A Method to Michele Bachmann’s Census Madness

It seems that there might actually be a method to Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Census fear mongering madness. Since Bachmann derives most of her reelection campaign funds from outside of her district, and she is struggling to raise cash, could it be that Bachmann is using Census paranoia to refill her campaign coffers for her reelection bid in 2010?

After the 2010 Census, all 50 states will potentially undergo some kind of redistricting, not only redesigning congressional districts, but also the voting districts for state legislative bodies. Minnesota is one of a number of states that may lose a representative in Congress, with a correlating loss in the Electoral College for the 2012 national elections. If that loss occurs, Minnesota will have seven representatives instead of eight. Prior to 1960 Minnesota had nine representatives. This is not a happy trend for Minnesota.

Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district, historically a center for redistricting conflict. Every redistricting since 1950 in Minnesota has resulted in a court challenge, the post-1990 Census court challenge went all the way to the U. S. Supreme Court for resolution, and the post-2000 Census court challenge went all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Michele Bachmann ran for the Minnesota Senate in 2000 from state district 56; in 2002 when she ran for the Minnesota Senate, she was in the newly drawn state district 52. Here is a link to a map showing Minnesota’s 6th district, which is rather oddly shaped at best; Bachmann lives along the extreme easternmost edge of the district, in Stillwater, Minnesota. www.govtrack.us/congress/findyourreps.xpd?state=MN&district=6

Most of Bachmann’s fundraising comes from outside her district. After her embarrassing comments on MSNBC’s Hardball in 2008, her funding from the national GOP dried up, while the contributions to her Democratic opposition exploded.

Here is Bachmann on Hardball in October 2008:

According to Open Secrets, Bachmann was able to raise $3,494,045, but after her Hardball appearance she had to spend $3,565,248 just to keep her seat. Bachmann’s largest donor was the GOP itself which dumped $247,450 into her campaign. So far, things are looking even worse for Bachmann in 2010, as she has only been able to raise $322,885.

It looks like the GOP will have to come to her rescue again next year.
Michael Steele and the RNC are using the Census and ACORN fears to fund raise. The Minnesota GOP is also using Census / ACORN fear mongering to fund raise. Bachmann’s Census / Acorn position, in that context, can be seen as not a genuine concern on her part, but a move to curry favor and climb back on the GOP money wagon.

Earlier in her political career, while a state senator, the Republican caucus put Bachmann in a leadership position, and then some eight months later removed her from leadership, apparently for her extreme views. Her support within the party at the state level has a history of being divided at best. Those who do support her do so enthusiastically. Enthusiasm is important in raising money, but it doesn’t replace the all-important numbers when it comes to votes. A change in district boundaries would change who is Bachmann’s competition, potentially making it more difficult if not impossible to get past the primaries to be a candidate; and potentially dramatically changing her constituency, which would in turn severely alter her chances of winning another congressional seat.

Bachmann understands quite well how the Census data is reflected in apportionment and redistricting, and what that means for her own political career. If Minnesota does lose a representative to Congress after the 2010 election, it is being predicted within Minnesota that Bachmann’s seat is the most likely to be eliminated. So long as she continues to live in the state, she will be in some district, but who she has to compete with from her own party, and from the opposing parties, would be completely different.

In Minnesota, given past conflicts, there is an effort underway ahead of the 2010 Census to find a more fair, more NON-partisan method of changing the districts to reflect population changes and more fair minority representation. The Minnesota judiciary is less than thrilled at the prospect of deciding the redistricting again. While Bachmann seems to favor a more extremely conservative, ultra-right wing position, if the current state legislators are successful in making redistricting NON-partisan, extremism will not work in her favor.

The research paper, “Does the Introduction of Independent Redistricting Reduce Congressional Partisanship?” by Oedel, Lynch, Mulholland and Edwards (Villanova Law Reviw, Vol. 54) has some interesting conclusions about reducing partisan politics: There is some indication that drawing non-partisan districts result in less partisan political behavior, the antithesis of Bachmann’s style of politicking.

It is popular in some segments of the national media to regard Bachmann as some sort of fool. When you look at the specifics of her career as a state senator, her two congressional elections, her career as a lawyer and the larger context of redistricting conflicts with Minnesota in the last half of the 20th century and the 21st century being resolved in court, a different picture emerges. Her Census controversy is not an accident. She may be dumb like a fox, but she is also a fundraising politically savvy redistricting veteran.

4 Replies to “A Method to Michele Bachmann’s Census Madness”

  1. This has to be the most stupidist woman I have ever seen or heard. She is just another Grand Obstrutionist from the GOP, TRYING to spread fear in Americans. She is one of the most un-patriotic people in Washington. Guess she is to stupid to know that if you don’t participate in the census that is breaking the law. She has been telling people not to participate, so in my view, she is trying to intice the American people to break the law. She needs to be booted out of congress, and run out of Washington on a rail, back to where ever she came from. Sorry excuse for a human being!!!!!!!!!

  2. DogGone,

    Being someone from Minnesota, I can’t understate the embarrassment Rep Bachmann brings upon my state of choice. She’s a mendacious, deceptive pain in the arse.

    This is a woman who spied on the MN Democratic House Caucus from a bush, apparently because she was so insecure she NEEDED to know if they were talking about her (or so the rumor goes). She’s far from stupid, but like most power-mad Macheavelian types, she seeks to squelch any dissent, requesting investigations into ‘unAmerican’ sentiments and feelings.

    The state will be richer for her being gerrymandered out of a job, and Democrats will be poorer for not having such an appallingly useful example of what is EXACTLY wrong with the Republican party, a party of politicians for sale on Wall Street, fully willing and able to tell ANY lie, spew any nonsense, even when they know full well it’s wrong (as she does) – for power and the all important campaign funding.

  3. The general public has no idea how crazy her religious fervor can get. While in the Minnesota State Senate, she led prayer groups around to pray over the desks of other legislators on the Senate Floor who did not support some of her extreme proposals; Christianity as some sort of weird voodoo. Her particular religion is anti-roman catholic. On their website they clearly elaborate on their belief that the Roman Catholic pope is the Anti-Christ. They are quite serious about it; it is one of nine beliefs they espouse. Here is the link to the website.


    And still she has campaign contributors; just not from IN her own district.

  4. LOL. The “most stupidist”?

    The only questions asked on the census are: are, gender, hispanic origin, race, relationship, tenure, and a few administrative questions. The instrusive questions (exact time household members left the house for work, what time they get there, what type of transportation is use, in the past 12 months what were the sales of all agricultural products from this property) are part of the American Community Survey that is not legally required to be completed – and will be sent to about 3 million households. If I were to receive it, I wouldn’t complete it either.

    If you’re worried about kooks, I suggest starting with Barney Frank and moving on to Nancy Pelosi…those kooks affect far more people than Bachmann.

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