee refusing to host debates and state Democratic Parties cancelling presidential primaries.

Williamson: The Democratic National Committee has been overt about their suppression, as candidate suppression is a form of voter suppression. She also said that voting day should be a national holiday or on a Saturday and that decisions should be made by voters rather than political elites.

Economic Plan

Williamson: An economic bill of rights is needed. This would include tuition-free college, elimination of current college debt, paid family leave, child care and a guaranteed living wage.

Phillips: Healthcare for all is needed as well as help for seniors and something called the “American Dream Account,” an investment account given to all Americans at birth that they can access at their 18th birthday. Upon their 18th birthday, young Americans can also pledge to a national service program in a certain needed profession and earn an additional $10,000.

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Dean Phillips on Jan. 8, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Immigration/Border Security

Phillips: He said he has been to the southern border twice and it is a disaster and a national security issue. He would transfer funding from the military to border security on the northern and southern borders. Phillips also said he would overhaul America’s asylum policy, allowing migrants to apply in their own countries and avoid dangerous trips over the border getting passage from drug cartels.

Williamson: Infrastructure for asylum seekers is needed. However, the root cause of the issue at the southern border is U.S. foreign policy in Latin America. Sanctions should be removed against Cuba and Venezuela.

Crisis of drug addiction

Williamson: This is a health emergency; we need to treat it as a health issue rather than a criminal issue. She said she will have a recovery czar rather than a drug czar and focus on limiting fentanyl availability.

Phillips: Here, Phillips also said money should be transferred from the military budget.

Joe Biden has said abortion will be a top priority in his second term, what is your top priority?

Phillips: He says he is 150% pro-choice and abortion is a topic where men should have no input as it does not directly impact them. Democrats in Washington should have codified abortion rights when they had the chance, but the biggest issue is microeconomics, economic factors that impact everyday people. Things like GDP have little impact on most Americans. He would also create a “Team of Rivals” in his Cabinet comparable to Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet and would also create a “Youth Cabinet” to hear the concerns of the nation’s young people.

Williamson: The top priorities would be cancelling the Willow Project, auditing the Pentagon, investigating ways to help young children, stopping government contracts with union-busting companies and creating a Department of Peace.


Williamson: While the U.S. was wrong to place missiles in Poland, that does not justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. She agrees with Ukraine, but through a negotiated settlement if possible with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as counteroffensives against Russia have made little progress.

Phillips: This issue should have been dealt with in the past and the money being sent to Ukraine could be put to better use elsewhere, but now it is an issue that must be addressed. Following America’s retreats in Vietnam and Afghanistan over the past 50 years, another retreat here would significantly help America’s enemies.

He also says that Putin cannot be trusted, calling him a “disaster.”


Phillips: While he says that Joe Biden is a good man, he sees this issue through Washington’s eyes since he has spent his entire adult life as a politician. He said that as a Jew with ancestors who escaped pogroms, a Jewish state is necessary and U.S. recognition of a Palestinian state is necessary. Phillips added that Biden should remind Americans of the eight U.S. hostages taken by Hamas every night, that Hamas must be destroyed and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “a bad man.”

Williamson: She agreed that U.S. hostages should be released and there should be a two-state solution. She added that there should be an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

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Marianne Williamson on Jan. 8, 2024. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Social Security

Williamson: The Social Security income tax cap should be lifted to $250,000. She also said that all seniors should be given at least $1,200 a month.

Phillips: Social Security is set to start reducing benefits in the 2030s if nothing is done. He agreed with lifting the cap to $250,000 and sought to help people become philanthropists and donate parts of their Social Security if they feel they already have enough.

College costs

Phillips: College debt should be removed from people who want to serve the public and there should be a tax on college endowments.

Williamson: Young people should not be seen as a profit center, which has become a fact of life since the 1970s due to an alliance between colleges, banks and the government.

Divisiveness in national political discourse

Williamson: The biggest threat to democracy is people staying home and not voting. There will be people who vote for Donald Trump no matter what he does and those voters must be countered. While Congress says they are the only ones that can address America’s problems, the issue is not a “lack of car mechanics” but “going down the wrong road.” The true threat is attacks on the middle class.

Phillips: America is less divided than people believe and he is frustrated with “angertainment.” Trump gave businessmen like himself a bad name. He was able to flip a Congressional District that was held by Republicans for 60 years because he used “invitation, not confrontation.”

Which living political figure do you respect the most?

Phillips: Liz Cheney –  On Jan. 6, 2021, she told those in Congress that Trump would be held accountable for spurring on the individuals that stormed the capitol.

Williamson: She did not answer this question, instead attacking Phillips for praising Cheney, saying that she voted with Trump 99 percent of the time. She also claimed that he had done nothing to support Medicare for All, that government should not be run like a business and that money is “not created by a bunch of overlords who drop jobs like crumbs from their mouth,” but the “creativity and the productivity of the American people.”

He responded that he signed onto legislation with Ro Khanna seeking Medicare for All and that fiscal responsibility is necessary given that the nation is $33 trillion in debt and the interest on that debt is making it harder to make investments in needed programs.

Heating costs

Williamson: She would declare a climate emergency and said that while some things in the Inflation Reduction Act were okay, new drilling contracts added during Biden’s administration have negated that progress. She supports investment in solar and wind energy and vouchers for those who need home heating assistance.

Phillips: Heating costs, and energy in general, should be a national security issue since energy insecurity helps some of America’s enemies like Russia and Iran. He said that investment must be made in alternative energy, stating that “we didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of rocks, we made better ways to do things.”

He supported a carbon dividend tax as well where carbon-producing energy sources should fund alternative sources of energy.

Should Donald Trump be disqualified under the 13th Amendment?

Phillips: This is a matter for the U.S. Supreme Court, which he says should have 18-year term limits. He felt that if voters who support Trump feel disenfranchised, violence might ensue. Even though he finds Trump to be “disgusting,” he sees Joe Biden as a threat to democracy as he knows it’s almost impossible to win re-election with his current poll numbers.

Williamson: It should be sent to the U.S. Supreme Court as a special circumstance.

Working with the far-right/far-left

Williamson: Not worried about them because majorities of Democrats and Republicans want tuition-free college, gun safety, and healthcare. Also not worried about Congress, as they serve donors rather than people. While she felt that she would be respected, she would probably not be liked, but she said, “I welcome their hatred.” She added that presidents should not be given a magic wand, but be a co-equal branch in government, as intended by the Founding Fathers.

Phillips: He said that America cannot progress forward without compromise, something he has done in Washington. He also said that he has been treated with hypocrisy, meanness and other disgusting words from fellow Democrats in Washington for speaking his beliefs.

Mask Mandates

Phillips: While masks work toward limiting the spread of disease, they should be voluntary and people who are sick should stay home to protect others.

Williamson: Mandates should be addressed at the state level and COVID-19 tests and masks should be given away for free.

Just before the start of the Democratic Candidate Debate at the New England College College Convention. Photo/Andrew Sylvia


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About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.