Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann may be the congresswoman with nine
lives. But 2014 could be the gravest threat to her political career yet.
The bomb-throwing conservative and onetime Republican presidential
candidate is girding for what promises to be a ferocious reelection
contest. Awaiting Bachmann is a serious Democratic opponent who has the
full backing of his national party and a suburban Twin Cities electorate
that six months ago nearly tossed her out of office.
The most glaring problem for Bachmann, though, may be a swirl of
investigations into her campaign finances. The Federal Election
Commission and the Office of Congressional Ethics are investigating
whether her campaign concealed payments to an Iowa state senator who did
work for her 2012 presidential bid. (A state ethics law bars senators
from doing paid campaign work.)
And late last week, Minnpost.com reported that the FBI would be joining the investigation and interviewing a former Bachmann chief of staff.
It’s easy to dismiss Bachmann’s tough fight as a consequence of her
legal and ethical troubles. But the fact is that Shelly barely won her
race against hotel exec Jim Graves the last time around. Politico
reminds us that Graves came “within 5,000 votes — 1.2 percentage points —
of unseating her in 2012.”
Like other Republican house seats,
Bachmann’s is gerrymandered. And that barely made the difference last
time. This time, probably not. It’s the old demographics problem coming
back again — Bachmann positively repels anyone other than GOP base
voters and they’re becoming more and more of a minority as time goes on.
Even without her scandals, Bachmann would likely do even worse this
cycle, regardless of how conservative-leaning her district is drawn.
At a certain point, even electoral shenanigans will not save the GOP
as a whole, as it may not save Michele Bachmann now. The influence of
the Dreaded Progressive Menace is creeping into even the reddest
districts and very little, if anything, can be done to stop it.
It’s time for Bachmann and her party to adapt or die. Unfortunately
for them, that’s the process of evolution and they don’t believe in