When you put out an ad that has to state clearly, up front, that “rape is an evil act,” I’d say that should be the end of your political career, but in this case, Todd Akin is clearly making a play for hanging in there in Missouri, with just hours before he needs to make a decision on whether to withdraw.
“I used the wrong words in the wrong way, and for that, I apologize,” he says. “As the father of two daughters, I want tough justice for predators. I have a compassionate heart for the victims of sexual assault. I pray for them.” [...]
In the ad, Akin acknowledges that “rape can lead to pregnancy,” an attempt to explain to voters that he understands the biological connection between rape and pregnancy.
“The truth is rape has many victims,” Akin says. “The mistake I made was in the words I said, not in the heart I hold. I ask for your forgiveness.”
Polling shows that voters don’t actually believe Akin that he “misspoke” about rape and pregnancy. That shows a certain level of recognition that he was merely relaying anti-abortion dogma in an unsheltered setting. The poll goes on to say that Akin should drop out of the race, by a 54-35 margin. But 52% of Republicans said that Akin should not drop out (I’m surprised more Democrats didn’t say that; that shows no level of sophistication on their part, since Akin staying in the race is Claire McCaskill’s best bet of winning). Furthermore, a snap poll from Public Policy Polling showed Akin still in the lead, albeit by only a point, in Missouri.
Given all those factors, that a majority of his party still wants him as the nominee, given the competitiveness at what feels like a low point in the campaign, given that he’s still blowing money on ads to make it through this, it looks to me that the massive effort by the Republican establishment to bully Akin out of the race by withholding financial support will not work. That’s subject to change, of course. But Akin’s moving forward. His fundraising numbers over the past couple days will tell an important tale about whether he has the grassroots support to survive. Sadly, there may be plenty of people out there who will decide that the guy who said that women have a rape-activated spermaticide in their bodies is a martyr, and donate to the cause. We’ll have to wait and see.