Akin May Change the Conversation

Molly Ball at The Atlantic examines the implications of Todd Akin’s seemingly firm decision to stay in the Missouri Race:

The GOP’s unanimity on Akin shows that Republicans recognize the serious and far-reaching implications if he hangs around. Akin disagrees – he thinks the current storm will blow over and he can still win.

Where Ball errs, I believe, is in assuming that Akin cannot possibly win this election. I think she underestimates the electorate’s eagerness to believe good of those they support; I suspect that Akin’s hollow apology will actually ring true to the ears of many Republicans because they agree with him on the central issue in question.

To be clear, I’m not saying Akin will definitely win; Ball could be correct. I just don’t think this incident spells certain death for his campaign. And whether he wins or loses, Akin certainly is garnering attention for his pet issue:

”That’s the reason we are going to continue,” he said. “I believe there is a cause here. There’s something that’s missing. A lot of people feel left out of the parties.”

We’ll see whether Romney and the rest of the GOP can pivot quickly and effectively enough to keep the conversation where they want it: on the economy instead of on social issues.