Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Blog

Juan Cole has a great piece on his site about Michele Bachmann’s deleterious effect on the Republican Party in the upcoming 2012 election. After pointing out that “Bachmann’s bizarre behavior…is alarming the Republican establishment” he goes on to warn that:

“Just as Arizona governor Jan Brewer’s campaign against Latinos has helped deprive GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney of support in that community, Bachmann’s targeting of Muslim-Americans and, implicitly, Arab-Americans, could hurt Romney in those communities.”

Cole is right to connect these politically-motivated smear campaigns to their potential electoral ramifications. The attempt to politically marginalize Arab American and American Muslim citizens is no longer a cost-free attack; these communities have proven their ability to organize, mobilize, and swing electoral outcomes. Hopefully, both parties will also learn this lesson before it’s too late.

Cole points out that all the swing states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida, all have sizable Arab American populations, and considering the way that Arab Americans have begun to involve themselves in recent elections, Bachmann’s smear campaign could have a real and serious effect on the Presidential election in November.

Attempts by the Republican Party to distance themselves from her comments will definitely help retain some credibility, but Bachmann is hardly alone is pulling the party toward the more racially-prejudiced far-right. Other prominent figures like Rep. Allen West (R-FL), and some of their non-profit allies like the notorious Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, have continued to make outrageous statements with almost no party backlash. Romney will have to take a stronger public stand against this kind of rhetoric if he hopes to win any community support from these states.

Beyond the electoral implications, Cole’s article also draws attention to Bachmann’s own connections to questionable Middle East groups.

You can read the full article on his website.

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