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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

November 6, 2012 at 7:22 PM

Akin’s loss in Missouri to McCaskill teaches other candidates a lesson about rape and rhetoric

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) won her re-election for Senator of Missouri.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) won her re-election for Senator of Missouri. (Photo courtesy of ClaireMcCaskill.com)

SEATTLE — Missouri has been a real-world experiment in politics. The question: Can a candidate push the rhetorical envelope, become a pariah of their party, and still win?

Missouri Rep. Todd Akin (R) has taken up this charge while running against incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) for Senate. Akin has caught national headlines for several controversial comments.

The biggest of which happened in August during a local TV interview when Akin was asked whether he supported abortion in the case of rape. In response Akin said, “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Previously during the Republican primaries, Akin said that federal student loans have given America “stage 3 cancer of Socialism.”

Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Todd Akin's Facebook page)

Rep. Todd Akin (R) of Missouri. (Photo courtesy of Todd Akin’s Facebook page)

And before all of this, back in 2008, Akin claimed that women who were not pregnant were still getting abortions from “abortionists…the very bottom of the food chain of the medical profession.”

But after a long election season, Missouri voters gave us the answer: You can push the envelope, but you’re not going to win. As of just past 7PM PT, NBC and FOX have called the race, and McCaskill has won.

Akin can now commiserate over the fallout of ill-fated rape comments with the likes of GOP Senate candidate Richard Mourdock, who lost his bid tonight in Indiana after recently saying, “even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” and Clayton Williams, a Republican candidate for Texas Governor who ran and lost against Ann Richards in 1990. At an event, Williams related bad weather to rape when he said: “As long as it’s inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it.”

Let it be known candidates of 2014 and beyond, be mindful of your words because just saying “I misspoke” afterwards does not heal all political wounds.

Comments | More in National | Topics: Claire McCaskill, Clayton Williams, Missouri Senate

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