The magic deadline wasn't yesterday—that was just the date that Akin could quit with zero hassle. He actually has until Sept. 25 to quit, as long as he gets a court order (which would be a routine matter) and he pays for the reprinting of ballots. The Missouri Republican Party, national Republicans, and Karl Rove would all happily chip in to cover those costs. And despite his defiance this week, he has refused to rule out reconsidering.
When asked by host George Stephanopolous if he would stay in past a final Sept. 25 deadline to withdraw, even if it looked like he was going to lose, Akin hesitated a bit.As I've repeatedly said, the state's demographics favor Akin. So if Democrats soft-pedal it for the next month, they could continue to play rope-a-dope with Akin, and then hit him hard as soon as the hard deadline passes.
“Well, George, I’m never going to say everything that could possibly happen; I don’t know the future.” He added, “I believe that we can win this race.”
Then, watch the NRSC and Karl Rove toss aside their promises to stay out of the race because no way they concede this state, not with Claire McCaskill's woeful numbers.
The one wild card—and it's something we haven't seen before—is the full-court press from the conservative movement to discard Akin. Normally, conservatives rally around their heroes when targeted by the media and Democrats. Had the GOP done that, Akin would be riding strong. But with everyone outside of the hardline anti-choice group falling in line and demanding Akin quit, conservatives may yet abandon him early.
Keep in mind, Akin won his primary without any establishment support, and without the help of the Sarah Palins of his party. He owes no one anything, thus no one has leverage with him. He won by rallying his core supporters—evangelical conservatives. If he loses that crowd, the game is up. The question is whether they give a crap what Sarah Palin and Sean Hannity think.