Texas Party System

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Lecture 9 Outline of Last Lecture I. The Three Dimensions of Political Parties a. Party in Government, in the Electorate, as an Organization II. The Responsible Party Model III. Factors that have weakened party control over electoral politics IV. Flaws in the Responsible Party Model V. Party Competition in the States a. unimodal verse bimodal distributions VI. Functions of State Party Elections a. Structuring Elections b. Candidate Recruitment (contested versus uncontested, competitive versus noncompetitive) c. Voter Registration d. Voter Mobilization e. Campaign Resources Outline of Current Lecture: I. Texas as a One-Party Democratic State II. Indications of Democratic Party Dominance III. Third Party Challenges (Greenback Party, Populist Party) IV. Reinforcing Democratic Party Loyalty (Great Depression, Cross Over Voters, Jokes against Republicans) V. Indications of Party Realignment in Texas and The Causes of Party Realignment VI. Comparison of Democratic verse Republican Issue Orientations VII. Primaries: What? Why? And, The Criticisms Current Lecture TEXAS PARTY SYSTEM Texas as a One-Party Democratic State  From the end of Reconstruction in 1874 until the 1960s, Texas was a one party Democratic state o essentially a one party state over this period of time  This loyalty to the Democratic Party was due to several factors o 1) Founding of Republic Party as an anti-slavery party following the Civil War o 2) Leadership of Abraham Lincoln, a Republican who headed the Union o 3) Republic Congress & President punished South & transformed South during Reconstruction o these reasons are all basically due to the dislike of the Republic party and the fact that there was only two party choices (Republican vs. Democrats) so Texas chose Democratic Indications of Democratic Party Dominance  lots of races will go uncontested in Texas o uncontested races = indication of how weak the Republican party was, so only the Democratic party was on the ballot  1928-1952: During this period, not a single Republican was elected to the state legislature (≈14 yrs) POLS 207 2nd Edition o 150 House Seats, 2 Senate seats  1874-1961: No Republican won a state wide office in the state of Texas o governor, lieutenant governor, railroad commissioner Third Party Challenges  the Republicans were not a challenge to the Democratic party, only challenges were third parties  1) Greenback Party of the 1870s o largely represented farmers, challenged Democrats some, emerged and fell away  2) Populist Party of the 1890s o presented a very serious challenge to the Democrats o 1896 Populist candidate for governor won over 44% of the vote o tried to have a broad coalition of support o turned to poor farmers, the working class, & minorities o promoted policies that would benefit the masses o Democratic reactions to challenge of the Populist Party >>  1) POLL TAX – introduced in 1902 to combat the broad coalition of poor farmers, workers, and minorities  2) DIVIDE THE COALITION – to make the poor white farmers verse the poor African American minorities divide, break up the key coalition that ...


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