Twilight of the Texas Democrats

Twilight of the Texas Democrats

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In 1978, Republican William P. Clements won the race for governor of the Lone Star State, marking the start of an interlude of two-party competition in the state. Eventually, Republican ascendancy would once again make Texas a a€œsafea€ place for a single partya€”but not the party that had dominated the state since the end of Reconstruction. At the time, observers asked whether the election of a Republican governor was a mere flash in the pan. For the previous twenty years, other races, at every level from national to local, had made inroads into Democratic strongholds, but that partya€™s dominance by and large had held. In 1978, the situation changed. Now, historian Kenneth Bridgesa€”drawing on polling data, newspaper reports, archival sources, and extensive interviewsa€”both confirms the significance of the election and explains the many and complex forces at work in it. He analyzes a wide range of factors that includes the disaffection among Mexican American voters fanned by La Raza Unida, miscalculations by Democrat John Hill and his campaign staff, the superior polling techniques used by Clements, the unpopularity of the Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, the changing demographics of the state, and the unprecedented spending by the Clements team. In the process, Bridges describes not an ideological realignment among Texas voters, but a partisan one. Twilight of the Texas Democrats illuminates our understanding of both political science and regional history.But once Johnson became vice-president in January 1961, the Senate seat he had been re-elected to now lay open and required a special election to fill the vacancy. ... The chasm in the Democratic Party, if not repaired, would simply thrust more Republicans into office over Democrats ... earned 45.6 percent of the vote in the gu- bernatorial election against the Democratic nominee, Johnsona#39;s protAcgAc, anbsp;...

Title:Twilight of the Texas Democrats
Author:Kenneth Bridges
Publisher:Texas A&M University Press - 2008-01-22


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