COMMENTARY | Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann announced Monday in Waterloo, Iowa, that she is running for president in 2012. Many people will remember that Bachmann is a big supporter of the Tea Party movement and is the head of its caucus in Congress. Here are three disadvantages that Bachmann needs to overcome in order to become president.
Bachmann Has a Media Image Problem
Bachmann has made herself no real friends in the media. She has really made an enemy out of “Hardball” host Chris Matthews. Mediaite reported about an interview between the two that:
“[C]onsisted of Matthews asking Bachmann whether, if the GOP took the House, she would follow through with her promise to use the ‘subpoena power to investigate the Democratic members of Congress for un-American activities’? When Bachmann continued to refuse to answer Matthews finally asked her if she was ‘hypnotized tonight? Has someone hypnotized you? Because no matter what I ask you, you give the same answer.'”
Bachmann recently appeared on Fox News to give an interview to Chris Wallace. He asked the congresswoman if she is a flake. The media’s perception of her has become one that is mostly negative due to her own bad sound bites. She cannot become president by relying only on her Tea Party base to give her votes. She needs to move from the extreme right to the middle to reach out to independent and Democrat voters to even stand a chance of winning.
Bachmann’s Anti-Gay Stance Puts Her at Odds with Younger Voters
Bachmann has been very vocal about how she feels about gay rights and marriage. She worked very hard to keep gay marriage illegal in her home state of Minnesota. Gay marriage was just made legal in New York, and it is something that will be discussed during the 2012 political season because it is important to many gay voters and their friends and family members, which hurts Bachmann’s chances of winning over liberals and independents because at the heart of the controversy is a civil rights issue that gay voters want addressed. They know they have a better chance of getting gay marriage declared legal by the Supreme Court with Barack Obama as president than Michele Bachmann.
According to The Guardian, “Bachmann, after all, once hid behind some bushes to keep an eye on a gay rally in St Paul, Minnesota. In another notorious incident, when two lesbians once approached Bachmann in a bathroom to talk about her anti-gay opinions, the congresswoman claimed she was being kidnapped and fled to police to try and press charges (the authorities took a dim view of the complaint and declined to pursue the matter).”
Younger voters tend to support gay rights and marriage, and candidates need these votes in order to win an election. In 2008, Obama worked very hard to get out the youth vote. Thousands of young people joined his campaign staff and helped him knock on doors, make phone calls and get votes however they could.
Bachmann does not seem like the kind of presidential candidate who could do this. Ron Paul, in my opinion, has the appeal to both younger and older voters and could attract the same kind of ground game that made Obama so successful in 2008.
Bachmann Might Not Get Many Votes from Latinos
Bachmann is known by many in her state for not exactly being a friend of Latinos and immigrants. According to the Minnesota Independent, “Immigrants’ List, a federal PAC that backs candidates who support immigration rights, lists Rep. Michele Bachmann on its Immigration Hall of Shame. She’s among the nine Republicans and one Democrat the group says are blocking immigration reform. Immigrants’ List cites Bachmann’s support for Arizona’s SB 1070 and her statement that Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the United States.”
Securing this voting bloc is important because the Latino population in the United States is expected to increase over the next decade. If President Obama can secure these voters, he could get a huge advantage over Bachmann if she makes it to the general election.