Letter to the Editor: Bachmann isn’t invincible

Election night was a great night for Democrats across Minnesota, with the exception of three congressional races. Three Republican incumbents won re-election to the U.S.  House, including Michele Bachmann in the 6th District.

To say that Congresswoman Bachmann is a polarizing figure in American politics is an understatement. Bachmann is so extreme that the GOP leadership in the House has denied her a leadership position. If Bachmann is too extreme for somebody like Eric Cantor, that really reveals where her priorities lie. Her views certainly aren’t representative of mainstream America, and they are far from being representative of her constituents.

The only reason Bachmann won a fourth term Nov. 6 is because Republican-controlled Legislature redistricted (gerrymandered) Minnesota congressional districts, making the 6th even more advantageous for Republicans. If the 6th had been the same geographic area it was in 2010, Bachmann’s opponent, Jim Graves, would have been elected.

Graves has demonstrated Bachmann isn’t invincible. So how do you put a Democratic candidate over the top in the 6th District? There are four areas a candidate should concentrate on.

First, let the constituents know that you will represent them. Michele Bachmann represents herself.

Next, remind voters that Michelle Bachmann voted against increasing the federal minimum wage in 2007 – George W. Bush signed the bill into law – and that she is staunchly opposed to raising the minimum wage in the future. Ask Bachmann why she is so opposed to workers being guaranteed to make a paltry $7.25 per hour.

A Democratic candidate should focus on improving the economy of the 6th District, and promote tax breaks for businesses that move into the district and offer employees competitive wages and salaries above the federal minimum wage. Graves did a superb job promoting business growth in this campaign and it is one of the reasons why he almost won the district.

The last thing a Democratic candidate needs to do is to reassure voters in the 6th District that sanity will be restored to the congressional seat. Let the voters know that you will bring a common sense approach to Washington and will reach across the aisle.

Jim Graves did a great job in three of these areas. He was clearly the sane choice (he certainly implied it), but in the 6th District it is necessary for a candidate to be explicit that they are, in fact, the sane alternative to Bachmann. If a candidate would also point out that Bachmann is against the federal minimum wage law and hold her to account for it, the tide would turn. Exposing Bachmann’s views on fair wages and more grassroots support than in 2012 for the Democratic candidate would seal Bachmann’s fate.

That will be a great day for America.

– Jeffrey Couillard, AFSCME #844

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