I guess their original plan was to hold it on New Year’s Eve, but that’s actually after the election.

Still, I don’t know that the sole debate between GOP Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke would’ve been a ratings champ, anywhere on the calendar. Texans see and hear their governor pretty much constantly, and, well, Beto ain’t exactly running a basement campaign either.

If you’re like me, you feel like you know both of them. Too well.

To sum up, Abbott left the door open to be defeated this year, with his windsock approach to COVID-19 and his coziness with the worst kind of establishment Republicans, like the party’s legislative leadership. All it would have taken was a reasonable Democrat.

Instead, the Dems went with the Squirrel Whisperer, and I don’t think it was just his Cabbage Patch Kid personality. The man prints campaign dollars like he was Janet Yellen, and that can make up for a lot.

Abbott’s polling lead probably reflects the floor for Republican support for a statewide candidate at this point, and I bet he’ll exceed the seven-point margin when we actually vote. Not out of enthusiasm for him, though, but because Beto makes Liz Warren seem authentic.

They’re both out of touch with us, but one is in another solar system, and the other is just in a wobbly orbit.

As for this debate, today, the O’Rourke campaign is screaming about there being no studio audience. Abbott’s people say that was always the plan, but the media sponsor, and the Democrats, say the guv’s people insisted on that condition. As Hillary likes to say, ‘what difference at this point does it make?!”

In my experience, when you’re quibbling about the debate rules on the day of the debate, you’re losing the debate. Just how it looks to me.

But back to the no-audience in the studio factor: Abbott probably figures his supporters would rather be anywhere else on a fall Friday night.

So, the TV studio was figuring to be a Beto room all the way. They won’t be checking the scores on their phones, but they’ll be hitting the Earth Burger drive-thru on the way home.

Instead of bemoaning no studio audience, I’d be more worried about whether anyone outside the studio will even be paying attention.

KTSA will air the debate, courtesy of KSAT-12 and Nexstar, at 7PM tonight.


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