Wednesday, October 1, 2014 - Volume 5, Number 7

© Copyright 2014, The Ultrapolis Project.  All Rights Reserved.

Texas Governor Debates Reveal Strategic Flaw

Soft-spoken Greg Abbott Faces Tough, Trash-Talking Wendy Davis





Abbott Strategy

Takes High Road

And Gets Repeatedly Sucker-Punched in the Underbelly


Last night Texans had their second opportunity to witness a debate between the two candidates for the office of governor of their state, the second largest state in the American union.  While the governorship of the State of Texas is not the most powerful in the state’s form of government, it is the most prominent, and carries the loudest clout in its politics.


For 100 years a firmly Democratic state, Texas is now one of the most Republican in the country, with all, 100%, state-wide offices held by Republicans.


The last time Texans favored a Democrat in a presidential election was in 1976, in the wake of the disgraceful fall of Richard Nixon.


It is in this environment that, despite the overnight fame and popularity of Wendy Davis among liberal progressives, an Abbott victory has been largely perceived as inevitable.  It still is an almost certain outcome.  But, the debates from last night exposed a flaw in the Abbott campaign strategy that, unattended, could lead to an upset.


Round One Reveals Strategies


The Abbott strategy, evident from the first debate held on September 19, seems to be to avoid confrontation or even engagement, and run out the clock.  And, this is normally a winning strategy when one has a vast lead, and little more can be gained by a face-to-face matchup.  However, once one has agreed to even one matchup, even if the approach remains to avoid any hand-to-hand combat, one needs to come prepared to land some blows – just in case your opponent manages to make contact.


Attorney General Abbott entered the debates without any hope of converting any voters already in the Davis camp.  Most of the independent or centrist voters were his to lose.  So, he no doubt was advised to stay amiable, avoid targeting or engaging Senator Davis directly, and do his best to avoid giving her credibility by responding to any of her charges. 


In the first debate, despite the repeated scolding and contemptuous language that delivered damning accusations from the lady senator to the Texas Attorney General, the general remained dispassionate and fixed on his higher political perch.  We thought then that it was too dispassionate.


Continued column 2 >



Ultrapolis World Forecast & Review

Ultrapolis Project – ultrapolisproject.com



Editor: Marco Antonio Roberts

Copy Editor: Michael Alberts

Contributing Editors:

Mark Eastman

Mark Steele









< From column 1


Partly due to Wendy Davis’ obvious stiffness, highlighted by her halting diction that echoes a wooden Al Gore, her carpet-bombing in the first debate did not do much damage to Greg Abbott’s bunker of gentlemanly, polite dismissiveness (Wendy Davis who?).  So what if he left accusations un-rebutted and unanswered?  Most next-day news stories reported an inconsequential debate.  But, he did leave those accusations unanswered, to perhaps linger in some undecided voters’ minds.


Round Two: The Gloves Are Off

(On One Side)


In this second debate, it was as if both campaigns doubled down on their strategies.  Senator Davis added napalm and cluster bombs to her attack, missing no question, no rebuttal, not even an answer to her own question, as an opportunity to berate the attorney general, and accuse him of failure of leadership, of persistently lying, of hypocrisy (“talks out of both sides of his mouth”), and all sorts of damnable policies that led to the denial of food, education, and health benefits to children and the needy.


In the case where it was Senator Davis’ turn to ask Attorney General Abbott a question, she actually stopped him in mid-response, and took over to provide her own response.  Texas’ chief attorney allowed himself to be silenced.


Through it all, Mr. Abbott kept his distance, and refused to engage or retaliate.  Then, when he finally did emerge from his bunker to spear the Senator over an alleged conflict of interest in her acts as a city councilwoman in Fort Worth, where he accused her of illicitly profiting, she so flatly denied the entirety of his accusation, he was left verbally naked in the battlefield, with not a word more to come from the flummoxed expression on his face.  One could only conclude that either the attorney general did not know what he was talking about, or the senator is a pathological liar.  Either way, Wendy Davis knew that accusation was coming, and was prepared for Greg Abbott’s single serious charge.  Greg Abbott was not prepared for her at all.


Continued column 3 >


< From column 2


How to Not Fight a Woman


The seemingly milquetoast Attorney General brought a wicker shield and a switchblade to this fight, while his robotic opponent brought a hatchet.


It is one thing to avoid engagement with an opponent that is determined to get you dirty in the tussle.  It is another thing entirely to remain disengaged after she has already covered you in dirt.


It is actually rather difficult to battle an aggressive challenger.  Leading candidates can always be seen as lacking magnanimity if they come down too hard on an underdog challenger. Moreover, in this race, regardless of what politically correct people may think or say, gender-bias does cut both ways.  A harsh attack by one male Greg Abbott to one female Wendy Davis can very easily be turned into another example of the GOP’s so-called “war on women.”  


Difficult and tricky as it may be, Greg Abbott may just have to find a way.   If not for this election, for a future one.




Our forecast record cannot be beat.  One can follow the herd chasing the latest hyperbolic, melodramatic, and soon-forgotten micro-trend on Facebook and Twitter, or one can be wisely and judiciously in front of it with UWFR. 


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