chapter is associated with the economic conflicts between the affluent and those less well-to-do. The South, like Texas, has changed from a single- party Democratic system, but class polarization has increased since the mid-1970s. In Texas, this economic conflict existed prior to the 1950s. My suspicion is that many of the Anglo 57 percent that now support Democrats will not swing to the Republican Party given the intensity of economic class conflict ( Bartley and Graham, 1975; Nadeau and Stanley, 1993: 900-19; Sundquist, 1983). Then, there is the matter of minority seats created in the decennial reapportionment process. These seats remain Democratic, and given the conflict between haves and have-nots in Texas, it is hard to see how Republicans can reach out to a majority of Latino voters.
Incumbency's effects have no party or gender labels. Both men and women, Democrats and Republicans, are favored as incumbents in an election. They are more likely to win with strong support in their districts, as measured by the mean percentage of district votes. A review of the statistics associated with incumbency will also reveal that incumbents are likely to be unopposed in their campaigns. In essence, a party's leaders can assume that a vast majority of incumbent districts are safe, non-competitive seats. Each party attempts to win seats at the margin, where open elections represent an opportunity to advance representation for parties and women in a legislative chamber.
Unlike California or Florida, Texas has no term-limitation legislation, therefore it will be extremely difficult for Republicans, and women as a group, to dramatically advance their representation. The number of open seats will remain small, and at least some portion of them will be in single-party districts. This blocks significant partisan change in the legislature, but less so for women unless the conservative tide affecting the country has subtle effects on women's perceptions of opportunity. In a conservative party paying service (lip service at times?) to family values, it becomes more difficult for women to step outside established but eroding traditions of mothers in the home. The success of Democratic women, who are less tied to these values by their constituents, should continue to outpace that of Republican women.