Can Todd Akin Survive in Missouri?

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Last week, out of a field of three candidates ranging from very conservative to whackaloon, Missouri Republicans chose the whackaloon candidate, Todd Akin. And as you probably know by now, he stepped in it big time yesterday while defending his belief that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. In cases of “legitimate rape,” Akin said, “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

This is a fairly common fringe view among extreme social conservatives, but they normally don’t promote it in public, and certainly not on mainstream television. Still, my first thought was: this is Missouri. Akin’s a Republican, and Republicans never punish their own for being too conservative. It’ll all blow over and he’ll lose a couple of points in the polls, but that’s it.

Or is it? Josh Marshall suggests Akin is in bigger trouble than we might think. “I checked what some people I consider key GOP operatives were saying on Twitter just now and they’re running for the hills a bit more than I’d expected. To be more specific, they’re advising all GOP candidates to disavow Akin as quickly as possible (no big surprise there) and don’t seem particularly optimistic he can even stay in the race (that does sort of surprise me).” ThinkProgress collects some GOP reactions here.

I’m sticking with my prediction: it all blows over and Akin doesn’t even lose much support. Am I right? Or has my cynicism about the GOP’s bottomless tolerance for lunacy gotten the better of me? Comments are open.

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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