Democrats under Siege in the Sunbelt Megastates: California, Florida, and Texas

By Albert J. Nelson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
TEXAS ELECTIONS

Texas' rough-and-tumble politics still has a dominant Democratic Party associated with a conflict which many other Southern states did not share historically between haves and have-nots ( Key, 1949). At the time of Key's assessment, the vague outlines of this economic conflict were just emerging. The new "cowboy rich" feared the New Deal's regulation of their wealth, and by 1948, clear lines in the liberal-conservative conflict were evident between supporters of Senator Lyndon B. Johnson and those of President Harry Truman.

Texas has great wealth but during the 1970s it also had more people who fell below the poverty line than did other states. Party support among the voting age population provides evidence of this economic conflict today. Income groups earning less than $ 40,000 per year represent 76 percent of the Democratic Party membership, while 42 percent of Republican Party voters earn in excess of $ 40,000 a year. A significant proportion of the Republican Party is "middle class"; that is, 38 percent earn between $ 20,000 and $ 40,000 a year. Most Republican supporters are Anglos (89 percent) but among Democrats in Texas, 40 percent are either African-American or Latino, and 57 percent are Anglo. One wonders about these Anglos who remain Democrats. Will they move, as did many Florida voters, to the Republican Party? Apparently many voted for Texas Governor George Bush, Jr. He defeated then-GovernorAnn Richards while doing a balancing act between the conservative and moderate wings of his party. Increasing

-41-

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Democrats under Siege in the Sunbelt Megastates: California, Florida, and Texas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Tables ix
  • Chapter 1- Introduction 1
  • Notes 11
  • Chapter 2- California Elections 13
  • Notes 40
  • Chapter 3- Texas Elections 41
  • Note 67
  • Chapter 4- Florida Elections 69
  • Notes 91
  • Chapter 5- Conclusions and Caveats 93
  • Notes 110
  • Bibliography 111
  • Index 117
  • About the Author 121
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