An Insider's Story of How the GOP Came to Dominate Texas Politics
310 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Sales Date: June 1, 2018
In November 1960, the Democratic party dominated Texas. The newly elected vice president, Lyndon Johnson, was a Texan. Democrats held all thirty statewide elective positions. The state legislature had 181 Democrats and no Republicans or anyone else. Then fast forward fifty years to November 2010. Texas has not voted for a Democratic president since 1976. Every statewide elective office is held by Republicans. Representing Texas in Washington is a congressional delegation of twenty-five Republicans and nine Democrats. Republicans control the Texas Senate by a margin of nineteen to twelve and the Texas House of Representatives by 101 to 49.
Red State explores why this transformation of Texas politics took place and what these changes imply for the future. As both a political scientist and a Republican party insider, Wayne Thorburn is especially qualified to explain how a solidly one-party Democratic state has become a Republican stronghold. He analyzes a wealth of data to show how changes in the state’s demographics—including an influx of new residents, the shift from rural to urban, and the growth of the Mexican American population—have moved Texas through three stages of party competition, from two-tiered politics, to two-party competition between Democrats and Republicans, and then to the return to one-party dominance, this time by Republicans. His findings reveal that the shift from Democratic to Republican governance has been driven not by any change in Texans’ ideological perspective or public policy orientation—even when Texans were voting Democrat, conservatives outnumbered liberals or moderates—but by the Republican party’s increasing identification with conservatism since 1960.
Red State is critical reading for anyone looking to understand Texas’s dramatic political changes of the last fifty years. Thorburn takes a deep dive into the state’s politics from 1960 to 2010, presenting an insightful look at our state’s demographic, economic, and political changes. If you want to know the Lone Star State’s future, read this book about its recent past first.~Karl Rove
Red State is not only a history of the Republican party; it is necessarily also a history of the Texas Democratic party. Everyone with an interest in Texas politics and the shift from Democratic to Republican dominance since the 1950s needs to read this book. This history continues to inform Texas politics today.~Paul Burka, Senior Executive Editor, Texas Monthly
- Preface and Acknowledgments
- A Note on Sources
- 1. Understanding Texas
- 2. Dividing the State
- 3. A Century of One-Party Politics
- 4. Stirrings and Small Cracks
- 5. Toward a Two-Party Texas
- 6. The Two-Party Interlude
- 7. The Era of Republican Dominance
- 8. The Future of Texas Politics
The publication of Red State was made possible by the support of the Jack and Doris Smothers Endowment in Texas History, Life, and Culture.