Texas has been a one-party state for a long period, ruled by the Democrats for decades after Reconstruction until the 1990s when the Republican party took over. Therefore, while Democrats dominated the state for over a hundred years, Republicans had a limited role in the politics of the state. The Republican Party, which was made by predominantly local mail carriers and postmasters, did not participate in the decision-making process, nor did it hold significant state offices, making it easier for Democrats to win. In a one-party state such as Texas, politicians stay in Congress longer and can develop a high level of seniority. However, the changing demographics in the state have led to the emergence of a two-party system.
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However, the one-party rule in Texas has had its ramifications. During the time when the state was blue, it was controlled by both liberal and conservative Democrats while today, Texas is ruled by conservative and extremely conservative Republicans. Therefore, the state has taken on a variety of attributes that it used to have under the rule of the Democratic party as a one-party state. The division between conservative and more conservative Republicans has resulted in significant disagreements among the leadership of the party and its elected officials. As a consequence of that, the Republican Party has been challenged by the change in the population’s voting habits, with voters feeling like their party no longer represents their interests. This change was seen during the Presidential election of 2016 when lifelong supporters of the Republican party did not vote for their representative (Hooks).
Today, Texas is considered the strongest Republican state in the United States, with Republicans having majorities in 107 counties that contain almost two-thirds of the state’s population (Hooks). However, the one-party system resulted in the population not agreeing with the positions held by one party and not being able to select candidates that do not closely align with their world views. This leads to identity politics and the struggle of the leading party to get a broader audience of voters on their side. For instance, it is important for the parties to get younger millennial voters on their side, increase the turnout of the Latin-American population, and win larger votes through acquiring the return to the status of the majority.
In Texas, there is no “other” party, which means that what works poorly in other states does not work in the state at all. Without competition between parties, there is no accountability mechanism in the state government. Even though the general election should be a competition over how the government should work the best, the highly conservative party is not interested in that because it has the majority. As mentioned by Hooks for Texas Observer, “whatever has broken down over the last several decades has stayed broken.” Despite the economic prosperity of the state, Republicans have failed to address the needs of the disenfranchised and the poor. The change for the better is expected to occur if either party convinces more voters that the interests of the minority matter. There is a wide range of issues that Texas should address, and the two-party system could be instrumental in enabling that. The population should have their interests represented, and the emerging trust in the Democratic party may lead to much-needed change.
Hooks, Christopher. “How Democrats Can Fix the Broken Two-Party System in Texas.” Texas Observer, 2018, Web.