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Trump and Bachmann Shaking Up 2012 Race

Tea Party favorite Rep. Michele Bachmann recently entered the foray, refusing to rule out a presidential run and scheduling a trip to Iowa. Should she declare her candidacy, she’ll hope to capitalize on questions about Sarah Palin’s electability, but any reason to doubt Palin is also a reason to doubt Bachmann. She has even less experience and is also gaffe-prone.

It will be hard for her to defend her statement that she is “very concerned” that Obama “may have anti-American views,” especially when after she retracted it, she later said: “I said I had very serious concerns that Barack Obama had anti-American views. And now I look like Nostradamus.” Saying things like that and mocking Chris Matthews on his own program for his “thrill up his leg” comment will play well to the base, but questioning your opponent’s patriotism will backfire in a general election.

Like Trump, Bachmann’s potential entry hurts pretty much every candidate. She is a natural competitor for Palin and her appeal among evangelicals would undermine Huckabee. All of the candidates of the second-tier and lower would groan at her entry as it makes it that much more difficult for them to make a splash. The first stage of the race will probably be a battle between Romney and the rest of the candidates who will be criticizing his flip-flops and health care plan. This will be a tough storm for Romney to weather, but having the anti-Romney vote divided up amongst more candidates will help his candidacy.

Of course, one or both of these figures could decline to enter the race. It is also quite possible that Trump is expecting to lose but is hoping to gain a following from the Republican primaries that can transfer into a third party or Independent candidacy. Whatever the case, Bachmann and Trump are shaking things up with the mere suggestion of their entry. What is certain is that 2011 is going to be a fun year for political junkies.