The development of Texas and its political parties since the Civil War has had a different story from that of the entire nation. The events have shaped its economy since it acquired independence from Mexico. The Democratic and Republican parties dominate Texas' political arena and play various roles in national elections. Despite the Democratic Party enjoying strong political dominance since the Civil War, the legislative history of Texas can be categorized into four eras, which are influenced by its political realignments and national events.
Developments of Texas and Political Parties in Texas from the Civil War
Firstly, in 1867, the Republican Party assumed control of the state from the Democrats following the defeat of the Confederate States in the Civil war. Secondly, in 1867-1874, the Republicans assumed full control of state offices by removing Democrats from office and voter rolls (Dyer, Arnold, and David 157). They also managed to control the formation of a new constitution. However, divisions within the party weakened their dominance. As a result, in the 1973 elections, the Democrats regained control by winning all the state offices.
Thirdly, in 1874-1994, the Democratic Party enjoyed total control of the state. All Texas governors in the era were Democrats. Notably, during the period, the Republicans managed to win the presidential elections in Texas four time only (Dyer et al. 158). The phenomenon indicated the growing dominance of the Confederates, while Republicans enjoyed support from regions with occupied by African Americans only.
During most parts nineteenth century, divisions among the Democrats due to racial segregation, and power struggles weakened their dominance gradually (Dyer 160). The situation ushered the fourth era, which the Republicans have dominated Texas' politics to date. Since 1994, Texas has never elected a Democrat governor since Ann Richards lost to Republican's George W. Bush. Notably, since 1998, Republicans have occupied all judicial and executive offices. Today, the party's influence in the state is similar to that enjoyed by Democrats for over a hundred years.
Impact of National Events on the Realignment of Political Parties in Texas
National events in the United States have a significant influence in the realignment of political ideologies in Texas. Firstly, immigration into the state promoted its partisan shift to Republican ideologies. The influx of people into the region changed its voting pattern. Notably, the immigrants were upper and middle-class whites who accommodated racial inclusivity in the country (Dyer 161). Therefore, they caused a political convergence, which led to most Democrats migrating to the Republican Party.
Secondly, the loss of conservative Democrats influenced party realignments. Political convergence caused the phenomenon, which was rampant in the south and west of the US (Dyer 161). In this case, conservative Democrats accommodated Republican's racial inclusivity ideologies. Therefore, it became hard for them to win any Democratic primaries. The situation made it harder for Democratic liberals to win the general election.
Role Parties in Texas today
The most significant role of political parties in Texas is to provide a label for political aspirants to contest under during elections. Parties are famous for their ideologies and visions for the electorate. Therefore, voters will identify suitable candidates to vote for regarding their party policies. Secondly, they aid candidates in raising campaign funds and other legal requirements to allow them to increase their chances of winning. Thirdly, they assist in gathering support for their candidate through voter mobilization activities. Significantly, they take part in organizing the government after the election of officials.
Overall, the Democrats and Republicans have dominated the political history of Texas since the civil war. National events play a vital role in realigning Texas' politics during general elections. Racial segregation, state vs. national power struggle, and the Ku Klux Klan played a pivotal role in Texas's realignment from Democratic to Republican dominance. However, the parties continue to play their legitimate roles in the state's political arena.
Dyer, James A., Arnold Vedlitz, and David B. Hill. "New voters, Switchers, and Political Party Realignment in Texas." Western Political Quarterly 41.1 (1988): 155-167.
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