Archives: Could Michele Bachmann win the GOP nomination?

Originally published in April 2011
Simon Nguyen

Michele Bachmann is reportedly planning to join the 2012 GOP presidential race. If Bachmann does enter the contest for the Republican nod, she will immediately become one of the early favorites to win the nomination. Although the 56-year-old Iowan native does not have the backing of the GOP establishment, Bachmann is a darling of the Tea Party—the core group that helped Republicans secure a decisive victory in the 2010 congressional election. Her participation will likely be one of the more intriguing storylines in the forthcoming election cycle.

If Michele Bachmann is to win the 2012 GOP nomination, she will have to overcome history to do so. No woman from either of the two major political parties has ever won her party’s nomination for president. The closest to achieve such a feat was Hillary Clinton, whose historic bid ended in the hands of President Barack Obama.

Clinton’s competitive run was greatly aided by a strong women’s vote. As women make up only a fraction of the Republican voting base, Michele Bachmann is unlikely to enjoy the same effect. The good news is that Republican voters have shown support for female candidates in recent elections. In fact, 2010 was probably the best year for women running for office under GOP banner. Bachmann may not win the nomination, but it will not be because of gender.

To win the Republican nomination, Bachmann will need a lot of support from Tea Party’s activists. While the Tea Party’s impact on the 2010 general election was debatable, its influence on the Republican primaries was quite pronounced. Tea Party-backed candidates were able to defeat several prominent Republicans in the 2010 GOP primaries. This growing political movement has made no qualms regarding its intention to put a stamp on the 2012 presidential election. If Bachmann is accepted by the Tea Party as its default candidate, her chances of winning the nomination will be outstanding.

A potential Michele Bachmann’s bid for the GOP nomination won’t be without major roadblocks. Although the Minnesotan congresswoman is a seasoned politician with a solid support base, she does not possess the charisma and drawing power needed to energize GOP voters. As success in primaries depends principally on one’s ability to entice like-minded voters to the polls, this is the biggest obstacle Bachmann will have to overcome.

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