Reading Ch 4
Reading Ch 4 GOVT 2306.003
Popular in State and Local Government
Popular in Political Science
POLS 1101 096
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Witt RQMTEQM R 39i ER When will Texas turn blue That is when will Texas turn Democratic enabling key statewide offices to be held once again by members of the Democratic Party Political pundits across the nation and in Texas have been asking this largely because of two parallel de velopments the ongoing dominance of the Republican Party in the state and the state s growing minority population which is increasingly Latino Following the Civil War until the election of Ronaid Reagan in 1980 Texas was largely a oneparty state Conservative Democrats from rural areas dominated state politics in all branches of government The first Republican senator from Texas since Reconstruction was John Tower elected in an offyear elec tion in 1961 to replace the newly elected vice president Lyndon Johnson The first Republican governor since Reconstruction was William Clements elected in 1978 Throughout the 1990s the state was transformed from a Democratic to a Republican bastion With the retirement of Democratic lieutenant governor Bob Buliock at the beginning of 1999 Republicans took over complete control of all statewide offices The control of the Texas House of Representatives shifted to the Republicans in 2002 paving the way for a redistricting fight and ultimately in 2004 a Republican takeover of both branches of the state legislature By 2004 Texas had become solidly Republican a key player in the coalition of conser vative interests that came to dominate the national Republican Party One might expect that a triumphant Republican Party might seek out new ways to appeal to the grow ing Latino population in the state and cement its hold over state politics by broadening its political base After all some conservative values that is opposition to abortion and to samesex marriagew may appeal to some in the Latino community particularly those with strong Catholic religious beliefs Surpris ingly though the 2014 Republican primary was filled with candidates staking out political positions that seemed against the interests of most Latino voters For example some of these very conservative can didates had strong antiimmigration messages and supported tighter restrictions on voting At the very time that one might expect the Republican Party to moderate itself and adopt positions more in line with an emerging Latino electorate the party was being driven to the right The election of Julian Castro as mayor of San Antonio along with the election of his twin Joaquin Castro to a congressional seat from San Antonio has led some to believe that a Democratic wind is in the air Democrats have staked their hope in the large and growing Latino population as most Latinos still identify with the Democratic Party Nevertheless there are undercurrents that raise questions about J 105 the ability of Democrats to rise to power on a Latino tsunami Later we will p ople in the electorate who identify with a particular party and vote for that explore the problem of low voting rates among Latinos in Texas elections in this 39 39 mes candidates on a regular basis Chapter we note that some Latino elected officials and a substantial minorit of I iPoIitical arties hel candidates win elections and assist voters in making their y p P the Latino population identify as Repubiican Several Latinos have won statewide lectoral choices Perhaps the most important function of parties in Texas is that office as Republicans in recent years including Victor Carrillo to the Railroad their PTOVide 3 labd under WhiCh candidates can run and With WhiCh mters can Commission and Eva Guzman to the Texas Supreme Court Repub can and Tea identify Because Texas elects large numbers of officeholders it is unlikely that Party leaning Ted Cruz 3 Cuban American was elected to the US39 Senate in avaters will be familiar with the views or the quali cations of every candidate 2012 in contrast with African Americans who have remained solidi Democratic quotHowever Texas voters overwhelmingly identify with or lean toward either the I39 p 39I 7 u I as a group La os are more Willing to cross party lines and vote for Republi Republlca Party or the Democratic Party Those voters use the party affiliation of the candidates as a way to decide for whom to vote Thus for many voters with cans For example Latino votes were a factor In Republican George W Bush s Victory in the governors races of 1994 and 1998 B h d fut other information the party label becomes the standard they apply 1n casting 39 3 recewe nearly 40 perquot quot ballot for a candidate Voters often use the party label as a cue to the ideology cent of the Latino vote in 1998 and his success signaled the possibility that La I I I if candidates A voter may assume that for example a Republican candidate is a tinos might be gradually shifting to the Republican Party Although a largeuscale quot l39conservative and may vote for or against that candidate because of the ideology shift of Latinos toward the Republicans has not yet come to pass and some that a party af liation implies2 observers doubt that it is likely the underlying reality remains that Republicans I Parties to some extent help in raising money for candidates campaigns and cannot ignore a group that makes up nearly 40 percent of the state s population If in assisting candidates with legal requirements and training for a campaign They it they expect to continue winning elections in twentyfirst century Texas 39 sometimes recruit candidates for political races although in Texas any candidate Whether Texas continues to be a red Republican or a blue Democratic may F1113 in 3 Part Primary and if Victorious 311 the Primary W111 become the Part state it is important to understand political parties and their structure because nominee39 Parties also assist in gaming Ont the Vote for Candidates through phonf knowledge of the rules in government is essential to advancing public policy banks doopdefor Tntacts and other Efforts Because parties play such a large role in government processes we must know once a candidate 15 ElfCtEd to Of ce party af hatmn hdpg m orgimmfg the how parties are organized how candidates are selected and how partisanship government Toferiors W111 ilsgaily 3013 pgogi Who 3r Kimball 91mm 01m in uences public gong This chapter Wm address the histor of oli cal u party Increasrng y t eTexas egis ature is v1 e y party 11 to 0 cut 3 may a so y p par feel a greater sense of loyalty and cooperation toward other public of crals of their ties in Texas the current party system and what the future holds for the party party After all they often campaign together and make appearances at the same 335th m the State limitlde some answers TO the mUCh39ialkedabOIlt QUESTION political events and their fortunes often rise and fall together based on the popu of quotwhen Texas will turn blue larity of the party In that sense the banding together of officeholders with the same party af liation provides voters an opportunity to hold the party accountable for its policies or its failures g 2 it Texas Parties in the National pontext 26 F I I It I States differ in terms of the strength of the political parties and parties also tend p 7 5 to have less power at the state level than they do in the national government For quot 39 39 i 39 example in neighboring Louisiana the parties are relatively weak In the Louisi I e If 39 39 ana legislature even though the majority party controls committee assignments 7 H l 39 39 39 F F 39 39 chairs of committees sometimes include a mix of Democrats and Republicans This has historically also been true in Texas The current speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus from San Antonio is considered a moderate Republican and a I owes his election to the speakership to many Democrats in the legislature who The R019 0f Polltlcal Parties 1 Texas Politics voted to elect him speaker In recognition of their support Straus made some Democrats committee chairs This would never happen in the US Congress as Political parties can be looked at from anum parties are much more important in national politics in Congress the majority ber of perspectives In the narrowest sense 39 party gives leadership positions like committee chairs only to its own loyal party a political party refers to an organization of members people established to win elections This can Why might parties at the state level have less power Tip39lO Neill the former include peeple holding or running for of ce Speaker of the U S House used to say that all politics is local and this certainly who identify formally with the party It can rings true in Texas Local issues are usually not ideological in nature They often also refer to the professionals and volunteers who actively work for the election deal with who is most effective at creating jobs and keeping districts safe for resi of their party s candidates in a broader sense a political party can refer to those dents Voters in local races are therefore likely to be influenced by these concerns in CHAPTER 4 POLITiCAL PARTlES IN TEXAS THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS POLITICS 107 39 one of the most important functions of political parties is to select candidates to run for of ce under the party label The Republican Party of Texas of cially announced its candidates for of ce at its 2014 convention in Port IIIbirth n is Attitudes about Rattles like many Americans are increasingly identifying as independent How practice many self identi ed independents lean toward either Democratic ublican af liation What is the source of these political leanings The pro 39 foolitical socialization occurs throughout our early years when our parents re quots leaders teachers and others in uence our partisan identi cations Although can change over time for many people we often retain the same political is as those of our parents We are also profoundly shaped by our surrounding 39j39r nment Texas has a long history of state pride independence and conser am People growing up in the state are accustomed to these values and thus if orate them into their political ideologies and partisan preferences Visitors be state are often surprised about how much state pride exists For example lery notion of a state pledge of allegiance recited by many schoolchildren is a 39ctice that surprises people from other states How dees partisan af liation affect Texas voters According to a May 2012 j39c39as Tribune poll 56 percent of respondents cited party af liation as either very or 39mewhat important when deciding for whom to vote Party identi cation acts as important cue that signals candidates political views For the most part when wellsee an R or a D next to a candidate s name we make certain assumptions about the positions the candidate takes Of course other characteristics of candi dates matter too in the same poll voters also cited the candidate s record issue pdsitions and character as important considerations in their voting choices3 1 In Texas the Republican Party has complete control of state government and voters continue to reelect Republicans to all levels of government This does not mean that there is no competition within the Republican Party however Repub lican primaries often pit conservatives against moderates An example of this was the Republican gubernatorial primary between Governor Rick Perry and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in 2009 Perry positioned himself to the right of Hutchison even though she had compiled a conservative voting record in the US Senate since her election in 1994 At the conservative end of the spectrum the Tea Party movement is particu larly strong in Texas In a February 2013 Texas Tribune poll nearly 20 percent of respondents said that they would vote for a Tea Party candidate if the movement organized as a third party When asked about the Tea Party s influence on the state Republican Party respondents were split 31 percent felt that the Tea Party had too much in uence 18 percent thought their degree of in uence was about right and 28 percent thought that they had too little in uence4 According to a 2012 Texas Tribune poll roughly 34 percent of voters in Texas would support a generic Democratic candidate while 45 percent would support a generic Republican candidateS This leaves a substantial remainder of swing voters who ultimately decide elections Since their control of state government gives Republicans a built in advantage it is increasingly dif cult for Democrats to win statewide political socialization the the political culture learning on which the political system is based addition to hotbutton issues such as abortion and samesex marriage This means that partisanship has been less important in running the everyday business of the state To be sure ideological issues might matter in certain statelevel elections dur ing some election years Partisan polarization which is the degree to which Republi cans have become more conservative and Democrats have become more liberal is beginning to become more pronounced in the Texas legislature Partisan polariza tion in politics means that it is increasingly dif cult for politicians to compromise on important policy issues Compromise is often considered a sign of weakness and caving in to the other side Party politics in Texas is similar to party politics in some other southern states but there are important differences Other southern states have had historically larger African American populations than Texas As we will discuss later African Americans are generally loyal Democrats They constitute nearly 30 percent of the population in Mississippi and Louisiana for example In Texas African Americans are concentrated in east Texas and in the major urban areas and represent only 12 percent of the state s population Another major difference between Texas and some other southern states is Texas s large HiSpanic population which currently is estimated at 38 percent of the state39s population Like African Americans Hispan ics tend to be Democrats but not to the same degree To a certain extent Texas is similar to New Mexico Arizona and Colorado in terms of its large Hispanic population In contrast with the Hispanic population in Arizona however Tejanos Texans of Mexican descent are more likely to have re sided in the state for generations In Arizona the Sonora Desert region is the largest gateway for Mexican immigration and new immigrants in Arizona exhibit political behavior that differs from that of their Tejano counterparts in many ways For ex ample new immigrants are even more likely than Tejanos to identify as Democrats and to see the Democratic Party as more supportive of immigrant rights partisan polarization the degree to which Republicans have become more conservative and Democrats have become more liberal the contemporary Republican Rarty in taxes Texas Republicans are currently experiencing a major division within the party Established probusiness Republicans have dominated state politics in recent years but the Tea Party movement has begun to in uence state legislative races as well as major statewide races introduction of individuals into While ranningfor lieutenant governor in 2014 Dan Patrick positioned himself as more conservative than his opponent fellow Republican David Deivltnrst Here Patrick is seen campaigning with Miles ankabee a conservative media personality and former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Consider the lieutenant governor s race in 2013 The Republican candidate Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst had the endorsement of Governor Rick Perry and many of the state s political leaders However state senator Dan Patrick a darling of the Tea Party movement posed a signi cant challenge to Dewhurst es pecially in terms of grassroots support Patrick was one of several Republicans who challenged Dewhurst because they sensed a weak candidate who lost the U S Sen ate primary in 2012 to now senator Ted Cruz Patrick ran to the right of Dewhurst and all the other candidates especially on his immigration positions in a debate in early 2014 he called for an end to the invasion of illegal immigrants from the Southern border In a low turnout primary in early March 2014 Patrick forced Dewhurst into a runoff by winning a plurality of 41 percent versus Dewhurst s 28 percent In the runoff primary Patrick overwhelmed Dewhurst receiving 65 per cent of the vote compared to 35 percent for Dewhurst it was remarkable that an incumbent lieutenant governor would be defeated in his onm party primary but Patrick successfully positioned himself to the right of Dewhurst in an increasingly conservative party Patrick ran ads criticizing Dewhurst for being too moderate a charge that is not particularly helpful in a Republican primary Patrick took a page from Cruz s playbook by criticizing Dewhurst for being an insider and state government of cial with endorsements from the state s political establishment Patrick went on to win the general election over Democrat Leticia Van de Putte a Latina state senator from San Antonio with 58 percent of the vote Texas Republicans currently hold all of the major statewide elected of ces The governor lieutenant governor comptroller attorney general members of the state Supreme court and the railroad commissioners are all Republicans Texas Demo crats have attempted to recruit challengers for these of ces but have come up S ort As the lieutenant governor s race demonstrates the major competition for important statewide of ces occurs during the Republican primary much in the same Way the Democratic primary used to ful ll this role when Texas was a Demo liratic state 39 The Republican Party in Texas has not always been so powerful Prior to 1994 Democrats held many statewide of ces in Texas Ann Richards the state s last Democratic governor was a proud liberal as was former US senator Ralph Yar borough who championed the Bilingual Education Act in 1968 However few pundits seriously thought that the Democratic candidates for the US Senate seat in 2012 had a realistic chance of winning the general election in November This is a remarkable change from only 10 years prior when Democrat Ron Kirk was seen by Democrats as a more formidable candidate for statewide of ce even though on Election Day he lost to Senator John Cornyn by double digits The ontemporary 9 amoeratie Party in Texas Texas Democrats have been relegated to minority status in the state since the early 2000s Democrats controlled the Texas House until 2002 Other southern states such as Arkansas still have Democratic legislatures and statewide elected of cials however these of ceholders are more conservative than the national Democratic Party in West Virginia for example Democrats dominate state government but in presidential elections the state often votes Republican Before 1994 Texas ex hibited similar voting patterns but now Republicans are elected to all statewide of ces at the state and federal levels Most Texas Democrats today would be classi ed as liberal The party s base is made up of African Americans Latinos and white liberals in urban areas Most white liberals are located in Austin Houston Dallas and San Antonio and have often moved to Texas from other parts of the country This coalition however is currently not large enough to win many elections in statewide races Most whites in the state have settled into the Republican Party and because whites turn out to vote at much higher rates than Latinos who are the fastestgrowing minority group in the state Republicans have won recent elections Democrats hope to mobilize Latinos who constitute nearly 40 percent of the state s population to encourage them to vote Sixtynine percent of Texas Latinos are American citizens by birth but a large proportion of these are under age 18 and cannot vote Moreover voter turnout rates among Texas Latinos are lower than the rates among their Anglo counterparts It will require extensive efforts to register and bring Latino voters to the polls in force to change this No Democrat has won Texas in apresidential race since Jimmy Carter in 1976 In 2012 Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won 57 percent of the vote in Texas while Barack Obama won just 41 percent Democratic candidates also fared poorly in the US Senate race to replace retiring senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Ted Cruz the Republican nominee won the of ce easily This does not mean that Texas Democrats do not have influehce in certain local ities in Travis County the home of Austin Democrats dominate city government Other major cities including Houston and San Antonio have Democratic mayors and city councils However this in uence does not extend to statewide elections CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS POLITICS Democrats eo391ttirnroily try to build their presence and power in Texas Most Democrats in Congress f1 o111 Texas are either Latino 11139Africn11 A 39l8 i7 Here fo rate r president B 139 ii Clinton appears at o coniposigrt event with fellow democrats state representative Pete Goilego D Aipine leftj former San Antonio 111113101 new Seer rte11y for 0 using one Urban1 Develop111e11t Julion Castro and U S cortgressmon Joaquin Castro n 1 igi1tjl titiri11gn retmtl39tligtt rally in So11A1itor1io When Democrat Bill White the jirmer mayor of Houston ran for governor in 20 0 he lost to Rick tierry Seven of the nine Democrats representing Texas in the US Congress are either Latino or African American The rst African American woman elected to Con gress from Texas was Barbara Jordan who played a major role in the investigation of Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal Her legacy remains strong among African Americans in Texas Lloyd Doggett of Austin and Gene Green of Houston are the only two white Democrats representing Texas in Congress This suggests that the majority of Texas Democrats are minorities and with the growth of the minority population in the state the party makeup will become more minority and less white This demographic change in Texas makes the state more similar to its southern neighbors In the Deep South the Democratic Party is mostly an African American party This is not true in the Northeast where more whites identify as Democrats than in the South Although many Texans proclaim that they are quotregistered Republicans or quotregis tered Democrats rTexas does not have a system of party registration Registered voters may vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary When they do vote in a primary their voter registration card will be stamped Democrat or Re puhlican to prevent them from voting in the other primary as well One of the most important functions of political parties is to select candidates to run for of ce under the party lahel Today that is done through primary elections If several candidates are running for the party nomination in a primary election it may he that none receive a majority vote In that case the party will hold a runoff election to determine who will be nominated Primaries were not always used to CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS I51 1 LB 6 antistride seep aerate fa39raeiswanitsquot an stasis cantata a aria 39 key Statesfas quotpartisanship 7fwiaai39ng 39 aa39n39sas Eil139 a 39 quotMasaipp 39 Masha anon 39 assa South i i 453 339 39 39 quot quotVirginia Losis39iana f 39 434 430 season 429 hi 39Ga39orlgia ffquot 2 I quot 451 39 39 Wisconsin 4114 39 Pennsyiveinia I 402 39 39Fiori39da 402 Z I 39 Minnesota Michigan 3731 351 New Jersey 352 Dalaware 39139 I 39 341 Maryland 39 New York I 324 39 303 Rhoa39s39aa 39 284 precinct the most basic level of political organization at the local level precinct chair the local party official elected in the party s primary election who heads the precinct convention and serves on the party s county executive committee county executive committee the party group made up of a party s county chair and precinct chairs that is responsible for running a county s primary elections and planning county conventions county chair the county party official who heads the county executive committee state executive committee the committee responsible for governing a party39s activities throughout the state state chair and vice chair the top two state level leaders in the party select the party nominee During the nineteenth century candidates were nomi nated at party conventions but early in the twentieth century the state moved to 39 the primary as a way to select candidates To understand how the parties are organized think first in terms of the perma nent organization of the party and then in terms of the temporary campaign or ganization see Figure 41 In each election precinct a precinct chair will be elected in the party primary The precinct chair will head the precinct convention and will also serve on the party s county executive committee In the primary the county chair will also be elected The county chair will head the county executive committee which is composed of the chair and the precinct chairs The main responsibility of the county executive committee is to run the county primary and plan the county conventions There may be other district committees as well for political divisions that do not correspond to the county lines At the state level there is a state executive committee which includes a state chair and vice chair These of cers are selected every two years at the state party conven tions The state executive committee accepts lings by candidates for statewide of ce It helps raise funds for the party and it helps establish party policy Both the Democratic and Republican parties also employ professional staff to run day today operations and to assist with special problems that affect the party The temporary organization of the party includes the precinct conventions The main role of the precinct conventions is to select delegates to the county convention and possibly to submit resolutions that may eventually become part of the party platform Delegates chosen by the precinct convention then go to the county conventions or in urban areas to district conventions These conventions will elect delegates to the state convention Both the Democratic and Republican parties hold state Temporary Organization Permanent Organization VIG39e39Gh39airiahd State wereGranite f i i g Ghent Et bvtir39e committee 39 2jiaaaaa Chair 39I39 use iii the I I 39 1 Pilot Films 114r CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTlES IN TEXAS Political parties in Texas are organized at the precinct level the county level and the state level This photo shows the Fayette County Republican Headquarters in La Grange conventions every other year These conventions certify the nominees of the party for statewide of ce adopt a platform and elect a chair a vice chair and a state executive committee In presidential election years the state conventions select delegates for the national party conventions elect delegates for the national party committee and choose presidential electors who if the party s choice for presi dent carries the state in the election will form ally cast the state s electoral votes for the president in the electoral college Con ict occurs not only between political parties but also within the parties Battles for control of a state party have often been fought in Texas politics where rival ideological and other interest groups have struggled to control precinct county and state conventions and to elect their candidates for precinct chair county chair and state executive committee in the 1950s struggles for control of the Demo cratic Party between liberals and conservatives were fierce There have also been calmer times in Texas politics when involvement in the parties has been minimal and battles have been few Sometimes apathy has been so great that precinct con ventions have been sparsely attended and of ces such as precinct chair have gone unfilled Third entries in Texas In Texas as in many other states the two parties in power have made it dif cult for third parties to gain access to the ballot In essence both partier agree that a third competitor is not a net positive for either party Thirdparty candidates rarely win elections in Texas In general thirdparty candidates are also seen as inevitable los ers at the ballot box and voters would prefer to quotgo with the winnerquot precinct convention a meeting held by a political party to select delegates for the county convention and to submit resolutions to the party s state platform precinct conventions are held on the day of the party s primary election and are open to anyone who voted in that election county convention a meeting held by a political party following its precinct conventions for the purpose of electing delegates to its state convention state convention a party meeting held every two years for the purpose of nominating candidates for statewide office adopting a platform electing the party s leadership and in presidential election years selecting delegates for the national convention and choosing presidential electors THE ROLE OF POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS POLITICS 39 115 hixiecrats conservative Democrats who abandoned the nationai Democratic Party in the 1948 presidential election La Raza Unida Party political party formed in Texas in order to bring attention to the concerns of Mexican Americans In Texas third parties have emerged at certain points in history mainly because of a particular issue In the late nineteenth century two farmers movements the Grange and the Populist movements provided alternatives to the two major political parties in various elections In 1948 racial integration became an issue when the States Rights i arty or Dixiecrats railied behind segregationist Strom Thurmond for president instead of Democratic Party candidate Harry Truman interestingly while Thurmond carried some states he did not carry Texas which voted for Truman Segregation became a thirdparty issue again in 1968 when Alabama governor George Wallace ran as a thirdparty candidate against the lib eral Democratic candidate Hubert Humphrey Echoing the success of Dixiecrat Thurmond Wallace carried a number of southern states but failed to win Texas which supported Humphrey Much of Humphrey s support can be attributed to the lingering popularity of President Johnson in the state The civil rights movement in the 19605 planted the seeds for an independent Latino movement named La tiara iinida meaning quotunited race Jose Angel Gutier rez led the party at its inception which was concentrated in Zavala County La Raza Unida developed into a third party in Texas and was able to win races in Crys tal City and other small towns in south Texas The party was able to do this by tali ing advantage of nonpartisan elections in many cities and towns Even today many cities such as Austin conduct nonpartisan elections This does not mean that the candidates running Jfor of ce do not belong to political parties it just means that their party af liation is not listed on the ballot Reformers in many cities pushed for this so that voters wouid vote on the basis of candidate quali cations rather than by political party La Raza Unida won many of these races in Zavala County and other surrounding counties so that at one point the party was able to take Independent candidates face considerable challenges in elections Although the musician and writer Kinky Friedman s 2006 candidacy for governor attracted major media attention Friedman received only 124 percent of the vote av amines CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS in Texas as inmost other states all state legislators and members of the executive branch are members of one of the two major politicai parties the Democratic Party or the Republican Party As discussed in this chapter the state parties hold primary elections in order to determine who their candi dates will be for the general election Voters are not necessarin limited to choosing between the two major par ties For example third party presiden tial candidate Gary Johnson represent ing the Libertarian Party appeared on the ballot in all 50 states in 2012 However general election bailot access is difficult in Texas because of Saws passed by the legislature This results in many elections between candidates of the two major political partiesf Texas requires parties that did not get 5 percent of the vote in a previous statewide race to collect a minimum number of signatures for their candir date to get on the ballot This number must equal at least 1 percent of the total number of people who voted in the most recent gubernatorial election Other states have similar requirements for ballot access However in Texas parties that hope to qualify for inclu sion on the ballot by petition are also required to notify the state that they intend to do so This lawr passed in 1993 is unique to Texas The intention form is usually due in January of election years Many third parties point out that this requirement discriminates against parties that are formed in the spring of election years because by then it is too late to complete the form If Texas had a law like this in 1912 Theodore Roosevelt could not have put his new Progressive or quotBull Moosequot Party on the ballot because even the idea for the party did not occur to Roosevelt until he failed to get the Republican presidential nomina tion in June 1912 Should Texas make it easier or more difficult for third parties to gain access to the baltot Proponents of Texas like most states makes it chaiiengingfor minor party candidates iike Gary Johnson to get on the ballot the law argue that adding more un certainty to the political process by allowing more names on the ballot only muddies the waters as historical elecw tion returns indicate that one of the two major party candidates will most likely win Adding third parties to balm lots might thwart the will of the people by allowing a candidate to win without majority support Some point to the presidential election of 2000 when Vice President Al Gore lost Florida s electoral votes and thus the election because of the presence of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader on the Florida ballot Opponents of the law argue that the two major political parties have joined forces to eliminate competi tion This leads to strict ballot access laws requiring stringent deadlines and in some cases unrealistic numbers of signatures of registered voters in a given area Opponents also argue that in a democracy access to the ballot should be open so that voters have a true say on Election Day Limiting the ballot to only two parties severely restricts the will of the people 3 Ross Ramsey quotSmaller Parties Refuse to Be Counted Outquot New Yorlr Times April 6 2012 p A19 i Texas Secretary of State wwwcosstatetxus electionsjformslBiODtlpdf accessed 5f514 1 The Coalition for Free and Open Elections httpcofoenrg Ballot Access News wwwhailot Laccessorg accessed 51514 first past the post an election rule that states that the winner is the candidate who receives a plurality of the votes singlemember district an electorate that is allowed to elect only one representative for each district Duverger39s Law the observation that in a single member district system of electing representatives a twonparty system will emerge proportional representation a multimemher district system that allows each political party representation in proportion to its percentage of the total vote control of some city councils school boards and even the top city job of mayor By 1972 the party nearly cost Democrat Dolph Briscoe the governorship because of the candidacy of Ramsey Mu iz Nhile this movement ultimately faded away 39 as most thirdparty movements do it marked the growing in uence of Latinos in quot the state In recent years the Libertarian Party in Texas has emerged as a thirdparty al ternative to the two major political parties While running candidates for a wide 7 range of offices across the state the Libertarian Party has not been successful at the polls and had little impact on Election Day For the most part it has been a party of protest where people dissatis ed with politics in the state can express their discon tent at the polls Libertarians believe in limited government and can be considered fiscal conservatives and social liberals Former US representative Ron Paul of Lake Jackson nominally a Republican ran for president in 1988 as a Libertarian and his isolationist views on foreign policy in particular are quite distinct from those of other Republicans Libertarians are particularly active in some of the major cities including Austin While they do not win very many elections they can influence politics in other ways For example the major parties may adopt some of the posi tions promoted by Libertarians or members of other minor parties in order to win their support in runoff elections The most recent case involving a signi cant threat to the majorparty candidates was the 2006 election for governor Rick Perry was seen as a vulnerable incum bent especially during a year that was not particularly favorable for Republicans Democrat Chris Bell a former Houston member of Congress won the Democratic nomination but two major independent candidates also ran for governor They were former comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn from Austin and musician and humorist Kinky Friedman whose catchy slogan was Why the hell not When all the ballots were counted Perry was reelected governor with 39 percent of the vote While it is not clear that a twoway race between Bell and Perry would have ensured a Bell victory the candidacies of Strayhorn and Friedman damaged what ever mandate Perry could claim from a victory without a majority lNhy don t people vote for third parties In general elections Texas employs what is known as a first past the post singlemember district electoral system Under a rst past the post system only the candidate who wins the plurality of votes that is the most votes is elected According to Duverger s Law this type of voting system tends to favor a twoparty system because a vote for a thirdparty candidate gen erally does not result in a win Consider the 2006 governor s race in which Perry won with less than an outright majority Although Friedman and Strayhorn made a good showing for thirdparty candidates they still only received 124 percent and 181 percent of the vote respectively Even if a runoff election had occurred it would have been between the top two vote getters Perry and Bell This is not to say that a vote for a thirdparty candidate is wasted because majorparty candi dates as well as the parties themselves can often be responsive to voters who might have voted for a thirdparty candidate Winning candidates often run in future elections and would like to appeal to constituents who might not have supported them in the past In contrast some other countries use a system of proportionai representation that encourages third party voting because even if a party wins only 10 percent of the vote in an election it will still win 10 percent of the seats in the legislature or other CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS resentative body Voters in these countries are therefore more likely to vote for and minor parties because they will almost certainly be able to elect at least of these candidates Many American voters believe that their votes would be wasted if they voted quota thirdparty candidate This expectation is rational as the history of elections quotlows that a Republican or Democrat will almost always win Most voters logically id39e39Cide that it makes more sense to vote for the majornparty candidate whose ideol g39y is closest to their own the occupy and tea harry overheats in Texas The recent Gccupy and Tea Party movements have become prominent nationwide and Texas Occupy has held demonstrations in Austin and other major Texas cities testing the influence of big banks and Wall Street on American politics Tea Party advocates however have had greater influence in Texas mainly because of their libertarian antitax message which resonates with many Texans The implications these antitax policies in Texas means less funding for Km 2 and higher education and fewer social services such as children s health care programs I Tea Party organizers have not yet sought to run a thirdparty candidate in elec tions however instead they have tried to influence Republican primary elections see Figure 42 They believe that they can have more influence in state politics if they become a force to be reckoned with within the Republican Party Undoubtedly this is a wise strategy given the history of defeat for third parties not only in the state but nationwide Tea Barty groups have focused their efforts on key statewide races They have campaigned against incumbents such as Speaker Straus of San How would you rate the Tea Party s Do you support or oppose the Occupy influence in the Republican Party Wall Street or 99 percent protests taking place in cities across the country 20 17 occupy movement politicai movement aimed at limiting the influence of Wall Street and big corporations in American politics created following government bailouts in 2008 Tea Party movement created after Barack Obama s election a political movement that advocates lower government spending lower taxes and limited government THE ROLE OF POLiTICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS POLITICS 119 The Tea Party1 has had a strong in uence on the Republican Party Tea Party leader Kormi Burton got the Republican nomination for Wench Davis s state senate seat in Fort Worth Antonio whom they deem to be too moderate While the Tea Party has had some success in defeating incumbents and nominating preferred candidates it remains to be seen whether the movement will be co opted by the Republican Party or be an independent in uence Ted Cruz s victory in the US Senate runoff in July 2012 seemed to suggest that the Tea Party movement has been coopted by the Republican Party Texas s History as a OneParty State in order to understand the present partisan environment in Texas let us look at the his tory of partisanship in Texas since the end of the Civil War With the defeat of the Re publican governor Edmund J Davis in 1873 Texas entered a period of Democratic dominance that would last for over a cen tury Often the Republican Party would not contest major state of ces and other parties such as the Populist or People s Party though having some in uence for brief periods did not have staying power In general elections it was a foregone conclusion that the Democratic nominee would win If there was a meaningful election contest it was in the Democratic Party primary Republicans tended to have a limited role in Texas politics Most commonly people remained Republicans in the hope of gaining political patronage usually local postmaster or rural mail carrier positions when Republican presidents were in office Some Republicans were businesspeople unhappy with the liberal policies 39Democratic presidents such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt or Harry Truman wever the Republican Party was not a threat to Democratic dominance in the quotfate Indeed Republicans interested in patronage from the national government may have had an incentive to keep the Republican Party small as the fewer the Republicans the less the competition for patronage positions When the father of he late senator Lloyd Bentsen rst moved to the Rio Grande Valley he visited with R B Creager who was then state chairman of the Republican Party Lloyd Bentsen Sr told39Creager that he wanted to get involved in the Republican Party ecause his father had been a devoted Republican in South Dakota Rather than welcoming Bentsen into the Republican Party Creager told Bentsen quotYou go back 10 Mission Texas and join the Democratic Party because what s best for Texas is for every state in the union to have a twoparty system and for Texas to be a one party state When you have a one party state your men stay in Congress longer and build up seniority 6 I In 1952 and 1956 however the Democratic governor Allan Shivers led a move ment often known as the Shivercrat movement which presaged a dramatic change in party alignments a quarter century later Governor Shivers was a conservative Democrat and widely regarded as one of the most able Texas governors of the twen tieth century He supported the candidacy of the Republican Dwight Eisenhower for the presidency against the Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson Stevenson opposed the Texas position on the Tidelands offshore lands claimed by both Texas and the national government which were believed to contain oil Additionally Stevenson was much more liberal than Shivers and Eisenhower was a famous and 3 popular hero of World War Ii Governor Shivers not only supported Eisenhower for the presidency he and all statewide officeholders except the agriculture com 5 missioner John White ran on the ballot as Democrats and Republicans it was an 5 act of party disloyalty condemned by loyal Democrats such as Speaker of the US House of Representatives Sam Rayburn and it led to much tension in the Demo cratic Party between liberal and conservative Democrats as well as between party loyalists and the Shivercrats 39 I The Shivercrat movement sent a strong message that many conservative Demo crats were philosophically opposed to the national Democratic Party and although they were unwilling to embrace the Republican Party fully they found the Re publican Party more compatible with their views A pattern in voting known as presidentiai Republicanism was strengthening whereby conservative Texas voters would vote Democratic for state offices but vote Republican for presidential can didates With the Shivercrat movement those conservatives were more numerous and more closely aligned with the Republican Party To be sure the fact that some Democratic voters supported the Republican candidate did not mean that the state would vote Republican during every presidential election As the Who Are Texans graphic shows thefortunes of Republican presidential candidates fiuc tuated between 1944 and 2012 Nevertheless presidential Republicanism would persist in Texas and other southern states until Republicans began to get elected in state and local races in the 19905 and beyond Still in state elections the Democratic Party was overwhelmingly the dominant party There might be pockets of the state where Republicans s howed strength Traditionally in the post Civil War era the quotGerman counties in the Texas Hiil Country which were settled by German immigrants showed Republican leanings Dallas County whose voters were in uenced by a powerful group of conservative businesspeople and a conservative newspaper the Dallas Morning News showed early Republican strength electing a very conservative Republican congressperson Sirivercrat movement a movement led by the Texas governor Allan Shivers during the 19505 in which conservative Democrats in Texas supported Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower for the presidency because many of those conservative Democrats believed that the national Democratic Party had become too liberal presidentiai Repubiicanism a voting pattern in which conservatives vote Democratic for state offices but Repubiican for presidential candidates CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXHS TEXAS39S HISTORY AS A ONE PARTY STATE Tlrorrgir Dsrnocnats darttitrated Texas politics for decades presidential Rspitblissraiser grew when Denrocrnts supported Republican presidential carniidnts Dwight Eisenhower who in or president in 1952 and I HES Hers Eiseiriwwsr is seen carripaligning in Lubbock in the 19503 However for the most part the Democratic Party was so dominant in state elections that the Republican Party did not eld39 opponents to the Democratic nominees During this era the Democratic Party was an umbrella party tha held a variety of groups and interests Liberals and conservatives be longed to the party as did members of labor unions businesspeople farmers and city dwellers Often liberals and conservatives within th party battled for control of the party and its of ces But when liber sis and conservatives were not engaged in periodic intraparty battles struggles that occurred with considerable regularity what political organization existed tended to be based on personal ties and personal popularity of individual candidates Until about the 19403 Texas politics was often chaotic and con fused By about the mid19403 however a split between liberals and conservatives developed in the Democratic Party that focused on New Deal economic policies and civil rights measures This liberal conservative split became a characteristic division within the Dem ocratic Party and liberals and conservatives battled in the party primaries Between the mid19403 and the mid19703 the victor in these primary squabbles would then go on to win the general election However by the late 19703 the winner of the Democratic primary had to face a signi cant conservative challenge from Republicans in the general election The Era oi conservative Democrats After Reconstruction and through the midtwentieth century conservative Demo crats were in control of state government These Democratic officeholders were conservative on scal and racial issues and exerted a powerful in uence in the region as well as in Congress This may seem hard to fathom in today s politi cal environment where Democrats are seen as liberal and Republicans as con servative but recall that the Republican Party was initially started in Illinois as an antislavery party Conservative Democrats in the early to midtwentieth centuryr were not particularly favorable to policies that would make it easier for African Americans to vote or participate in civic life in an equal manner Many south ern Democrats were elected to Congress and gained seniority in the Democratic controlled US Congress Northern Democrats however had always been more liberal than their southern counterparts and did not like the growing influence of the South on policy matters in Washington In the many contests between conservative Democrats and liberal Democrats within Texas when the Democratic Party was the only game in town the conserva tives usually won because of the sheer fact that there were more conservatives than liberals in the state However some liberals did emerge such as US senator Ralph Yarborough and to some extent President Lyndon B Johnson Even though the two men were political adversaries they both held progressive views unlike many of their white Texas counterparts US senator Lloyd Bentsen who served the state during the 19803 became the vicerresidential candidate for Michael Dukakis in 1988 but was unable to win the state for his running mate Instead Republican George H W Bush who had moved to Texas from Connecticut carried the state and the general election The Reagan Revolution had reached Texas and from that p oint on the Democratic Party in the state shrank to become the minority party CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PHRTIES IN TEXAS i catr m wwwiairw we viva revv Ben I were less likelythen there39sth the nation to support Republican presidential did ta ra 05 House and fatherean legislature 39a39e issos39 39a39nd39rh39e early 20003 that Hawaiians Camera holds magravages Ta 1995 200039 2004251 2639 39 soonesti 39Flrsr ratvie 1343 the C0 Electionsan39d 2008 data from the Associate figure 194 20t12quotd39aia of Texas zone isdatajgahu from eiection rash Secretary of State I39 39 I 89951 39 1932 39 1983 1 k A v w I 1990 1994 Tire Qrevvtn oi the epobliean Rarity One of the most important developments in Texas politics has been the growth of the Republican Party see Figure 43 This growth can be seen along three interrelated dimensions in terms of those who identify with the Republican Party those who vote for Republican Party candidates in primaries and the general El c 39339 OTH ER 39539 TEXAS TEXAS COU NTY DISTRICT SCHOOL tion and those Republicans who have been elected to of ce In the 19503 moi SENATE STMEWlDE HOUSE SENATE HOUSE OFFICE OFFICE BOARD TOTAL than 60 percent of Texans identi ed with the Democratic Party and fewer than 10 percent identi ed themselves as Republicans The remainder considered thequot 1 O I 2 3 16 53 NA NA 75 selves independents In the 19605 Republican identi cation in Texas rose above 1 1 l 5 7 35 166 NA NA 215 10 percent Democratic identi cation remained above 60 percent and identi caa 1 6 8 8 5T 54 170 5 802 tion as independents dropped slightly The 1970s saw a decline in Democrati af liation and an increase in Republican af liation Both patterns accelerated dur 2 2 13 16 72 139233 336 10 139mg ing the 1980s8 In 2008 Texans who identi ed themselves as Republicans saw 2 2T 23 19 101 1500 386 11 2069 drop from 37 per cent in 2004 to 33 percent whereas Democratic Party af liatiofi f remained steady at 30 percent9 A 2009 Gallup poll study identi ed Texas as being 2 27 24 19 95 NA NA NA NA ii 2 27 25 20 98 NA NA NA NA a competitive state with Republican leanings There is however clearly a dif ference between poll responses and election results where Texas has been and mains strongly Republican Interestingly when one considers competition between the two parties in terms of actual voters in the primaries or the general election different story emerges Among actual voters in both primaries and general elde tions Texas has become a strongly Republican state over the last decade This con clusion is con rmed when one considers the number of Republican of ceholders in the state 39 In the rst quarter of the twentieth century the Republican Party was only a token party In the state legislature for example Republicans never held more 00RCE Republican Party of Texas an one seat in the Texas Senate and never more than two seats in the Texas house from 1903 to 1927 From 192739 to 1951 there were no Republicans in the I exas legislature and then a lone Republican was elected from Dallas to serve only one term in the Texas House it was another decade before Republicans were again elected to the legislature when 2 served in the Texas House Then in 1962 Republicans were elected to the House from Dallas County and 1 from Midland County By 1963 there were 10 Republicans in the Texas House and none in the Texas Senate1 NUMBER OF REPRESENTATIVES 25 a I M US senator John Tower and there were 2 Texas Republicans in the US House 2C E T E 1113 f Representatives No Republicans were elected to state of ce in statewide elec 10115 There were only 3 Republicans in the Texas Senate and only 16 Republicans 15 in the Texas House of Representatives Ronald Reagan s election as president in 1980 marked a signi cant change in how Texans began to vote not only in presi 10 idential elections but also in state elections The Reagan era ushered in a period I vvhen conservative Democrats began to switch to the Republican Party in record 5 quot numbers This switch became more evident at the end of the Reagan and Bush years when Texas became a Republican state not only in presidential races but 39 39 39 also in state races In 2014 both US senators from Texas were Republican and As Table 41 shows as late as 1974 there were not many more than 75 Re publican of ceholders in the entire state of Texas One of those of ceholders was I p n 15451855185518751885159519051915192519351945195519551975195519952005 2015 25 Texas members of the U S House of Representatives were Republican A ma jority of the Texas Senate 20 of the 31 members and the Texas House of Repre sentatives 98 of the 150 members was Republican it was a record of remarkable Republican growth and Democratic decline By 1999 every statewide elected of cial was Republican This remained true in 2014 as well That included the governor lieutenant governor attorney general comp troller land commissioner agriculture commissioner all three meinbers of the Texas Railroad Commission and all nine members of both the Texas39Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Only 20 years earlier William Clements was the rst statewide of cial elected as a Republican since Reconstruction CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS TEXAS39S HISTORY AS A ONE PARTY STATE 3125 Blue Dog Democrats another name for conservative Democrats mostly from the South Recent elections have continued the trend toward greater strength of Republicans in Texas Even conservative Democrats line Representative Congressman Chet Edwards from Waco pictured here haoe recently lost their seats in Congress The nisappearanoe oi conservative nemoorats Conservative Democrats also known as Blue Dog Democrats are becoming an en dangered species in Texas and in the rest of the South Such Democrats never left the party they grew up in and they have become marginalized in the national f party because of their social conservatism Many of these Democrats are opposed to abortion and same sex marriage white supportive of gun rights These positions put them at odds with the prevailing consensus in the Democratic Party Some of the few conservative Democrats elected to Congress in recent years even refused I to support Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco as their party leader because of their di vergence from her more liberal views By 2012 all of the conservative Democrats elected to represent Texas in the US39 Congress had retired switched parties or lost their elections For example for mer congreSSperson Chet Edwards was a conservative Democrat who represented Crawford the home of former president George W Bush In the 2010 elections Edwards lost his bid for reelection to Republican Bill Flores a businessman Con gressperson Ralph Hall of Rocltwall switched to the Republican Party in 2004 after spending many years as a conservative Democrat He switched parties in order to have more in uence in Congress s governing party although just two years later the Democrats retook control of the US House in 2014 Hall decided to run for reelection despite his 9 layearold age Hall lost in a runoff with Tea Party backed attorney John Ratcliffe The seat is strongly Republican and Ratcliffe was elected to the seat The biggest losses for conservative Democrats came following the 2003 re districting cycle spearheaded by Tom DeLay As House majority leader DeLay wanted to take advantage of the new Republican majority in the state legislature in order to redraw congressional districts which he thought were too favorable quotemocrats Although controversial DeLay was able to succeed in organizing a atic redistricting session which put many conservative Democrats from Texas i39sk of losing their seats After this episode two Texas Democrats Representatives Charles Stenholm d Max Sandlin lost their seats to Republicans Another Democrat Jim Turner deCided not to seek reelection in his newly con gured district in east Texas Redis tricting has ieft liberal Lloyd Doggett of Austin as the only white Democrat rep resenting a majdrity white congressional district in Texas Gene Green of Houston epresents a majorityminority district The pattern we observe in Congress is also present at the state legislative level Of the 74 Democrats in the Texas House of Representatives 12 are considered conservative in research conducted by Mark Jones of Rice University This is rela Ilve to other Democrats not Republicans The most conservative Democrat in the Texas House is still more liberal than the most liberal Republican12 in the most recent legislative session however Allan Ritter of Nederland who was one of the l2 conservative Democrats switched to the Republican Rarty In today s political environment the in uence of conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans is very limited At the national level and in Texas conservatives are disproportionately members of the Republican Party and liberals are members of the Democratic Party In many races there are a shrinking number of truly indeH pendent voters who can swing elections Often both parties attempt to mobilize their own bases instead of trying to reach these swing voters Issues in Texas Party Poiitics Both the Democrats and the Republicans have factions within the party and these factions emphasize different issues For ex ample the Democratic Party in Texas has a large Latino base which is very interested in the issue of immigration The Republican Party has a strong and growing Tea Party contingent which is making the party more antitax and scally conservative In this section we will examine some of these con icts both between and within the major parties natty tinity and Maturity All groups have opposing factions within them and political parties are no excep tion When a party becomes dominant in a state these factional battles become particularly important because the stakes are higher for the factions of the domi nant party When the Democratic Party was the dominant party in Texas factional battles were common between liberals and conservatives in the partyf39lThese con icts in the Democratic Party were especially notable during the 19505 in the struggles between the prowEisenhower conservative Democrats led by Allan Shivers and the proStevenson liberal and loyalist Democrats led by Sam Rayburn Lyndon Johnson and Ralph Yarborough Now that the Republican Party is the dominant party in Texas major factional battles have occurred for control of that party One GHAPTER 4 PULiTlCAL PARTIES EN TEXAS ISSUES IN TEXAS PARTY POLITICS 127 day however these factions often end up supporting their party candidate in the general election 39 In the 2006 primary some Republicans including two of the party s largest contributors in Texas believed that some Republicans in the Texas House were too moderate and spent money to try to defeat them13 At least six Republican incumbents were aided by lastuminute contributions from a political action com mittee that poured about 300000 into their campaigns to help protect them from Republican challengers Nevertheless two of the six incumbents were de feated and one was thrown into a runoff14 The 2014 primary battle between Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst and Senator Dan Patrick suggests that the ideological tensions in the Republican Party continue between what is essentially a conservative faction and an even more conservative faction The latter faction has been identi ed with the Tea Party movement Tea Party favorite US senator Ted Cruz now has proteges Dan Patrick in the lieutenant governor s position and Ken Paxton as attorney general A number of the newly elected members of the state legislature are also Tea Party favorites To maintain its political strength the Republican Party has to keep these fac tional disputes within the party When Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison challenged Governor Rick Perry in the primary some of Perry s appointees endorsed Hutchi son Afterward they were asked to step down from their appointive positions These were seen as examples of the rift that emerged between two wings of the Republican Party For years the Democratic Party battles between its liberal and conservative wings were kept inside the party because there was no rival party to which one of the factions could go Eventually the Republican Party emerged as a home where many conservative Democrats felt comfortable Conceivably the factional disputes in the Republican Party could lead one of the factions the more moderate Republicans to move to the Democratic Party urban and statesman Enttuences on Partiaanehip As in the rest of the country one of the major divides in political party af lia tion is rural versus urban Today s large suburban populations must he added to this equation The growth of suburban enclaves around major cities such as the DallasPort Worth metroplex Houston and San Antonio has profoundly changed politics Prior to the growth of suburbia people lived either in cities or in rural areas Rural residents were often cattle ranchers or farmers As cattle raising and farming became more mechanized and large companies displaced local farmers it became less pro table to run family farms Many rural residents relocated to urban areas to work in banks oil companies or other industries During the 19505 the federal government embarked on a major project to con nect cities through an interstate highway system One consequence of this system was that it made it easier for workers to travel to and from urban areas For those who wanted to escape urban congestion it became easier to move to the outskirts of the city and travel by car to their jobs While mass transit facilitated suburban faction is the religious right This group includes religious conservatives who areI especially concerned with social issues such as abortion prayer in public schools and at school events the teaching of evolution in public schools and the perceived decline in family values The other major segment of the party is composed of ecul nomic conservatives This group is primarily concerned with reduced government spending lower taxes and greater emphasis on free enterprise At the end of the 128 CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTiES IN TEXAS commuting in other parts of the country in Texas taxpayers were unwilling to fund these infrastructure investments Texas s interstate highway system encouraged the process of white flightquot the mass exodus of more af uent whites from urban areas to suburban areas This left urban areas with eroding tax bases and remaining poor minority populations who did not have the luxury of purchasing automobiles to commute between city and suburb 39 The political result of this changing demographic is that cities have become more Democratic even in Texas where the urban strongholds of Austin Dallas and Houston deliver the most Democratic votes in the state Rural areas have re mained solidly conservative and have become Republican in Texas and suburban areas can best be described as hybrid areas with pockets of Republicans and Demo crats depending on the specific area and local issues Another consequence is that voters tend to settle in places with likeminded people so that cities tend to attract more Democrats and suburban and rural areas tend to attract more Republicans This reinforces the political proclivities already established in such communities A recent book Our Patchwork Nation by Dante Chinni and James Gimpel explores this phenomenon nationwide arguing that dif ferent communities have distinct political characteristics15 The tensions introduced by suburbanization are clearly seen in Dallas County over the last decade As Dallas County has urbanized and the suburbs have ex tended to adjoining counties Dallas County has been transformed into an urban Democratic county In the media coverage of the 2000 presidential election one small judicial race in Dallas County was almost overlooked Only one puzzled article on the race s results appeared in the Dallas Morning News15 A threetime State senator Leticia Van 671639 Putts of San Antonio is one of a growing number of in uential Hispanics in the Democratic Party in Texas Here she makes an announcement about helping indentured sercants who are brought over the border and then forced to worh often under harsh conditions to pay off their debt to the traf ckers who transported them ISSUES IN TEXAS PARTY POLITICS 129 has nothing to do with me sicj being a judge That s not the reason I m switch ing parties The reason I m switching is that to be a judge in Dallas County you need to be a Republican With Mays s switch in August 1985 32 of the 36 district judges in Dallas County were Republicans though none were Republicans before 197813 It would of course not take long until all judges in Dallas County were Republican19 So what was remarkable about that one district court race between a Demo cratic challenger and a longtime Republican incumbent other than the fact that a Democrat had the ternerity to challenge an incumbent in a Republican bastion such as Dallas County Out of 560558 votes cast only 4150 votes separated the two candidates in other words a threeterm Republican judge with no scandal or I other controversy surrounding his name won with only 503 percent of the vote It is no wonder that the judge commented quotI m thrilled to be serving again and duly humbled by the vote count 20 Even more astounding Judge Rhea s Democratic opponent Mary Ann Huey had run with no money no political experience and no support from the legal community She ran in the same year that George W Bush was the presidential nominee with no other Democratic judicial candidates on the ballot at the county level and with little more than audacity on her side Judge Rhea39s humbling experience of course was not caused by his judicial performance but rather by demographic changes The Republican base in Dal las County has moved to places such as Collin Denton and Rockwall counties That suburban growth has changed those traditionally Democratic counties into Republican counties but has left the old Republican baseMADallas with a larger African American and an even larger Latino population and has returned to the Democratic column that it left a little more than 20 years ago In the 2004 elections George W Bush carried Dallas County by fewer than 10000 votes 5072 percent and Dallas County elected Democrats as sheriff and four countywide elected judges The 2006 elections in Dallas County were truly a watershed in the county s politics A Democrat was elected county judge a Democrat was elected district attorney and all 42 Democrats who ran for Dallas County judgeships were elected Democrats continued their sweep of countywide elections in 2008 2010 and 2012 In 2008 Harris County also dramatically shifted to the Democratic column electing a large number of Democrats to county of ce It seemed to be following in Dallas County s footsteps However the 2010 elections moved Harris County back into the Republican column and in 2012 Harris County was a virtual tie between Obama and Romney African Amerieens in tean 80iitieai Rarties In Texas African Americans are a smaller percentage of the population than in neighboring Louisiana Approximately 12 percent of the state population is Afri can American and most of that population is concentrated in east Texas as well Republican judge Bill Rhea won reelection against a rsttime Democratic can didate Mary Ann Huey That should have been no surprise By the late 19803 th39 f only Democrat who could win a judicial race in Dallas County was Ron Chap if man a Democratic judge who happened to share the name of the most popular disk jockey in the county 1n the early 1980s there had been a wholesale rush of incumbent Democratic judges to the Republican Party Although varying explanae tions were given by the party switchers perhaps the most honest and straight forward was by Judge Richard Mays My political philosophy about general things CHAPTER 4 POLITiCAL PARTIES IN TEXAS TURNOUT NUMBER TURNOUT 0F OF ELIGIBLE OF ELIGIBLE ELIGIBLE VOTERS vOTERS IN 2012 DIFFERENCE VOTERS IN 2012 IN 2010 STATEWIDE PRESIDENTIAL BETWEEN 2012 AND IN MILLiONS ELECTION YEAR 1 YEAR 8 20101 quotlitter 833 438 609 171 244 39irican American 200 387 831 39 39Sian 057 222 424 202 Hispanic 438 231 388 15 154 384 538 174 Etiwnite does not include whites who identify as Hispanic as in the major cities of Houston Dallas San Antonio and Austin Depending on the election the vast majority of African Americans cast their votes for Democrats This is not unusual as African Americans in other parts of the country are similarly loyal to the Democratic Party I I The in uence of African Americans in the Democratic Party in Texas is high not only because they tend to vote Democratic more than Republican but because they participate in elections more than other ethnic groups During the 2010 state wide elections 387 percent turned out to vote During the presidential election of 2012 631 percent turned out to vote These percentages were far above the total proportion of registered voters who turned out in 2010 364 percent and in 2012 538 percent See Table 42 I This is not to say that all African Americans are Democrats Former railroad commissioner Michael Williams became the rst black Republican to be elected to the statewide post The former Texas Supreme Court chief justice Wallace Jef ferson is also an African American Republican and was elected by voters to h1s position Other than Williams and Jefferson only two other African Americans have been elected to statewide of ce in recent years African Americans have been elected mayors of important cities in Texas Dem ocrat Lee Brown became Houston s first African American mayor in 1997 and Democrat Ron Kirk became Dallas s first African American mayor in 1995 In 2002 Kirk ran for the US Senate but lost to white Republican John Cornyn Latinos and the Future 0t Party Politios in tones The 2002 elections raised serious questions about how soon the Latino vote would transform politics in Texas In an attempt to break the lock that the Republicans had on statewide offices the Democratic Party put forward a quotDream Team w1th Tony Sanchez a wealthy Latino businessman from Laredo who had been39an ap pointee of Republican governor Rick Perry and had a record of not part1c1pat1ng SOURCE39 08 Census Bureau www0ensusgovhhesfwwwlsDedeInnvetingpubIieatiORSpZOfQOlEtablesmmi accessed 5f19j14 ISSUES IN TEXAS PARTY POLITICS in many elections running for governor alongside Ron Kirk running for the U S Senate and John Sharp a former state comptroller and white conservative Demo crat running for lieutenant governor The idea was to mobilize minority voters to vote for the Democratic ticket while holding traditional white voters The strategy failed dismally as Sanchez lost to the Republican candidate Perry 40 percent to 58 percent Kirk lost to the Republican Cornyn 43 percent to 55 percent and Sharp lost to the Republican Dewhurst 46 percent to 52 percent Especially disappointing because Sanchez was the rst Latino major party nominee for gov 39 ernor Latino voter turnout was only 328 percent The Democratic quotDream Team became a nightmare Sanchez had money and spent it with abandon but he was a poor campaigner who could not even mobilize the Latino vote Additionally Democrats didn39t anticipate the grassroots getoutthevote ef fort put forth by the Republicans Republican straight ticket voting in key urban and suburban counties across the state appeared to have outdistanced Democratic straightticket voting Further it appeared that negative campaigning particularly directed at Tony Sanchez may have undercut support for the Democratic ticket among traditional white conservative voters The 2010 election has been described as a Republican tsunami running through out the nation Texas experienced this wave in three important ways First four Democratic incumbent US congresspeople were defeated Second Republicans maintained their monopoly over statewide elected offices Third Republicans gained 22 seats in the Texas House A conservative majority reasserted itself in Texas politics Since the 2010 elections two Latino members of the state house have switched parties Aaron Pena of Edinburg and Jose Lozano of Kingsville be came Republicans although redistricting led Pena to retire from politics in Janu ary 2013 Despite the nal results of the 2008 and 2010 elections few commentators were willing to dismiss the growing importance of the Latino vote in the state One indication of that importance is that in 2010 it was estimated that Hispanics constituted about 20 percent of the registered voters in Texas22 However Latinos have not fully realized their potential voting strength Table 42 shows Latino voting population gures and turnout rates in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups in the state in 2012 a presidential year and 2010 a state wide election year This is an issue that we will explore in more depth in Chap ter 5 For now we should note that Latino voters have a signi cantly lower turnout rate than whites and African Americans in both presidential years and statewide election years Moreover there are a large number of Latinos living in Texas perhaps around two million who are not citizens some of whom are documented residents and many others who are not who are not eligible to vote23 Such facts will likely depress the electoral power of the Latino population in Texas political parties in the short and medium run It should be remembered however that many of the children of these noncitizens will be Americans by being born in the United States and thus eligible to vote Few would be surprised if a life spent living and being educated in the United States led to higher turnout rates among younger Latinos in the future The full impact of the Latino demographic surge on political parties may not be felt until the next generation comes of age24 Thinking Critically about Parties in Texas We often think of conflict in politics between the Democratic and Republican par 1 ies especially in government While this is certainly true conflict can also occur i39within political parties among different factions These factions usually compro jnise to support their candidates during the general election i olitical parties there fore provide a structure through which candidates strive to win office The two 3 major parties in Texas are the Democratic and the Republican parties although most of the elected officials in the state are Republican In south Texas however Democrats control many cities towns and school boards because of the large La tino population which is overwhelmingly Democratic One of the most striking developments in Texas politics over the past 20 to 25 years is that oneparty Democratic dominance is gone from the Texas political scene That decline in Democratic dominance corresponds to the rise of the Re pubiican Party in Texas In 2014 every statewide elected of ceholder in Texas was a Republican Currently the most dangerous conflict within the Republican Party is the split between social conservatives and economic conservatives who have a lowtaxing lowspending agenda This split was strikingly revealed in the primary battle be tween Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Senator Patrick Patrick39s victory in the primary may signal the triumph of the social conservatives and their increas ingly powerful role in the state s politics However Republicans are not necessarily secure as the dominant party It is important that the Republican i arty grow and expand its base of support One of the Republican Party s great weaknesses is its lack of support among Latinos the fastestgrowing ethnic group in Texas if the Republicans are to continue their remarkable successes in Texas politics they will have to make greater inroads with Latino voters Patrick s tone of describing illegal immigration as an invasion makes this all the more challenging Democrats still have a significant base of support in urban counties with large minority populations and with older rTexans and with liberals For Texas to be a competitive twoparty state the Democrats need to win some statewide elections The party needs to regroup and redirect its appeal to Texans Most important if the Democratic Party is to do more than lose elections it must do what parties have traditionally done in states that have political machines That is it must get out the vote In part the key to success in future Texas elections is a party s ability to mobilize the Latino vote in the state CHAPTER 4 POLITICAL PARTIES IN TEXAS THINKING CRITICALLY ABOUT PARTIES IN TEXAS 133
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