Texas Politics

Topics: Elections, Democracy, George W. Bush Pages: 8 (2706 words) Published: October 11, 2010
Texas is a state that has always been recognized for its size and politics. Elections are a huge part of democratic societies that are intended for citizens to choose their public leaders and approve the policies set by candidates. Political parties and interest groups also play a key role in shaping opportunities for public participation. Most Texans and historians know that the Democratic Party’s historical dominance is important to state politics. It is less likely that people are not aware of the consequences of the one-party system for public participation and democracy in Texas. Like many of the rim South states, the white elitist belonged to the Democratic Party which stemmed from the end of Reconstruction until the late 20th Century. To understand the place of political parties in a democratic nation, Eldersveld, a scholar on the subject gives the definition of party as “a group that competes for political power by contesting elections, mobilizing social interests, and advocating ideological positions, thus linking citizens to the political system” (Hill). Texas can be best understood by analyzing its history as a democratic party turned republican, voter turnout, interest groups and other facets that have an impact on voter trends. History

The history of the Texas party system reflects the political heritage of the rest of the old South, including secession from the Union, racial segregation and nationally mandated desegregation, the mobilization of conservative Christians, and continuing immigration of people from the northern states. But the party system is also shaped by other equally important currents more commonly shared with other states in the Southwest, rather than the old South. Specifically, the strong Spanish and Mexican traditions going back to colonial times and the long term influence of Mexican culture have influenced the state in profound ways. Historically the Democratic Party dominated Texas politics. The one-party Democratic system was a product of the last quarter of the 19th Century, a period of intense political controversy and party competition. (Hill) According to V.O. Key, Texas fits none of the other Southern states patterns. Yet, like other southern states, it is a one-party state because in 1860 a substantial part of its population consisted of Negro slaves. Most of western Texas was undeveloped and most people lived in the east. After 90 years, the southern traditionalism has been weakened and has made Texas more western than southern. In 1940, only one out of seven Texas were Black which caused them not to be too concerned or obsessed about them. Texas was more concerned about money and how to make it. They were concerned about tapping into the resources the land had to offer, such as, oil, sulfur, gas, cattle, irrigation, cotton and banking and Mexicans. Texas because of its vast size was not too concerned about what may happen with the presence of Negro or minority voting but rather how to develop and make money off resources. They soon find out later that the emergence of minorities will cause the concern of voting and how land resources will be affected by a growing population. Due to Texas’s size, unique history and cultural diversity, they have all contributed to the development of what can be called a “pragmatic center.” If you scratch the surface of pragmatism, you are likely to find what is “practical” is a relatively conservative, pro-business set of policy preferences. These characteristics of politics in Texas have deep historical roots that were originally established back in the day for Texas’ independence and even earlier during the Spanish experience. (Collier) Of course many policies and traditions have been challenged and changed to some extent but never substantially overturned. As a result, these tendencies continue to exert a strong influence through to the present. Political Parties

As previously mentioned, like many of the Old South states the dominant...

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Collier, Ken, Steven Galatas and Julie Harrelson-Stephens. Lone Star Politics: Tradition and Transformation in Texas. CQ Press, 2008 Washington D.C.
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Texas Legislative Council. “Texas Population Change Since 2000 for Redistricting.” Research Division of the Texas Legislative Council. April 2010. 15 Apr. 2010.
< http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/pdf/2010_04_06_TxPopulationChg2000.pdf>
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