Now that Todd Akin announced he won’t step aside the question becomes: what now?
As things stand, the Republican challenge to Claire McCaskill is dead. Todd Akin has lost a net 21 points and turned a sure pickup into a sure loss. Yet McCaskill still can’t get over 50% (new Rasmussen poll). McCaskill is clearly still vulnerable. As recently as June, she said the 71/29 beating Missourians gave Obamacare in a referendum was only because they don’t understand it. Calling voters stupid has left an open wound in her hide that can and should be ripped open. Since Akin has excluded himself, someone else should do it.
These facts, plus several others, make a strong genuine write-in candidacy by a Missouri Republican star a good idea.
If a write-in candidacy was launched by a credible Missouri Republican, such as the very popular former Senator and former Governor Christopher “Kit” Bond or Congresswoman Joann Emerson, a strong case could be made for abandoning both Akin and McCaskill.
If Akin formally withdraws from the race, he’d have to pay the costs involved, but he can accomplish the same end nonetheless. If Akin comes to realize he can’t win (as the rest of the world recognizes), he can first announce he’s suspending his campaign, then a few days later announce that “For the sake of the nation I ask my supporters to get behind the candidacy of the Republican write-in candidate.”
What this would accomplish
A genuine and strong write-in candidacy by a popular Republican would accomplish several things.
It would effectively change the subject from abortion to whatever the candidate wanted to talk about – don’t forget such a candidate has nothing to lose, so saying things that are combative to the media would quickly draw attention away from Akin.
It would re-energize the conservatives in Missouri, giving them a reason to be enthusiastic, which will produce lots of volunteers for the write-in candidate. I also suspect that money would pour in to such a campaign as well.
This will help down ballot Republicans in Missouri and other places around the country –again by letting them change the subject.
The most tangible benefit, however, would be that it would allow Mitt Romney to campaign in Missouri with the write-in candidate. This puts his plans to win Missouri back on track.