The Washington Post

What Michele Bachmann meant to politics: A Republican response

On Wednesday, we wrote an analysis of what retiring Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann meant for politics. We got tons of feedback -- some printable, some not -- about our conclusions.  One of the most interesting came from Pat McFerron, a partner at CMA Strategies, an Oklahoma-based Republican political consulting company. We've posted McFerron's unedited thoughts on Bachmann below.

Michelle Bachmann’s retirement has caused none other than Chris Cillizza and The Fix to ponder the lasting legacy of her time in politics.  While I don’t disagree with Cillizza’s assessment, I think one can go even deeper.


Michele Bachmann. Jim Young/REUTERS

When thinking about the long-term health of the Republican Party, I think Bachmann’s legacy could be more damaging.  There is no doubt, she has been able to activate and mobilize primary voters.  But her ability to tap into this conservative network has shown other candidates that you don’t have to appeal to a broader middle to be successful.  She has also demonstrated that in today’s social media world you can find even a small niche of supporters that can make you relevant to the national debate.

Within today’s Republican Party, one no longer has to have the ability to lead to be personally successful – you just have to be able to tap into the lifeblood of politics.  Because of social media, that lifeblood is no longer confined to Main Street and personal relationships,  but instead can be reached through any number Internet Superhighway exit ramps.

Bob Dole’s recent comments about the Republican Party needing be closed for repairs is, to me, the flip side of the Michelle Bachmann phenomenon. Bachmann, who Cillizza accurately pointed out could not lead within Congress, still had a constituency and was able to use this network to shift the debate so far from the middle that those like Dole think serious repairs need to be made.

Of course, Bachmann is not alone in this endeavor.  She is, however, possibly the most successful of the digital age.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The New Hampshire primary is Tuesday. Get caught up on the race.
New Hampshire primary: What to expect
New Hampshire will hold a traditional primary just eight days after the Iowa caucuses. Polling in the Granite state has historically been volatile in the final weeks before the primary. After the Iowa caucuses, many New Hampshire voters cement their opinions.
The Post's Ed O'Keefe says ...
Something has clicked for Bush in New Hampshire in the past few days. What has transpired by no means guarantees him a top-tier finish in Tuesday’s Republican primary here, but the crowds turning out to see him are bigger, his delivery on the stump is crisper and some of his key rivals have stumbled. At the least, the developments have mostly silenced talk of a hasty exit and skittish donors.
The feminist appeal may not be working for Clinton
In New Hampshire, Sen. Bernie Sanders is beating Clinton among women by eight percentage points, according to a new CNN-WMUR survey. This represents a big shift from the results last week in the Iowa caucuses, where Clinton won women by 11 points.
New Hampshire polling averages
Donald Trump holds a commanding lead in the next state to vote, but Marco Rubio has recently seen a jump in his support, according to polls.
New Hampshire polling averages
A victory in New Hampshire revitalized Hillary Clinton's demoralized campaign in 2008. But this time, she's trailing Bernie Sanders, from neighboring Vermont. She left the state Sunday to go to Flint, Mich., where a cost-saving decision led to poisonous levels of lead in the water of the poor, heavily black, rust-belt city. 
55% 40%
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
State of the race

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.