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The entry of Michelle Bachmann into the Presidential race changes everything! Or does it?

Minnesota Congressman Michelle Bachmann will officially join the Presidential race on Monday. Let's put on our political strategist hats and think of a few scenarios that could result from Bachmann's entry into the race.  Here are what I think are the four most likely scenarios, in no particular order:

1. Bachmann dominates the most ardent evangelicals and tea-partiers but few others, allowing Romney to stick with a more centrist reasonable message and win the primary and possibly the general.  In this scenario she plays a role for Romney similar to the one Huckabee played for McCain in 2008.  In 2008 McCain won by wining the large states without large evangelical bases largely because the evangelical voters, and few others, went for Huckabee.  In a sense, Huckabee put religious conservatives on an island with no other voters and with them out of the way a candidate that appealed to independents the non-religious elements of the Republican party could march to victory.

If Bachmann dominated the evangelicals and tea-partiers but few others it would have two effects.  First, it would prevent any serious challenger to Romney from gaining sufficient support to overtake him.  It is hard to imagine a path for Pawlenty (or anyone else) to challenge Romney that doesn't involve either Romney stumbling or Pawlenty catching fire with tea-partiers and evangelicals.  Second, if Bachmann dominated the evangelicals and tea-partiers Romney could credibly cede the evangelical and tea-party base to Bachmann and stick with his more reasonable general election message, helping him in the long run because he won't have to say extreme things he will come to regret in the general election.  In this scenario Bachmann hands the primary to Romney and possibly the general.

2.  Bachmann gains traction beyond just the tea-party and evangelical base forcing Romney to the right to beat her, possibly winning him the primary but losing him the general.  In this scenario Bachmann wins Iowa and finishes impressively in New Hampshire, giving Romney a run for his money.  To compete Romney is forced to the hard right, damaging his electability in the general.  This also has parallels from 2008 when McCain moved to the right in tone, if not in substance, costing him crucial independent voters he would need to win the general.  In this scenario Bachmann hands to race to Obama.

3. Bachmann flames out early on, having little impact on the race. Bachmann is prone to saying wrong and seemingly bizarre things, and you can bet the other candidates will be waiting to jump on her if she makes a silly mistake.  One plausible option is that she makes a mistake early on and flames out, having little impact on the race except as a footnote.

4. Bachmann wins the primary, handing the race to Obama. Since this blog is all about being rational, we do have to acknowledge that the odds her winning the primary, though not great, are almost certainly better than her odds of winning the general.  That doesn't mean it would be a landslide, it certainly would not (a large portion of this country would vote for anything or anyone rather than Obama, no matter what, end of story) but Obama's chances in purple states such as Nevada, Colorado, Virginia, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina are vastly improved if Bachmann is the opponent.

Feel free to comment and make your predictions.  As for my bet, I'm with option 3, I think she flames out within a matter of months, but I could be wrong.  If you're feeling bold, now's the time to put your money where your mouth is.

You can read this entry and my prior posts at my blog, Rational Persuasion.

Poll

Which scenario do you think is most likely?

21%12 votes
30%17 votes
32%18 votes
14%8 votes

| 55 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Psst (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RamblinDave, sunbro, ColoTim

    It's Michele Bachmann.

  •  My prediction, she folds under scrutiny almost as (5+ / 0-)

    fast as Newt or Trump. Already, there is enough in the media about how she loves "socialism" when it comes to her taking tax money I believe to bury her arse. And she's a nutcase, also.

    Wolverines and Badgers and Buckeyes - Oh My! Be Afraid Kochroaches. Be very afraid.

    by mrsgoo on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:41:55 PM PDT

  •  Scenario 1 and 3, But 3 Won't Matter (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RamblinDave, ColoTim

    Never underestimate the attraction of going down in a blaze of glory to ultra right idealogues.

    Bachmann just went on record yesterday as saying that Canada's economy has done just fine even without a fiscal stimulus, even though the Harper Govt. enacted a fiscal stimulus.  It doesn't matter to her true believers.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/...

    She will keep anybody to the right of Romney from mounting a serious challenge (without standing a chance of winning herself), therebye enabling him to tack toward the middle.  She might be funded by Romney's campaign; she's doing a hell of a job helping him out.

    "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding?" Nick Lowe

    by LHB on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:42:00 PM PDT

    •  I'll go with 3, but... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Black Max

      Trump was the flavor of the month, and he's gone. Cain briefly had an impressive showing in the polls, and he's now on his way to becoming a footnote. Bachmann had one impressive debate performance, benefitting both from extremely low expectations of her and from remarkably weak opposition. (I wonder if she would have come across as the eloquent one if Alan Keyes were in the mix. Yes, he's crazy - but so is she!) Every four years, the GOP turns up at least one off-the-charts right winger who delights the red-meat true believers, but they have the sense to vote for someone else no matter where their hearts lie. 1996 gave us Bob Dornan, 2000 had Gary Bauer, 2008 had Ron Paul, and IIRC Keyes ran in both 96 and 08. None came anywhere near winning the nomination.

      That said, I disagree with you about one thing. You say, "you can bet the other candidates will be waiting to jump on her if she makes a silly mistake." Not true: the other candidates know her followers think those "silly mistakes" are the truth, and they don't want to offend them since they'll need those votes in November.

      Very many questions can be answered 'yes' or 'no' only by a moron or a slave. -Dalton Trumbo

      by RamblinDave on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:57:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oops (0+ / 0-)

        Meant to reply to the diary, not to LHB's response. Sorry about that.

        Very many questions can be answered 'yes' or 'no' only by a moron or a slave. -Dalton Trumbo

        by RamblinDave on Tue Jun 21, 2011 at 10:58:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Cain (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RamblinDave

        I'm a little more optimistic about Cain than you.  As I wrote in my last post which you can see on my blog that I linked to (I was still in the DailyKos waiting period when I wrote it) I think he has a fair chance of VP if Romney wins the nomination.  

        •  Man, what a contrast that would be. (0+ / 0-)

          I couldn't see anything other than "token black" being used to describe Cain in that scenario.  They tried Palin in 2008, but that backfired because she was inexperienced on the big stage and a kook to boot.  Now the Republicans will hold up one of the fifteen or twenty blacks in the party and think that their voters will not think he's Barack Obama and still pull the lever for him.  

          I could almost wish Cain would be the nominee just so it will become obvious to the 7 percent of blacks who still support Republicans just what they think of them.

          •  Well... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim

            They've done it in the past, I wouldn't put it past them this time.  The question is whether there is a "Bradley effect" going on with Cain's numbers.  I suppose whether there is a Bradley effect boosting Cain's numbers is the subject of another post. Stay tuned.

    •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

      Are you saying that even if she flames out she still gives Romney the cover to move to the middle, so you could have both 1 and 3?

  •  I guess Huntsman will sit Iowa out but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    James Allen

    Romney is evidently in.  

    Bachmann could make it tough on Romney in Iowa.  She could place a respectable second and push Romney further right AND weaken his inevitability.  

    A late-summer entry by Rick Perry could drain support from both Romney and Bachmann.  Perry could lure the Republican primary voters who have qualms about Romney, didn't vote for him in 2008, aren't hogwild about a Mormon nominee, and figure Perry is as passable a "business man" as anybody else.  

    Perry could also wound Bachmann by reducing her percentage totals below a threshold where she could damage Romney.  She needs a strong second, IMO, to do that.  Perry could weaken her second, place second himself, or possibly win the Iowa caucus.  

    If Perry wins in Iowa, Romney's percentages go down in New Hampshire and Huntsman's rise a bit.  

    It's no easy call to say how many of the current crop of announced and possible Puke nom candidates will be serious contenders.  If there are at least four through Super Tuesday, things could get contentious in a hurry.  

    It's much easier to make a list of the candidates who won't be in the race past Iowa or New Hampshire.  

    •  Agree on Huntsman (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Remediator, ColoTim

      I agree on Huntsman, I don't think he can or should compete in Iowa.  

      Regarding Perry, if he jumps in that is the best scenario for someone like Romney because it will split the tea-party/evangelical vote.  This all assumed Romney doesn't self-destruct, which a reasonable possibility at this point.

      •  I really like your scenario in which (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, MKSinSA

        Romney self-destructs.  

        He does seem terribly confident these days, telling people the next time he visits their venue he'll be with "a security detail."  

        Sheesh.  What a strutting rooster.

        The 2008 GOP nomination race came down to McCain the war veteran, Romney the problem-solving business man, and Huckabee the Sunday sermon charmer.  McCain ran the worst campaign of the three, IMO, although he won the nomination.  As rich as Romney was/is, he still couldn't defeat McCain.  Huckabee, buoyed by fundie support, stayed in a long time, having a lot more charm than cash.  

        Maybe it will come down to four this time going into Super Tuesday:  Romney, Bachmann, Huntsman, and Perry.  If Huntsman fades after New Hampshire, and Perry stays out, Romney may be able to out-politic Bachmann.  But maybe not.    

        If Perry jumps in and places a close second in Iowa -- or maybe even wins it -- Romney may be mortally wounded.  Hillary Clinton led in national polling for over a year and then placed third in Iowa.  She still drew major support but never recovered from that early defeat.  A Perry-Bachmann-Romney finish in Iowa is plausible.  

        I think Romney is not a sure bet for the Pukes and that very likely Bachmann and Perry (if he gets in) either one can do permanent damage to Romney's chances.  

  •  One additional factor - the GOP winner-take-all (0+ / 0-)

    method for the primaries.  That will shake out the lesser candidates quickly, as their total delegates will still be zero or a few from the caucuses but the winner of New Hampshire and/or South Carolina will have the momentum and will, imo, gather the cash to keep going.  The ones who haven't proven they can win by that point (I'm looking at Pawlenty, Cain, Gingrich) will be left to grovel for table scraps and hope for a VP slot.  In reality, they'll be toast.

    I'll put money down on still getting at least one more strong candidate in the race.  I'm hoping for Perry, as I really don't believe Palin will be in it now that Bachman's on overdrive.

    •  Perceptive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      Good catch.  I think that turns up the pressure on any candidate hoping to win based on tea party or evangelical support to clean up in Iowa and South Carolina.  If Bachmann or Perry or Pawlenty wins both, they have a fighting chance at going the distance.

    •  What you mean "strong candidate" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      Yet another Texas governor, tied to the Shrub.  How do you go from succession to running for President of the country you don't respect.  Plus he totally sucks as a human being.

      The answer of course is that side is insane and unpredictable and likely to follow the craziest candidate out there.

      Tea Parties are for little girls with imaginary friends.

      by J Edward on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 04:40:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bachmann wins Iowa, Romney/Huntsman wins (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Remediator

    New Hampshire.

    Jim DeMint throws the tea people support behind Bachmann and she ekes out a win in SC.  She also pulls out a win in NV with the backing of Sharrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle.  If Romney loses Michigan, it's game over.  Republicans have their (almost) worst nightmare scenario.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 07:01:19 AM PDT

    •  I'm all for a worst-nightmare scenario (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zenbassoon

      to be visited upon the Republican Party.  

      The planks in their platform are willfully designed to cause stress, hardship, and exile to others; maybe a taste of their own medicine is in high order.  

      It does look as if Paul Ryan's star has lost some of its luster.  I hope this trend continues.  

      Agree with you also on Jim DeMint.  He could go a long way into making South Carolina an unpleasant experience for Romney, with Michele Bachmann as the chief beneficiary.  

  •  You forgot #5 (0+ / 0-)

    Michele declares candidacy.  DNC undertakes massive operation to persuade liberal media to hold back the volumes of videotape of Bachmann's batshit blatherings until 2012.  

    This delay is for nought as Bachmann's 23 foster children come forward in a few months to tell tawdry tales of horror forced to live in dank dungeons below her house working as kitchen and laundry help.

    She drops out of the race, disgraced and vilified, eventually turning to illgotten narcotics and prostitution.  She becomes a haggard shell of her former self escaping to the jungles of Uruguay and calling herself 'Kronah. Queen of all I observe'.

    She dies surrounded by rocks.

    No, I'm not psychic...

    apparently due to ancient hardware and the transition to dk4 I can't recc tip jars or comments any longer so in lieu of the 'standard nod' you'll see a variety of replies until this gets fixed or becomes a mighty big fucking pain in the ass

    by oopsaDaisy on Wed Jun 22, 2011 at 09:28:54 AM PDT

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