Abbott’s pre-debate behavior tells us a lot about what to expect tonight.
Did you know that Greg Abbott refused to debate Beto unless there was no audience? There are two reasons why Abbott is doing this.
- He knows he will be lying and can’t face the people of Texas.
- Beto will call him out on all of his bad governance, and he is too fragile to hear boos.
Regardless, Abbott is one-dimensional, and it’s easy to predict what he will say tonight.
Abbott will try and paint Beto in a box with Biden since Biden’s approval rate is low in Texas. This is Abbott’s go-to M.O. Whenever he sees an opportunity to blame Biden for his failures as governor; he takes it. Looking back at the 2014 debate between Abbott and Wendy Davis, he spent the entire time trying to paint Davis in a box with Obama.
This should be easy for Beto to push back against.
Beto has spent his campaign distancing himself from D.C. politics. Most of us know that what happens in D.C. and Texas are two very different things. All Beto has to remind Abbott that the governor is in charge of Texas, not the bureaucrats in D.C.
If Beto can articulate that in a way that shows the people that Abbott is Texas’ biggest failure, it will squash multiple prepared talking points the governor has.
Abbott will attack Beto on his previous statements on guns. He will likely use fear-based language like “gun-grab” or “take your guns.”
Over the last few months, Beto has been more concise on his gun position than in previous years. Tonight, he’ll gain points if he can express his belief in Texas’ long history of responsible gun ownership and tie the gun problem to mass shootings.
Abbott will be weak in defending the number of mass shootings on his watch.
Six terrible mass shootings have happened while Greg Abbott has been governor. Sutherland Springs, Santa Fe, El Paso, Midland-Odessa, and Uvalde. After each incident, Abbott has talked about mental illness and blamed evil but has never taken action to prevent it from happening again.
Beto should remind the viewers that on top of that, Abbott has cut access to mental healthcare.
There’s no question that Beto will attack Abbott on the power grid, including his million-dollar donations from big oil CEOs like Kelcy Warren. Abbott has yet to defend his failure of leadership regarding the hundreds of Texans who lost their lives after not having electricity for days in the 2021 winter storm.
Since Abbott has no defense on that, he might try to pivot by bringing up the donation Beto got from George Soros.
Unfortunately for Abbott, Beto is also well-prepared for that one, too.
At the end of every Beto rally, the audience gets to ask some questions. Beto’s team often hands the mic to Abbott supporters, people wearing Trump hats, and hardcore Conservatives. This has given Beto a lot of practice rebutting right-wing talking points, like, “You got money from George Soros.”
Beto has said that his campaign has received 500,000 (last I heard) individual donations, and he’s grateful for them all. Then he points to teachers as the largest demographic contributing to his campaign.
To win this debate, Beto needs to keep a laser focus on Abbott’s record.
Greg Abbott has been a shit governor for everyone in Texas, making less than $1 million yearly. Under his reign, millions have suffered. Children, school teachers, voters, POC, women, and the disabled have all been hurt by Abbott in one way or another.
If Abbott mentions he plans on lowering property taxes, Beto needs to rebut how they’ve gone up every year Abbott’s been in office.
If Abbott mentions he backs law enforcement, Beto needs to rebut how crime has gone up under Abbott due to lax gun regulations, high levels of poverty, and the GOP’s school-to-prison pipeline.
Since Abbott has such a dismal record, we should expect him to lie throughout the debate.
The best way for Beto to handle that will be to call him out. If Abbott is lying, Beto should call Abbott a liar. It’ll be the only way to move past it. If Abbott is allowed to get away with a lie, he’s going to drill down on that lie harder.
We should all expect Abbott to lie about Beto’s positions, as he’s already done so much. Defunding the police, raising taxes, and taking your guns are only a few of Abbott’s lies when it comes to Beto.
Beto is super passionate but should be mindful of how worked up he’s getting.
We all know this goes beyond saying the occasional “fuck” or calling a heckler a “mother fucker.” While most of us love Beto because of his rawness, the point of the debate is to win over the “maybe” voters or switch some Republicans. If Beto can pace himself and not get worked up in a moment, he’s passionate about it. It will go a long way with the voters he’s trying to reach.
If Beto can keep pivoting back to Abbott’s record. Beto will win this debate, but if he can do so while spotlighting Abbott’s failures, it will swing the polls a few points. (Although the polls aren’t accounting for newly registered voters).
The debate is live streamed on KXAN and the KXAN Facebook at 7:00 pm.
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