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.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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