For a long time to come : the transformation of Texas politics, 1960-1984




Briscoe, Dolph, IV

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After signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson predicted that as his Democratic Party fully embraced racial equality, whites would flock to Republicans across the South, including in his beloved native Texas. LBJ’s expectation proved accurate. From the 1960s to the 1980s, the power of the Texas Democratic Party declined as the national party took stances on issues such as civil rights, the role of government, culture, and foreign policy that alienated many Texans and contributed to the growth of the Texas Republican Party. The national Democratic Party’s leftward shift became too much to bear for most conservative Texans, who found the Republican Party, especially when led by the charming Ronald Reagan, more appealing. Constant division within the state Democratic Party further weakened its electoral success and led many conservatives to convert to the GOP. Texas itself changed dramatically during these years, as job opportunities and warm weather attracted Americans from all parts of the country to Texas. By the 1980s, the formerly rural, Democratic-dominated Texas had become an urbanized, two-party super-state, on its way to becoming a bastion of Republican political power.



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