Todd Akin — who has singlehandedly rekindled the abortion debate — is still leading in the Missouri Senate race. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Akin’s lead has narrowed since his “legitimate rape” comment, but he is nonetheless a viable presence on the ballot. Here’s why this Caucasian, pro-life, Gospel guitar player might have the final laugh come November 6.
1. Missourians don’t care about abortion.
Even though abortion debates color the pages of liberal media outlets, average Missourians don’t cite abortion as their number one concern in the election. Public Policy Polling director Dean Debnam announced, “voters were appalled by [Akin’s] comments…but not so much that they decided to vote Democratic when they were previously planning to support the GOP.”
A few days after Akin’s controversy, neither Akin's nor his opponent Claire McCaskill's advertisements focused on abortion or women’s health issues. Instead, the conversation in Missouri circles around minimum wage, health care, and student loans. There are only six Planned Parenthood centers in the St. Louis area — and neither McCaskill nor Akin seem to care.
2. Missouri’s voting record is red.
Missouri has consistently voted Republican in both state and national elections. John McCain managed to snag a few electoral votes back in 2008, and Mitt Romney is likely to do the same this fall. The New York Times reported that the populations of southwestern Missouri and St. Louis suburbs (“longtime Republican bastion[s] with a strong Christian culture”) have steadily increased, while more centrist or left-leaning areas like St. Louis have seen a decline in population.
“The fact that Claire McCaskill is only polling at 48 percent after 72 hours of constant negative attacks on Todd Akin shows just how weak she is,” an Akin representative declared.
3. Akin’s radicalism rivals Obama's — in a good way.
Obama and his “fanatical” health care plans don’t resonate well with Missourians. Public Policy Polling found that 50% of voters in Missouri disapprove of the Obama administration. This is unfortunate news for McCaskill, who has sided with her Democratic party on 81% of the votes this term, according to the Washington Post. Crossroads GPS, a conservative group in support of Akin, has spent $516,000 to hyperbolize McCaskill’s alliance with the not-so-popular President
4. Republicans still have feelings for him.
As a Chicago Tribune blog stated, “Akin’s position on abortion is the Republican position on abortion.” Although there may be slight differences in opinion, the GOP 2012 Platform has an eminent pro-life agenda. It wasn’t the message Akin was conveying that dismayed conservatives — it was the way in which he said it.
This Missouri election speaks to the trend of politics in the 21st century: whoever can say the right thing at the right time wins.
When the American public was disgusted by the “legitimate rape” comments, both presidential candidates criticized Akin, regardless of their respective parties' actual stances on abortion. Romney’s asking Akin to step down doesn’t mean that Romney fully disagrees with the Missouri candidate. Romney, and many other conservatives, do agree with Akin on some level — even if they're publically denouncing him. Akin is the walking embodiment of an extreme, isolating Republican mindset that the GOP cannot afford to publically endorse.
5. Akin’s advertisements are pretty sick.
For the record: I disagree with Todd Akin. My dedicated readers (Mom, my editor) know that I’m a staunch pro-choice lady. And I have every right to hate Akin – but even my liberal skeleton quivered when I saw Akin’s newest advertisement, Wrong Way Claire.
I have to admit: these visuals are the best I’ve seen all summer. For once, a candidate figured out the enigma known as Photoshop! Teenagers and visual learners everywhere can rejoice! The ad features Obama and McCaskill on a red plane, buzzing by as banners proclaiming socialism flicker behind them. If I was a Missourian who cared nada about a woman’s innate rights to her own reproductive system, Akin would totally have my vote.