#AskAbbott: What Was He Thinking?

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In a misguided attempt to get the ball rolling on his recently announced gubernatorial campaign, Attorney General Greg Abbott posted this tweet on Wednesday evening:

Immediately after he tweeted the request, questions started pouring in. The response, however, was clearly not what he had expected.

Get the fully story after the jump.In the hours before the Town Hall began, Texans used the hashtag to force Abbott to justify his support of destructive policies.

Many of the #AskAbbott inquiries centered around his eager response to the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act, which had previously regulated Texas's ability to suppress minority voters. The court ruling was announced less than a year after a federal court struck down Texan redistricting maps because they discriminate against minority voters.

Greg Abbott was also a strong proponent of the extremely strict Texas voter ID law, which tightened the regulations surrounding acceptable photo identification at the polls, despite a lack of evidence that voter fraud is a significant problem. The legislation unduly burdens poor and elderly voters without reliable transportation who may not have access to or means to recover a driver's license, passport, or concealed handgun license.

Abbott responded to one participant who asked about his fear of the minority and elderly vote.

Unnecessary obstructions to voting that target minority citizens and people in poverty actually encourage voter participation? You're going to need more than 140 characters to explain that one, Greg.

Unsurprisingly, women's health care was the subject of several questions during the Twitter Town Hall.

Several Texans asked pointed questions about Abbott following in Gov. Perry's footsteps of slashing family planning and leaving millions of Texans uninsured. However, Abbott refused to provide any details about his plans to continue chipping away at women's reproductive rights and Texas health services. Instead, he offered this answer:

Endearing, Greg, but most Texans don't have the privilege of rolling in that abundant Abbott cash. We would like to know if the government plants to ensure adequate public health measures for more than a few of your family members.

We expected Abbott to trip up on those topics, but he even blundered on some of the serious issues with ample ground for bipartisan schmoozing.

The 140-character limit for tweets can be infuriating, but it can also be an opportunity to be succinct. For Greg Abbott's next Twitter Town Hall, I suggest choosing one of these short phrases instead of describing vague ideas of what has and hasn't been accomplished: Citizenship pathway. Stop gun trafficking. Rework drug policies.

The Latino vote will continue to be a huge determining factor in next year's election, particularly if Republicans further entrench themselves in an anti-immigration, anti-women, anti-minority voters platform. Battleground Texas wondered how Abbott plans to reach out to the Latino community.

A rough translation reads, “My wife is Latina. And she installed this Spanish dictionary on my iPhone.”

Of course, some of the best tweets of the night had little to do with politics and more to do with convincing Greg Abbott to stay off Twitter.

But even if Greg Abbott's Twitter Town Hall didn't turn out as he planned, he still started a trend. Sen. Wendy Davis began answering a series of lighthearted questions on Twitter this Thursday afternoon. Our favorite?

We hope to see those ass-kickin' boots in action this fall.

Image courtesy of AP Photo


About Author

Natalie San Luis

Natalie is a native Texan, a feminist, and a writer, focusing on reproductive justice, race, and pop culture. When she's not writing (and sometimes when she is), she's brewing beer, drinking beer, and reading stuff on the Internet. Her work has been featured on The Huffington Post, xoJane, The Billfold, Culturemap, and E3W Review of Books. She tweets from @nsanluis.

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