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Chapter 4 Political Parties in Texas. Role of Political Parties in Texas Politics Help voters make choices –“R” or “D” next to candidate name on ballot.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 4 Political Parties in Texas. Role of Political Parties in Texas Politics Help voters make choices –“R” or “D” next to candidate name on ballot."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 4 Political Parties in Texas


3 Role of Political Parties in Texas Politics Help voters make choices –“R” or “D” next to candidate name on ballot helps people decide who to vote for Texans vote for unusually high number of offices –Party label offers a very helpful cue on a long ballot where less is known about the candidates

4 Party Work –Assist in fund-raising for party or specific candidates –Recruit quality candidates to run –Voter mobilization Get Out The Vote drives (GOTV) Online activities to connect and engage voters Role of Political Parties in Texas Politics

5 90% of Texas voters identify with the two parties (Oct. 2012, Texas Tribune) –51% Republican, 39% Democrat, 8% Independent Don’t confuse “independent” with “moderate” –Strong ideologues (liberals or conservatives) often self-identify as “independent” because they think their party is not ideological enough. –Independents not synonymous with “swing votes” Decision between voting for one party or abstaining Role of Political Parties in Texas Politics

6 The Contemporary Republican Party in Texas Republican Party and Presidential Vote –Since 1980, GOP candidate has won Texas –Last presidential candidate to win in Texas was President Carter in 1976 (well over three decades) –Texans George H.W. and George W. Bush account for some, but not all, of this trend. Party support grew between 2008 and 2012 –Mitt Romney won Texas by 16-point margin –John McCain won Texas by 12-point margin

7 Texans have elected Republicans to all statewide offices since 1994, most notably: Both U.S. Senate Seats Governor –Though this has included only two people: George W. Bush and Rick Perry All offices of the plural executive –e.g. Lt. Governor, Attorney General, etc. The Contemporary Republican Party in Texas

8 Republicans hold all 18 seats in the state’s top judicial institutions since 1994 The Supreme Court of Texas –Court of last resort for civil cases The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals –Court of last resort for criminal cases, including death penalty cases In 2012, Democrats did not run a candidate for several statewide offices The Contemporary Republican Party in Texas

9 Republicans hold comfortable majorities in both chambers of the Texas Legislature –2012 Texas House: 95 of 150 seats –2012 Texas Senate: 19 of 31 seats This is “more competitive” than recent years, when as many as 101 of 150 House seats were Republican. Texas Speaker of the House and most legislative committee leadership roles go to Republicans The Contemporary Republican Party in Texas


11 Several counties and electoral districts are strongly Democratic, with little viable Republican opposition. While Republicans are strong in statewide contests, there are cities and regions in the state where they are not competitive at all. –The 2012 Texas congressional delegation sharply illustrates the reliably “red” and “blue” parts of the state. The Contemporary Democratic Party in Texas

12 Party Organization Texas parties conduct primaries to select the party’s candidates for office. Texas voters do not register by party. –There is no such thing as a “registered” Republican or Democrat in Texas. Voters can vote in either party primary, but in only one primary per election cycle. –For example, one could vote in the Democratic primary in 2008, and the GOP primary in 2010.

13 Party Organization Candidates must win either: –A majority of the primary vote –Or a run-off between the two highest vote getters One-party dominance in state and regions (some places Democrats dominate local government) means some of the most competitive races occur in the primaries.

14 Party Organization Party are organized at the precinct, county, and state levels. –See next slide for illustration of party structure and organization

15 Party Organization in Texas

16 Party Organization Conventions are held at the precinct, county, and state levels. Precinct chairs are the most local “on-the- ground” party officials. –Lead their precinct convention –Serve on the county executive committee.

17 Party Organization County executive committees responsible for running county primary election and planning county convention. –Can be arduous task in very large counties like Bexar, Harris, Dallas, and Travis. –In addition, county-level party politics can be very contentious among activists

18 Party Organization A county chair is elected at the party’s primary election and heads the county executive committee. The precinct and county chairs decide who will attend the state party convention. –These choices can shape the party platforms.

19 Party Organization The state executive committee and state chair and vice chair coordinate the party’s statewide activities. –State conventions, statewide primary tasks, and general election tasks fall to this group. –They have an established relationship with the national party organization. –They coordinate to determine delegates to national party conventions.

20 Third Parties

21 Extremely hard to run as anything other than a Democrat or Republican –A few notable attempts, but all ultimately failed: Strayhorn, Friedman, Raza Unida Party, Dixiecrats Rules for running for office are made by Democrats and Republicans –Partisans have a vested interest in making it difficult for others to challenge them.

22 Third Parties Steps for Independents/Third Parties to run for statewide office –Candidates must obtain petition signatures equal to 1 percent of the total votes in the last governor’s race. –Signatures must come from registered voters who did not participate in any political party primary election. –Signature collection cannot begin until the day after the last primary election. –Voters may sign only one candidate’s petition.

23 Tea Party Movements and Occupy Wall Street Support in Texas

24 Texas’s History as a One-Party State After Reconstruction (1873), Texas entered one-party rule era, lasts over a century –The real election was the Democratic primary. –Republicans frequently did not run any candidate at all for many offices. –Many counties had no Republican Party at all. –This was common in the South at this time. GOP was the party of the North and entirely unpopular in southern states for that reason.

25 Texas’s History as a One-Party State

26 State and National Democratic Party 1940s realignment beginning to take shape –National Democratic Party became more liberal on economic and social issues Support for New Deal, voting rights, desegregation –Presidential Republicanism emerges Split-ticket voting, southern states (like Texas) voted for conservative Democrats at the state level and Republicans for president Texas’s History as a One-Party State

27 Partisan realignment solidifies –During the 1980s and ’90s the conservative voters and elected officials left the Democratic Party. –Republicans became home to the ideological conservatives that once made the core of the Democratic voter base. –Redistricting after the 2000 Census effectively ended the presence of the few moderate Democrats who been successful among ideological moderates, including white voters. Texas’s History as a One-Party State

28 Republicans grew to dominate state politics as Democrats had decades before. Multiple indicators of party competition demonstrate extent of Republican control –Presidential, Statewide, State legislature Since 1994 GOP won every statewide election –Nearly two decades (19 years) since a Democrat has won a state level race in Texas. Texas’s History as a One-Party State

29 WHO ARE TEXANS? Republican Share of the Presidential Vote SOURCE: 1948-2004 data from the CQ Elections and Voting Collection. 2008 data from the Associated Press. 19481956196419721980198819982000200820121952196019681976198419921996 75% 50% 25% TexasNational

30 WHO ARE TEXANS? Republican Share of Offices Held Texas statewide offices SOURCE: 1974-2002 data from Republican Party of Texas. 2004-10 data calculated by author from election results archived at the Texas Secretary of State. Texas House Texas Senate Texas delegation to U.S. House 100% 66% 61.3% 71.9% 0% 10.7% 9.7% 8.3% 1974197819821986199019941998200220062010

31 Party Composition of the Texas Delegation to the United States House of Representatives 1845–2011

32 Modern One-Party State Current Republican Party two major factions: –Social conservatives Abortion, prayer in schools, same-sex marriage, public school curriculum, punitive approach to immigration –Economic conservatives Focus on reduced government spending, lower taxes, place greater emphasis on free enterprise, economic focus on immigration policy –Factions present among politicians and voters 2012 U.S. senate race Dewhurst vs. Cruz, for example

33 Modern One-Party State Republicans dominate, but Democrats should not be wholly dismissed. 2.9 million Texans voted in 2008 Democratic primary (Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton) –Extensive mobilization, compelling candidates, and a close race drew record participation. Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio delivered keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

34 Texas Electorate Demographics Eligible electorate diversity –Those who can vote: citizens, 18 and older, etc. Anglos 51% eligible Texas voters Latinos 30% eligible Texas voters African Americans 13 % eligible Texas voters Similar to national trends –White voters overwhelmingly vote Republican, nonwhites largely Democratic supporters

35 Texas electorate diversity unlike other states Relative to the South –Smaller share African American electorate –Regional concentration (East Texas and Dallas) Relative to Southwest –More eligible Latino voters –Fewer Texas Latinos are immigrants compared to Southwest states. Texas Electorate Demographics

36 Racial/Ethnic Groups’ Share of Texas’s Population and the State’s 2008 Vote

37 Party Identification in Texas, 1952-2008

38 Public Opinion Poll Is the Tea Party good for the Texas Republican Party? a) Yes, it increases voter enthusiasm for the party. b) No, it divides Republican voters and office holders. c) No, their ideas do not reflect the views of most Texas Republicans. d) Yes, the Tea Party represents the views of most Texas Republicans.

39 Public Opinion Poll Would two competitive parties (Democrats and Republicans) in Texas provide the state with better representation and policy outcomes? a) Yes, competition would be good for state politics and policy. b) No, competition would produce no change in state politics and policy outcomes. c) No, two parties would mean worse policy outcomes and partisan conflict.

40 Public Opinion Poll Will Democrats win a statewide office in Texas in the next 10 years? a) Yes, the state will become more competitive. b) No, the GOP winning streak will continue.

41 Public Opinion Poll Will Republicans in Texas split into two different parties because of the division between Tea Party and Establishment (or social versus economic conservative) factions within the party? a) Yes, those will be the two new state parties. b) No, the GOP will manage their internal battles and remain one party.

42 Public Opinion Poll What can Democrats do to become competitive in statewide Texas politics? a) Raise money and establish strong local party organizations across the state. b) Wait for the Latino share in the electorate to grow. c) Nothing; the party will never be strong statewide.

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