Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.
The president of the United States is threatening nuclear annihilation on Twitter, and the people of Alabama nearly elected to the U.S. Senate a man who believes homosexuality is a crime, claims Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office and stands accused of sexually abusing multiple teenage girls. Meanwhile, the so-called Resistance is pinning its hopes on a collusion probe led by George W. Bush’s former FBI director, opening its arms to the likes of Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
By all accounts, we are living through the dumbest and most dangerous period in modern American history. So perhaps it’s only fitting that Michele Bachmann is contemplating a political comeback.
Over the holiday weekend, the former Minnesota representative confided to disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker that she has been awaiting word from God about whether she should run for Al Franken’s vacant Senate seat. (Bakker served nearly five years of a 45-year sentence after defrauding his followers of nearly $158 million. He claims to have foreseen 9/11, Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 Japanese earthquake.)
“I’ve had people contact me and urge me to run for that Senate seat, and the only reason I would run is for the ability to take these principles into the United States Senate,” she said. “The question is, should it be me? Should it be now?”
A founding mother of the Tea Party caucus, Bachmann staked out any number of ludicrous positions during her career in Congress, before Donald Trump was a twinkle in the electorate’s eye. This isn’t the first time she has sought God’s permission to run for office; she credited the Almighty for her presidential run in 2012, which she claims was “wildly successful” because she forced the GOP to adopt Obamacare repeal as its party line. “I fulfilled the calling that God gave me,” she told Bakker.
Here are five facts about the erstwhile congresswoman that should leave you queasy about her possible run for Senate.
1. She plays fast and loose with campaign finance laws.
In March of last year, the Federal Elections Committee issued a notice that nearly $1.7 million had gone missing from her congressional campaign committee between October and December 2016. Bachmann’s committee treasurer told the Center for Public Integrity at the time that the discrepancy was merely a “mistake in using the filing software.” But four years prior, following her ill-fated bid for president, Bachmann came under investigation by the elections committee, the House Ethics Committee and the FBI for violating campaign finance laws.
According to the original complaint, first obtained by the Daily Beast, former campaign staffer Peter Waldron alleges Bachmann “funneled money” through a direct-mail consultant to pay Iowa state Sen. Kent Sorenson an “illicit six-figure salary.” Waldron also accuses the consultant, who doubled as Bachmann’s national political director, of taking money from her political action committee as a full-time staffer, a violation of FEC rules. Bachmann did not seek reelection in 2014.
2. She believes end times are nigh and yearns for the apocalypse.
Whereas the whole of the Republican Party was up in arms over Obama’s deal with Iran, Bachmann believed it was reason to rejoice—not for geopolitical reasons, but because she believed it brought the world that much closer to fulfilling biblical prophesy. According to Zechariah 12:3, “all the nations of the earth” will unite against Israel, which will set in motion the second coming of Jesus Christ. She called the nuclear pact, “the most important national security event of my lifetime.”
“It’s probably not worth unpacking any more of this lunacy,” Sean Illing wrote at Salon. “The broader point is that people like Bachmann (and many other Republicans) really believe this stuff. Indeed, there’s a significant subset of the GOP that advocates for Israel on purely theocratic grounds: They yearn for the apocalypse. These people fancy themselves patriots, but they’re gleefully subordinating American foreign policy to religious dogma in order to hasten the end times.”
3. She’s profoundly xenophobic.
Like virtually every Republican during the 2016 election, Bachmann lent her support to Donald Trump. Unlike other Republicans, she believed “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that if Hillary Clinton had prevailed, it would have been the last U.S. election ever held. The source of her conviction was not her apocalyptic worldview, although it just as easily could have been, but her deep-seated suspicion of brown people.
“It’s a math problem of demographics and a changing United States,” she told the Christian Broadcasting Network in 2016. “If you look at the numbers of people who vote and who live in the country and who Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to bring in to the country, this is the last election when we even have a chance to vote for somebody who will stand up for godly moral principles. This is it.”
4. She’s a virulent Islamophobe.
Even by the GOP’s increasingly febrile standards, Bachmann has remained ahead of the curve in her hostility to refugees generally and Muslims specifically. In 2012, she co-authored a letter to the State Department with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Rep. Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), and Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), claiming the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the United States government in pursuit of “civilization jihad.” The group also launched a smear campaign against Clinton aide Huma Abedin, claiming her mother, brother and late father all had ties to Muslim extremists.
In November 2015, she implored conservatives to oppose the entry of Syrian refugees into the country, citing an article from a fringe right-wing website that claimed Muslim men are rapists.
“Refugees are 70 percent gang-age males,” Bachmann wrote in a tweet. “No more in the US.”
One week later, Donald Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
5. She’s in the Koch brothers’ pocket.
The Koch brothers, who have donated untold millions to the Tea Party Caucus, are all the evidence Bachmann needs of the existence of a higher power. During an interview at the Koch-sponsored Conservative Political Action Conference, she thanked God for the oil barons’ support and suggested that those who criticize her benefactors should be tried for organized crime, per Right Wing Watch.
“I just thank God that there’s a billionaire or two on our side,” she said. “All the billionaires seem to be on the radical left, so I’m glad that we have a couple on ours. I hope we get a few more that are willing that come out but realize also this is an intimidation movement, I’m sure that the donors on our side don’t like to have their names vilified and that’s what this is about, intimidating people from giving money to our cause, that’s it. There’s something called the RICO statute, the racketeering law, that should be applied against them for doing this.”
Jacob Sugarman is a managing editor at AlterNet.